May 3, 2007

pvc, the poison plastic!?!

Not too long ago my sister asked me if I knew where to get raincoats that don't contain PVC. I played it cool, stalled for time and googled up some answers. All the while I was kicking myself for being the last to know about something AGAIN. I have written about plastics, toxins, and all kinds of chemical surprises. Somehow I missed this. In between my ranting about "don't drink out of plastic #7" I should have noted, "run from anything with plastic #3!"

Here is what the Center for Health, Environment and Justice says about PVC on their website:
"PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, commonly referred to as vinyl, is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created. PVC is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its entire life cycle, at the factory, in our homes, and in the trash. Our bodies are contaminated with poisonous chemicals released during the PVC lifecycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats. When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems."

They also say, "One way to be sure if the packaging of a product is made from PVC is to look for the number "3" or for the letter "V" inside or underneath the universal recycling symbol. This means that the product is made of PVC. Soft flexible plastic products that are made with PVC often have a distinct odor."

PVC can be found in those cute raincoats and rainboots (although not all rain gear has PVC; there are many without). I was reading about all the places PVC can be found and was surprised to find it on my kids' baby bibs, raincoat, bath toys, shower curtains, etc. Fortunately there really are many alternatives. I have found lots of cute raincoats that say they are PVC free. My son's rainboots and sneakers both say "PVC free" on a little label inside—but of course I didn't even know to look for that label. I just got lucky.

And here is something that moms everywhere will want to know: Target has lots of PVC. Many retailers (including Walmart, Nike, Microsoft, Ikea, H&M, Toyota, Victoria's Secret, Johnson & Johnson, Bath and Body Works, Honda, Ikea and Apple) have made plans to eliminate use of PVC. But don't worry, you don't have to stop shopping at Target. Just be aware of what you buy and sign a petition to let Target know you'd like them to move away from PVC usage.

I also found a few pdf documents from the CHEJ for those of you who want more data. One is a 2 page fact sheet and the other is a complete brochure, which is full of interesting info.

And in case any of you are wondering if I ever answered my sister, I did indeed suggest a sweet little raincoat for my sweet little neice.

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

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