The European Union opened debate yesterday on more restrictions for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, a commonly used but controversial material. The EU has already banned some baby toys made with PVC because the chemicals used to soften the plastic may pose health problems for children. Now the EU is considering cracking down on PVC products such as pipes, window frames, packaging, and household appliances. Studies have found that PVC is difficult to recycle and can release harmful chemicals when buried or incinerated. Greenpeace is calling for a total ban on the substance. The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, is expected to make recommendations on the issue early next year.