PVC is everywhere and man, is it toxic. From plastic shower curtains (never buy one again), to plumbing, to many many toys, to vinyl siding, PVC is unavoidable. PVC in toys is particularly invidious because in order to get the PVC into the toys (think dolls with plastic heads and pretty much any plastic toy) it must be mixed with lead, cadmium or organic chemicals containing tin. Are you kidding me? Do you want your kid to be chewing on that toxic mess? Little Jimmy may as well play in a hazardous waste dump.
Other cornerstone chemicals used and released in the PVC (polyvinyl chloride) lifecycle include pthalates (carcinogen), dioxin (carcinogen), and vinyl chloride (carcinogen).
In adults, the Poison Plastic has been linked to birth defects, cancer (particularly breast cancer), endocrine system disruption, reproductive impairment, and immune system suppression. PVC is particularly problematic for children, having been linked to chronic disease, learning problems, and obesity. PVC chemicals that have been linked to obesity include hormone-disrupting phthalates and organotins. One new study examining organotins found that, “developmental or chronic lifetime exposure to organotins may therefore act as a chemical stressor for obesity and related disorders”. Another study found that exposure to phthalates may be linked with childhood obesity. PVC is poisonous, that is beyond doubt.
PVC has also been linked to childhood asthma, among other illnesses. Consider this: children exposed to PVC flooring and wall coverings in nurseries, bedrooms, and other rooms have an 89 percent higher risk of developing bronchial obstruction (i.e. asthma) than kids who grew up in PVC-free homes.
Regardless of the stunning scientific evidence linking PVC to a myriad of children’s health defects the U.S. Consumer
Gigantic Business Lobby Product Safety Commission denied a petition to ban the use of PVC in toys and children’s products in 2003. The Center for Health, Environment & Justice has an active campaign to ban PVC in schools and a ton of useful information, including a link to Toxic Toys R Us. http://chej.org/ is their website. They have a tremendous amount of useful information and a petition.
The good thing about PVC, is that you can do something about it in your home. When you’re buying toys, opt for wooden and made in the United States (to avoid the possibility of lead in the paint), organic cotton, or any material that isn’t plastic. Don’t install vinyl flooring, vinyl siding or anything vinyl in your home and avoid vinyl Halloween costumes. Don’t buy plastics for any of your child’s school supplies (or your own, for that matter). If it has that “new car smell”, it’s probably made with PVC. The only things that should smell in your house is the wet dog, that sheep cheese you bought from a CSA and let mold in the bottom of the fridge, and your compost bucket. Well, and maybe your partner after eating too much chili.