I am a self proclaimed over protective mommy, I'll admit it.
But with our recent surgery and MANY visits to the vets, watching her be sick, force feeding and medicating every 2 hours, I feel I have to weigh in.
Depending on the chin and how much they chew, PVC may pose an issue.
through this process I called 7 different breeders in Washington, Iowa, Chicago, Florida, etc.
They said in sudden and early death necromacies (autopsies) there often are bits and pieces of plastic embeded in the stomach and in intestines since it can't be digested. some of it led to internal bleeding.
My vet confirmed this, as I was originally skeptical. She thought it might have aggrevated the issues my chilla was having.
It may or may not be true, but my chilla totaled a heavy duty plastic feed bowl, and I didn't see any plastic pieces in the cage. I have to assume she consumed them. She's a gnaw and chew baby.
So I prefer to err on the safe side. I buy the tubes at the pet store that are made of compressed material that has not been bleached or glued. They are no more expensive than the biggest one at $5.00 and they last at least a month.
The bleached paper tubes (white ones instead of brown) are that way because they are bleached, and if they are shiny they are also coated with a water resistant material (I used to be in beauty product Research and Development). Probably little to no risk, but bleach is a toxic chemical and if it means finding a brown one without glue residue on the outside, happy to do it.
again, probably over protective, but if it makes even a miniscule difference.....I learned that the peace of mind is worth it, knowing that if chilla does get sick, I didn't knowingly contribute to it or make it worse, I feel a little better about the situation.
it's worth to keep Chincy safe happy and healthy and it doesn't take all that much extra effort.