Whatever the advantages of PVC may have been, today, it is indisputable that PVC is a known toxin to both humans and animals alike. Before PVC can be made into finished products, it always requires conversion into a compound by the incorporation of additives (but not necessarily all of the following) such as heat stabilizers, UV stabilizers, plasticizers, processing aids, impact modifiers, thermal modifiers, fillers, flame retardants, biocides, blowing agents and smoke suppressors, and, optionally, pigments. Is PVC and Phthalate in toys toxic and dangerous for baby and child. Dioxins are also released due to the numerous accidental fires that burn buildings and vehicles, two sectors that use substantial amounts of PVC. Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBTs) chemicals or substances pose a risk to the marine environment because they resist degradation, persisting for years or even decades. But one plastic stands alone: PVC, throughout its lifecycle, is the most environmentally damaging of all plastics. Early potty training isn't about never putting a diaper on your newborn. Article continues below advertisement Why is PVC harmful? There is increasing evidence that the same trends are being observed in humans world-wide, including decreased sperm counts, rising rates of certain cancers, deformities of the reproductive organs, mental problems such as attention deficit disorder, and weakened immune systems. Additives can wash out, pass into other materials or be lost to air. Hundreds of chlorine-based toxins are building up in the air, water and food chain. These corrosive gases can spread faster than flames, trapping building occupants before they have a chance to escape. Polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PETE or PET. PVC—polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl—is found in a range of products, from children's toys to building materials to food packaging. Demand PVC-free alternatives. In addition to dioxin, chlorine production also results in mercury emissions and asbestos waste. This is because PVC items contain so many additives that recycling would be impractical and expensive. Eco-novice | Powered by Blogger, Design by Anders Noren | Blogger Theme by NewBloggerThemes.com, Would you like more ideas and tips about Going Green Gradually? I still just steer clear of PVC all together b/c there are still the issues with manufacturing and disposal, but phthalate-free PVC is definitely better than PVC with phthalates (this comes up a bit in the yoga mat post, where I discuss so-called "clean PVC"). PVC is the most environmentally damaging plastic. You can get the jest of it, the toxic plastic transfer to food is unavoidable. Children teethe on vinyl toys which contain toxic additives. Communities surrounding PVC plants are particularly susceptible to the toxic chemical pollution from PVC production. Dubbed the most toxic plastic, vinyl – or polyvinyl chloride – is used today in a superfluity of items surrounding us. Demand that they halt the expansion of the PVC industry and begin the phase-out of PVC. Though it is an affordable choice for home interior decorations. Nearby communities, farms, and fishing areas suffer the consequences. Contact companies if you're not sure what a product is made of. So, the toxic chemicals that leach out of plastics can accumulate on other plastics. What about phthalates free PVC? While most plastics do not get recycled, PVC is the worst offender -- it's the least recyclable of all plastics. PVC can be replaced with safer materials in virtually all cases. PVC plastic is the only plastic made with chlorine. Of the 14 U.S. plants that make VCM (vinyl chloride monomer, the building block used to make PVC) all but one are located in Louisiana and Texas. Is Your Garden Hose Leaching BPA, Lead, and Phthalates into Your Water? Dioxin has been classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of WHO) and the U.S. National Toxicology Program. The more colourful a plastic bottle/container, the more toxic it is. HealthyStuff.org tested 21 different garden hoses and found phthalates (endocrine-disruptors), antimony and bromine (markers of flame retardants used in plastics) and lead. Dioxin and dioxin-like compounds are unintentionally created whenever chlorine-based chemicals are produced, used or burned. These plants release huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the environment around them. It, too, can impart a plastic taste to water that goes away with time, but since it isn’t glued together, there are fewer toxic solvents used in installing it. Pure PVC plastic is 57% chlorine, a toxic substance whose production generates substantial pollution (see below). Read my full disclosure policy, Household Cleaners and Personal Products I Use, the most toxic plastic for children’s health and the environment, PVC, Bad News Come in Threes, the Poison Plastic, Health Hazards & the Looming Waste Crisis, Smart Plastics Guide: Healthier Food Uses of Plastics for Parents and Children, Choosing Arts & Crafts Materials that Are Safe for Kids. In its production, it releases dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium and other toxic chemicals. PVC is restricted from some city high-rises and military and aerospace projects. Since the 1990s, PVC-waste is increasingly being shipped to China, India, or Africa for “reprocessing”. Since safer alternatives are available for virtually all uses of PVC, it is possible to protect human health and the environment by replacing and eventually phasing out this poison plastic. My guess is, unless your child is sucking on the furniture, the immediate harm to individuals is small. Plastic attracts other pollutants. PVC production is the largest and fastest-growing use of chlorine -- accounting for nearly 40 percent of all chlorine used in the United States. PVC. The harmful chemicals associated with plastics can be divided into three categories: ingredients of the plastic material, byproducts of manufacturing and chemicals adsorbed from the environment. Because so much PVC is used in construction and household items, accidental building fires have become increasingly more dangerous for firefighters and building occupants. The Center for Health, Environment and Justice, a non-profit organization based in New York, calls polyvinyl chloride “one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created” [source: CHEJ]. Many of these chemicals, called organochlorines, are resistant to breakdown and will remain in the environment for decades to come. The EPA has also concluded that the levels of dioxin currently found in most adults and children are already high enough to present significant health threats to the American public. Garden Hoses Your typical garden hose is made from the most toxic plastic currently in existence: PVC (vinyl). Many vinyl facilities are located in poor communities with little political clout. For a list of USA-based suppliers, manufacturers, and importers of alternatives and PVC-free building materials, please see our online resource guide to PVC alternatives. In addition, PVC plastic requires toxic additives, including heavy metals such as lead, endocrine-disrupting phthalates , and toxic flame retardants , in order to be made into stable and usable consumer products. And some organochlorines can impact on human life before birth, during the most delicate stages of development -- a disastrous toxic legacy for future generations. PVC cement (glue) and primer is used to soften pipes and weld pieces of plumbing together. Although the glue dries quickly and forms a strong bond, it can be hazardous to your health if it comes in contact with skin or is inhaled. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is the most toxic plastic for our health and the environment. The burning of PVC produces dioxin, which is one of the most toxic substances known. No one can escape contamination: Everyone, everywhere has measurable levels of chlorinated toxins in their bodies. Examples of potential human exposure are as numerous as the PVC products themselves. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time, posing unnecessary dangers to children. Talk to firefighters, architects, engineers, plumbers, doctors, hospital workers and toy manufacturers about the dangers of PVC. PVC is the most environmentally damaging plastic. Use Eco-friendly and PVC-free Yoga Mats to Avoid Phthalates and Other Toxic Chemicals, Plastic-free and BPA-free Feeding Gear for Babies and Kids, The Best Potties for Early Potty Training, Gluten-free German Pancakes (just as good as the wheat version! Due to the chemical structure of organochlorines, humans and animals are unable to efficiently expel them from their bodies. In those cases where traditional materials cannot be used as a replacement, even chlorine-free plastics are preferable to PVC. These toxins are building up in the water, air and food chain. Large companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Mattel, and the Body Shop have phased out PVC packaging. In the most severe cases, entire communities have been literally wiped off the map. For instance, one study of PVC shower curtains found that they released phthalates capable of causing nausea and damage to the liver and reproductive system. See the safer options we’ve found here. Discharged pollutants impact nearby drinking water supplies and on-site incinerators spread dioxin and other hazardous compounds into the air. The PVC lifecycle -- its production, use, and disposal -- results in the release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals. PVC (#3 plastics) have another nasty lurking, a toxic group of chemicals called Organotin compounds. The good news is that this industrial transition can be accomplished in a manner that is fair to all involved -- the plastic manufacturers, industrial workers, and host communities. We find it all around us: in packaging, home furnishings, children's toys, automobile parts, building materials, hospital supplies, and hundreds of other products. The PVC will create a large number of toxic chemicals like dioxins and phthalates that are released into the air and can produce toxic fumes into the environment. PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child's health. Ask them to support a PVC phase-out. The main ingredient in PVC is vinyl chloride, which is a known human carcinogen. Have something to say? On a practical level, heating PVC pipe can cause distortion. The Swedish Parliament voted in 1995 to phase out soft PVC and rigid PVC with additives that are already identified as harmful. The possible toxicological responses caused by plastic can thus be a combination of all of these chemicals. Also, dioxins are byproducts of PVC yoga mats’ manufacturing and disposal. The PVC lifecycle -- its production, use, and disposal -- results in the release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals. Scientific studies reveal that these chemicals are linked to severe and wide-spread health problems, including infertility, immune system damage, impaired childhood development, hormone disruption, cancer and many other harmful effects. This is because melted PVC can give off a corrosive toxic gas. For more than 30 years, leading health, environmental justice, and health-impacted organizations across the country and world have been campaigning to phase out this poison plastic. And yet, PVC is found in almost so many of the things we use every day, including pipes, window frames, toys, bottles, blister packs, shoes, credit cards, drawer slides, and more. Write to your Congressional Representatives and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Write to: The Honorable ___________________United States House of RepresentativesWashington, DC 20515, The Honorable ___________________United States SenateWashington, DC 20510Carol Browner, EPA AdministratorU.S. The answer is that PVC is toxic to humans throughout its life cycle. The choice of additives used for the PVC finished product is con… In the U.S., poor African-American communities are disproportionally impacted. Vinyl is the least recyclable plastic because of the diversity of additives used to make different types of PVC products. Thus any dose, no matter how low, can result in severe health damage. No one can escape contamination; every one of us has measurable amounts of chlorinated toxins in our bodies. Is there such a thing as phthalate-free PVC? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning in 1996 when it discovered that PVC miniblinds were giving off lead dust, which can have brain-damaging effects on children. BMW, Herliltz, IKEA, Opel, Sony-Europe and Volkswagen have all announced policies to eliminate PVC uses. There is a growing awareness of PVC's toxic nature, but the quest to avoid it is daunting. Wagner adds that “3” and “7” also indicate PVC and PUR plastics, respectively, which his study found contained the most toxicity. Copyright © var creditsyear = new Date();document.write(creditsyear.getFullYear()); Merely handling a binder made with PVC stabilized by lead can result in lead exposure. Spread the message. In fact, this commonplace plastic is one of the biggest contributors to the flood of toxic substances saturating our planet and its inhabitants. Most common plastics pose serious threats to human health and the environment. (PVC is sometimes identified with the following symbol.). In addition, when PVC-products are accidentally mixed with non-chlorine plastics, they contaminate the entire recycling process. The problems of plastics include extreme pollution from production, toxic chemical exposure during use, hazards from fires, and their contribution to the world's growing solid waste crisis. These toxins are building up in the water, air and food chain. Its advantages are that it is highly versatile and relatively inexpensive. Environmental Protection Agency401 M Street S.W.Washington, DC 20460, Avoid buying vinyl/PVC products whenever possible, and reduce your overall use of plastics. So products manufactured from PEVA is considered to be a healthier alternative to PVC … PVC – the Poison Plastic VC is the most toxic plastic for our health and environment. Yes, off-gassing is not a big issue if furniture is outside. When Is “Vinyl” Not PVC? They are found in vinyl flooring and harder PVC toys. I personally would probably get rid of them, but it depends on how easily you can replace them. This is a classic case of environmental racism. Dioxins are a group of toxic chemicals that share a similar chemical structure and induce harm through a similar mechanism. The use of PVC in construction (the largest overall use of PVC) doubled between 1980 and 1995. Polyvinyl chloride secures pieces of pipe quickly in a process called solvent welding. The product of the polymerization process is unmodified PVC. This material is seen to be a less toxic version of vinyl due to the fact that it is non-chlorinated (contains no chloride). Because these additives are not chemically bound to the PVC, the PVC product itself can be immediately dangerous to the consumer. PVC is probably the worst outgassing offender and is prevalent throughout the household. As consumers increasingly demand PVC-free products, and as the environmental and health costs of PVC are recognized, practical alternatives will become more economically viable. We are exposed to the gas that PVC yoga mats emit. With a melting point of about 176 degrees Fahrenheit, PVC pipes may bend as the material approaches this temperature. By cutting PVC use, you are striking a blow for environmental justice, and supporting the life and death struggle being waged today by local residents on the front lines of the grassroots toxics movement. Proposals for transition planning have already been developed by labor and environmental organizations. The result: severe health problems, including cancer, … Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Polyvinyl chloride is a hard plastic that is known for its long-term stability, … Polyvinyl Chloride Economical, versatile polyvinyl chloride (PVC, or vinyl) is used in a variety of applications in the building and construction, health care, electronics, automobile and other sectors, in products ranging from piping and siding, blood bags and tubing, to wire and cable insulation, windshield system components and more. Not to mention that most of us would simply reheat the food in the same container, be it plastic, rather than put it on a plate. Instead, many of these compounds accumulate in fatty tissue, resulting in contamination levels thousands or millions of times greater than is found in the surrounding environment. The smell of new car interiors is a familiar example of what experts call chemical "fogging" from PVC products. 3. According to the latest EPA figures, less than 0.5 percent of total post-consumer PVC was recovered for reprocessing in 1994. Please leave a comment!I read all comments and try to respond to questions in a timely manner.Comments are now moderated due to spam overload and have to be approved (by me) - so don't worry if your comment does not appear immediately after you publish it. Usually clear in color, the vast majority of … PEX tubing, PVC pipe, and CPVC pipe marked “NSF-61” or “NSF-PW” indicate that they have passed testing for potentially harmful chemicals leaching into the water. Recycling of PVC plastic is not a solution to the environmental problems created during its production and use. Yes, it is true that PVC has some toxic characteristics. Thousands of accidental fires in buildings containing PVC result in releases of dioxin in ash and soot, contaminating both the environment and the affected building. Big construction projects such as the Eurotunnel between England and continental Europe were completed without the use of PVC. We talked to the PVC Guru to get all the answers every parent should know. Sign up for my, Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Even at low concentrations, PBTs can be insidious in the environment due to their ability to biomagnify up the food web, leading to toxic effects at higher trophic levels even though ambient conce… Government policies sanction and encourage this practice. When garbage is incinerated (still a method of waste disposal in many states), additional dioxins are released into the environment. These include dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium, and organotins. Is it too good to be true? Here are … Some of these chemicals are defined as priority pollutants, which are regulated by governmental agencies because of their toxicity or persistence in organisms and food webs. The rapid growth of the vinyl industry is proceeding in the face of clear evidence of the serious health risks posed to workers, their families and neighboring communities. Numerous companies and governments have enacted PVC restrictions and material substitution policies. Many PVC additives, including phthalates and heavy metals such as lead, slowly leach out of PVC plastics over time when placed in a landfill (many of which are unlined), eventually contaminating ground and surface water. Substitutes for PVC include traditional materials such as clay, glass, ceramics and linoleum. Use Eco-friendly and PVC-free Yoga Mats to Avoid P... Thrift Store Find: "Like New" Birthday Gifts for Kids, Easy Eco-tip Tuesday: Unjunk Your Mail Box, Everything Eco-novice Knows About Cloth Diapers. As part of the games' environmental design, the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney are being planned with an effort to minimize the use of chlorinated compounds, including PVC. According to a 2004 CHEJ report, "Non-durable (short-lived) products account for more than 70% of PVC disposed in municipal solid waste in the U.S.". Vinyl (#3 recycling code) is commonly used as a nickname for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PBTs are toxic to humans and marine organisms and have been shown to accumulate at various trophic levels through the food chain. Because dioxin and other chlorinated chemicals can migrate around the world, the harmful effects of PVC production are felt everywhere. In its ongoing study of dioxin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that there is no safe level of dioxin exposure. PVC has also been blamed for emitting chemical softeners called phthalates (in vinyl flooring), lead additives (in blinds), and toxic glues. Although PVC is flame resistant, PVC products release toxic hydrogen chloride gas when heated. When burned, PVC plastic forms dioxins, a highly toxic group of chemicals that build up in the food chain, can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems. In fact, Healthy Child Healthy World claims that PVC is one of the most toxic plastics out there. In production, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors are released into the … In Denmark, government officials are currently considering the phase out of PVC by the year 2000. In order to successfully stay away from such a pervasive plastic, you need to know when “vinyl” is not PVC. Your purchase via these links helps support my blog. The result: severe health problems, including cancer, immune system damage, and hormone disruption. I have chairs with vinyl siding with and am concerned about health risks given I have two young children. This causes some concerns not only for the usefulness of the pipe but also because the pipe's materials might leech into tanks or water lines when the PVC pipe is exposed to temperatures near its melting point. Is the off-gassing mitigated because of being outdoors? These additives include toxic plasticizers (such as phthalates), stabilizers containing dangerous heavy metals (such as lead), fungicides, and other toxic substances. According to CHEJ, "Scientists have found certain vinyl chemicals linked to asthma, cancer, birth defects, learning and developmental disabilities, obesity, diabetes and other preventable chronic diseases on the rise.". There is compelling evidence that it is now possible -- and crucial -- to implement a rapid transition to safer materials. Healthy Child Healthy World describes PVC as the most toxic plastic , and vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, has been described as a known carcinogen by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer. Because PVC on its own is almost useless, it must be combined with a number of additives in order to give it the properties desired in the final product. Chlorine is the basic building block of our most infamous toxic problems: CFCs which destroyed the ozone layer, the dioxin contamination at Love Canal and Times Beach, Agent Orange, PCBs and DDT pesticides. Evidence suggests that, throughout its entire lifecycle, PVC is responsible for a greater share of the nation's annual dioxin burden than any other industrial product. One reason why PVC is so toxic is that it is often mixed with softening chemicals called plasticizers, the most well known variety being phalates. Dioxin is known as one of the most toxic chemicals ever produced. Polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC or vinyl, is arguably one of the most toxic types of plastic in our lives. In 1987, the town of Reveilletown, Louisiana became so contaminated that all 106 residents were relocated and every structure torn down, even the church. Chemicals in plastic which give them their rigidity or flexibility (flame retardants, bisphenols, phthalates and other harmful chemicals) are oily poisons that repel water and stick to petroleum-based objects like plastic debris. Plasticizers have been shown to be directly transferred from PVC plastic "cling film" to food. I'm sure there is. Is there a danger with outdoor furniture? Over the past few decades, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastic, commonly known as "vinyl," has become one of the most widely-used types of plastics. Thank you for your support. While all plastics pose serious threats to human health and the environment, few consumers realize that PVC is the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics. As builders and policymakers become increasingly aware of the safety risks and potential expenses resulting from PVC fires, more restrictions are being enacted against the use of PVC in building construction. These have been found to cause hormonal changes and … Polyvinyl Chloride can be injection molded just like other plastics but the inclusion of chlorine in the material complicates the process. No other plastic contains or releases as many dangerous chemicals. Some communities, however, are hit far harder than others. Management of the nearby Dow Chemical factory followed suit soon after, buying out the entire town of Morrisonville, Louisiana. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is widely known as the most toxic plastic for health and the environment. (Please Comment!). The lead in the PVC migrates to the surface where it is readily picked up by your hand and then transferred to the mouth. But the price we pay for a low-cost and seemingly harmless piece of PVC pipe or soft vinyl toy is far steeper than it may at first appear. These chemicals are used as a stabilizer in PVC. 2. Accordingly, shops need to be equipped with sufficient ventilation systems. Active PVC pipes should never be heate… Any hand contact with the chair could potentially leave undesirable substances on the hands though. PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout its lifecycle during its production, use and disposal. In addition to that, most stores package foods in plastic bags. The numbers are pathetic. A buildup of VOCs in the household (sometimes called sick building syndrome) can result in … ), How to Turn Your Bread Loaf Recipe into a Roll Recipe: 100% Whole Wheat Honey Rolls, Toxic Teflon: 10 Ways to Minimize Your Family's Exposure, Question: How Do You Compost? Increasing scientific evidence suggests that many of these chemicals are disrupting the hormone systems of wildlife, leading to birth defects, infertility, reproductive difficulties and developmental problems in offspring. The burning of PVC is responsible for 80 % of dioxin air pollution. I've seen that term on Melissa & Doug product sites. Due to increased demand, in various countries the marke Hundreds of European communities have instituted restrictions on the use of PVC in public buildings. Polyvinyl chloride produces a great deal of vapor whic… Hydrogen chloride gas is lethal when inhaled. When reaching these locations the PVC is usually either just burned or put in landfills. 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