The PVC lifecycle -- its production, use, and disposal -- results in the release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals. These corrosive gases can spread faster than flames, trapping building occupants before they have a chance to escape. Is there a danger with outdoor furniture? Polyvinyl chloride secures pieces of pipe quickly in a process called solvent welding. PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout its lifecycle during its production, use and disposal. 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. I have chairs with vinyl siding with and am concerned about health risks given I have two young children. These additives include toxic plasticizers (such as phthalates), stabilizers containing dangerous heavy metals (such as lead), fungicides, and other toxic substances. 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. No other plastic contains or releases as many dangerous chemicals. Your purchase via these links helps support my blog. The numbers are pathetic. 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. BMW, Herliltz, IKEA, Opel, Sony-Europe and Volkswagen have all announced policies to eliminate PVC uses. This is because PVC items contain so many additives that recycling would be impractical and expensive. Active PVC pipes should never be heate… Is it too good to be true? The answer is that PVC is toxic to humans throughout its life cycle. HealthyStuff.org tested 21 different garden hoses and found phthalates (endocrine-disruptors), antimony and bromine (markers of flame retardants used in plastics) and lead. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is the most toxic plastic for our health and the environment. See the safer options we’ve found here. This is because melted PVC can give off a corrosive toxic gas. No one can escape contamination; every one of us has measurable amounts of chlorinated toxins in our bodies. 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. These have been found to cause hormonal changes and … 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"). My guess is, unless your child is sucking on the furniture, the immediate harm to individuals is small. While most plastics do not get recycled, PVC is the worst offender -- it's the least recyclable of all plastics. 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. Examples of potential human exposure are as numerous as the PVC products themselves. 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. 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. Vinyl is the least recyclable plastic because of the diversity of additives used to make different types of PVC products. Is there such a thing as phthalate-free PVC? Pure PVC plastic is 57% chlorine, a toxic substance whose production generates substantial pollution (see below). Large companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Mattel, and the Body Shop have phased out PVC packaging. PVC is probably the worst outgassing offender and is prevalent throughout the household. Over the past few decades, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastic, commonly known as "vinyl," has become one of the most widely-used types of plastics. ), 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? PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child's health. 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. 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. 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. PVC cement (glue) and primer is used to soften pipes and weld pieces of plumbing together. Also, dioxins are byproducts of PVC yoga mats’ manufacturing and disposal. 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. In its production, it releases dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium and other toxic chemicals. 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. PVC. Spread the message. First the primer is applied and then the cement to join the pipes. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time, posing unnecessary dangers to children. When reaching these locations the PVC is usually either just burned or put in landfills. 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. Large amounts of dioxin are produced during the various stages of PVC production, and the abundance of PVC items in medical waste and garbage is one reason incinerators are considered the largest sources of dioxins. According to fire experts, it is not unusual for people caught in building fires to be killed by toxic PVC fumes before the flames actually reach them. Plastic attracts other pollutants. So products manufactured from PEVA is considered to be a healthier alternative to PVC … 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. PVC is the most environmentally damaging plastic. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Polyvinyl chloride is a hard plastic that is known for its long-term stability, … The lead in the PVC migrates to the surface where it is readily picked up by your hand and then transferred to the mouth. 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. I'm sure there is. The use of PVC in construction (the largest overall use of PVC) doubled between 1980 and 1995. Early potty training isn't about never putting a diaper on your newborn. According to the latest EPA figures, less than 0.5 percent of total post-consumer PVC was recovered for reprocessing in 1994. In the U.S., poor African-American communities are disproportionally impacted. On a practical level, heating PVC pipe can cause distortion. In fact, Healthy Child Healthy World claims that PVC is one of the most toxic plastics out there. Government policies sanction and encourage this practice. Nearby communities, farms, and fishing areas suffer the consequences. PBTs are toxic to humans and marine organisms and have been shown to accumulate at various trophic levels through the food chain. Vinyl (#3 recycling code) is commonly used as a nickname for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Write to: The Honorable ___________________United States House of RepresentativesWashington, DC 20515, The Honorable ___________________United States SenateWashington, DC 20510Carol Browner, EPA AdministratorU.S. In fact, this commonplace plastic is one of the biggest contributors to the flood of toxic substances saturating our planet and its inhabitants. PVC – the Poison Plastic VC is the most toxic plastic for our health and environment. The burning of PVC produces dioxin, which is one of the most toxic substances known. Most human exposure is through food, mainly meat, dairy products, fish and shellfish (dioxins concentrate in the fatty tissue of animals). Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is widely known as the most toxic plastic for health and the environment. 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. Many of these chemicals, called organochlorines, are resistant to breakdown and will remain in the environment for decades to come. Proposals for transition planning have already been developed by labor and environmental organizations. Usually clear in color, the vast majority of … 3. A buildup of VOCs in the household (sometimes called sick building syndrome) can result in … Demand PVC-free alternatives. Since the 1990s, PVC-waste is increasingly being shipped to China, India, or Africa for “reprocessing”. Because these additives are not chemically bound to the PVC, the PVC product itself can be immediately dangerous to the consumer. 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. (PVC is sometimes identified with the following symbol.). Management of the nearby Dow Chemical factory followed suit soon after, buying out the entire town of Morrisonville, Louisiana. The more colourful a plastic bottle/container, the more toxic it is. Any hand contact with the chair could potentially leave undesirable substances on the hands though. And some organochlorines can impact on human life before birth, during the most delicate stages of development -- a disastrous toxic legacy for future generations. 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. 1. 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. Is PVC and Phthalate in toys toxic and dangerous for baby and child. Polyvinyl chloride produces a great deal of vapor whic… In 1987, the town of Reveilletown, Louisiana became so contaminated that all 106 residents were relocated and every structure torn down, even the church. 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. 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. Substitutes for PVC include traditional materials such as clay, glass, ceramics and linoleum. I personally would probably get rid of them, but it depends on how easily you can replace them. 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. Polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PETE or PET. 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. 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. 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.". 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. Thank you for your support. Big construction projects such as the Eurotunnel between England and continental Europe were completed without the use of PVC. Have something to say? 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]. The PVC lifecycle -- its production, use, and disposal -- results in the release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals. Dubbed the most toxic plastic, vinyl – or polyvinyl chloride – is used today in a superfluity of items surrounding us. PVC has also been blamed for emitting chemical softeners called phthalates (in vinyl flooring), lead additives (in blinds), and toxic glues. These toxins are building up in the water, air and food chain. Here are … These chemicals are used as a stabilizer in PVC. Most common plastics pose serious threats to human health and the environment. 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. 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. We are exposed to the gas that PVC yoga mats emit. Discharged pollutants impact nearby drinking water supplies and on-site incinerators spread dioxin and other hazardous compounds into the air. PVC is a known carcinogen and should generally be avoided where possible. 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. The possible toxicological responses caused by plastic can thus be a combination of all of these chemicals. Thus any dose, no matter how low, can result in severe health damage. 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.". PVC plastic is the only plastic made with chlorine. The result: severe health problems, including cancer, … 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. In production, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors are released into the … 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. Merely handling a binder made with PVC stabilized by lead can result in lead exposure. Dioxins are persistent and bioaccumulative. Dioxin and dioxin-like compounds are unintentionally created whenever chlorine-based chemicals are produced, used or burned. In addition to dioxin, chlorine production also results in mercury emissions and asbestos waste. Its advantages are that it is highly versatile and relatively inexpensive. Dioxins are also released due to the numerous accidental fires that burn buildings and vehicles, two sectors that use substantial amounts of PVC. In addition to that, most stores package foods in plastic bags. Wagner adds that “3” and “7” also indicate PVC and PUR plastics, respectively, which his study found contained the most toxicity. Children teethe on vinyl toys which contain toxic additives. Additives can wash out, pass into other materials or be lost to air. Dioxin is known as one of the most toxic chemicals ever produced. 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. Hundreds of chlorine-based toxins are building up in the air, water and food chain. 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. Plasticizers have been shown to be directly transferred from PVC plastic "cling film" to food. We find it all around us: in packaging, home furnishings, children's toys, automobile parts, building materials, hospital supplies, and hundreds of other products. Polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC or vinyl, is arguably one of the most toxic types of plastic in our lives. They are found in vinyl flooring and harder PVC toys. 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… Though it is an affordable choice for home interior decorations. Article continues below advertisement Why is PVC harmful? In its ongoing study of dioxin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that there is no safe level of dioxin exposure. I've seen that term on Melissa & Doug product sites. In those cases where traditional materials cannot be used as a replacement, even chlorine-free plastics are preferable to PVC. So, the toxic chemicals that leach out of plastics can accumulate on other plastics. The result: severe health problems, including cancer, immune system damage, and hormone disruption. Ask them to support a PVC phase-out. Demand that they halt the expansion of the PVC industry and begin the phase-out of PVC. With a melting point of about 176 degrees Fahrenheit, PVC pipes may bend as the material approaches this temperature. PVC—polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl—is found in a range of products, from children's toys to building materials to food packaging. 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. Although PVC is flame resistant, PVC products release toxic hydrogen chloride gas when heated. Communities surrounding PVC plants are particularly susceptible to the toxic chemical pollution from PVC production. This material is seen to be a less toxic version of vinyl due to the fact that it is non-chlorinated (contains no chloride). 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. Because so much PVC is used in construction and household items, accidental building fires have become increasingly more dangerous for firefighters and building occupants. Talk to firefighters, architects, engineers, plumbers, doctors, hospital workers and toy manufacturers about the dangers of PVC. PVC (#3 plastics) have another nasty lurking, a toxic group of chemicals called Organotin compounds. Polyvinyl Chloride can be injection molded just like other plastics but the inclusion of chlorine in the material complicates the process. 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. 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. 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. 2. 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. Yes, it is true that PVC has some toxic characteristics. You can get the jest of it, the toxic plastic transfer to food is unavoidable. When Is “Vinyl” Not PVC? The choice of additives used for the PVC finished product is con… 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. 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. Because dioxin and other chlorinated chemicals can migrate around the world, the harmful effects of PVC production are felt everywhere. Whatever the advantages of PVC may have been, today, it is indisputable that PVC is a known toxin to both humans and animals alike. In order to successfully stay away from such a pervasive plastic, you need to know when “vinyl” is not PVC. Due to the chemical structure of organochlorines, humans and animals are unable to efficiently expel them from their bodies. But one plastic stands alone: PVC, throughout its lifecycle, is the most environmentally damaging of all plastics. Copyright © var creditsyear = new Date();document.write(creditsyear.getFullYear()); 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! 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. Accordingly, shops need to be equipped with sufficient ventilation systems. These plants release huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the environment around them. The product of the polymerization process is unmodified PVC. PVC production is the largest and fastest-growing use of chlorine -- accounting for nearly 40 percent of all chlorine used in the United States. 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. The smell of new car interiors is a familiar example of what experts call chemical "fogging" from PVC products. 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. Hydrogen chloride gas is lethal when inhaled. Yes, off-gassing is not a big issue if furniture is outside. These include dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium, and organotins. Some communities, however, are hit far harder than others. The burning of PVC is responsible for 80 % of dioxin air pollution. There is a growing awareness of PVC's toxic nature, but the quest to avoid it is daunting. These toxins are building up in the water, air and food chain. Write to your Congressional Representatives and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Environmental Protection Agency401 M Street S.W.Washington, DC 20460, Avoid buying vinyl/PVC products whenever possible, and reduce your overall use of plastics. 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. 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. 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. Is the off-gassing mitigated because of being outdoors? Due to increased demand, in various countries the marke Hundreds of European communities have instituted restrictions on the use of PVC in public buildings. In Denmark, government officials are currently considering the phase out of PVC by the year 2000. PVC can be replaced with safer materials in virtually all cases. Contact companies if you're not sure what a product is made of. Sign up for my, Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. 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. There is compelling evidence that it is now possible -- and crucial -- to implement a rapid transition to safer materials. Result in severe health damage hormonal changes and … Polyethylene terephthalate, also as... Could potentially leave undesirable substances on the hands though materials such as clay, glass, ceramics and.... 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