Monday, April 17, 2017

PVC Record Sleeves -A warning

For the last 15 years or so I have been protecting my singles from dust and greasy fingers with polythene record sleeves. However in the last few years, for my most precious Freakbeat and Garage singles, I have been using hard PVC sleeves. I believed they provided better protection, but first and foremost that give a real premium look and feel, they look bloody great.

I had heard some faint rumblings about PVC potentially provoking some kind of chemical reaction giving the record a milky hazy look or sometimes streaks. It was only last week in Utrecht that I was warned and directly advised to replace them with Polythene. 

On Friday I bought 400 Polythene sleeves and today, I have gone through the PVC clad part of my collection and replaced them all with Polythene.  Although the overriding majority of the records had no issues, some did. My Allen Pound’s Get Rich has a dull look (it was housed in an old PVC that the dealer sent the record in). Thank God, it sounds fine.  I have owned this record for around 4 years and I know when I played it last year, it looked fine, so the effect happens over time.  

2 records where I used new PVC sleeves  had issues (so it's not just with old ones) -  a Swedish Decca pressing of the T Boones as well as the MC5. Both have dull patches with a bright streak at one end. Again they play fine. (the photos for these two don’t really show the effect). 

This Equals single has a similar issues to both the MC5 and The T-Boones

The Our Plastic Dream might have the beginning of some kind of a reaction, but this is inconclusive. 

The biggest proof that chemical reactions can occur with PVC is on the Fancy acetate. 
Thank god this was the only acetate I had in a PVC...

Anyhow, to avoid any further risk (I am sure there are exceptions), I will no longer be using PVC. If you have heard rumblings or read stuff on forums or had doubts, I hope this helps you TO  decide.  It’s a shame to have to do this, but better safe than sorry.

Bye Bye PVC…


23 Daves said...

I'm sorry to hear that, Robin. Unfortunately, I've been here myself... I had a few records stored in PVC sleeves which had deteriorated in the same way, and it's always a shock to pull a record out of a sleeve you know was fine when you last looked at it, only to see a light fog all over the vinyl.

In some cases, it does produce a faint hiss in the background when the record is played again, and obviously does reduce the value if you're thinking of reselling (mind you, I've picked up a couple of 'plastic rash' singles at a cheaper price than normal online before now, and both otherwise play fine).

Robin Wills said...

I am lucky in that the total seems to be 5 from around 400 that were in PVC. I am just glad I have done it. I have about 50 LPs in PVC, I have just checked them all and they are all fine. I will now do the "change" on them next week...

Steve Coleman said...

This happened to my copy of White Riot b/w 1977 that I kept in the same PVC sleeve for over three decades. The vinyl surface was milky and audio playback suffered from a continual hiss. The conclusion I came to was that the acid in the paper picture bag was leaching and was trapped by the PVC sleeve. The only place it had to go was into the vinyl and of course the PVC sleeve itself which had become brittle. Thank you for your thoughts on the matter.

James Trash said...

Good advice Robin. All my singles are in poly sleeves and have been for 20+ years. I have seen the effect the PVC sleeves can have when picking up used singles that have been stored that way - hazy look and extra noisy on playback.

Anyone with a Tours "Language School" or similar printed PVC sleeve should store that sleeve away from the vinyl. Thankfully my Tours 45 was bought sleeveless and sounds great but you'd struggle to find anything better than a VG with sleeve intact.