is pvc toxic

Large companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Mattel, and the Body Shop have phased out PVC packaging. The choice of additives used for the PVC finished product is con… Most common plastics pose serious threats to human health and the environment. The smell of new car interiors is a familiar example of what experts call chemical "fogging" from PVC products. 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. 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. In fact, Healthy Child Healthy World claims that PVC is one of the most toxic plastics out there. I'm sure there is. 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. Merely handling a binder made with PVC stabilized by lead can result in lead exposure. PVC cement (glue) and primer is used to soften pipes and weld pieces of plumbing together. Spread the message. The result: severe health problems, including cancer, immune system damage, and hormone disruption. Dioxin and dioxin-like compounds are unintentionally created whenever chlorine-based chemicals are produced, used or burned. Numerous companies and governments have enacted PVC restrictions and material substitution policies. 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! Article continues below advertisement Why is PVC harmful? Is there such a thing as phthalate-free PVC? Dioxins are also released due to the numerous accidental fires that burn buildings and vehicles, two sectors that use substantial amounts of PVC. In those cases where traditional materials cannot be used as a replacement, even chlorine-free plastics are preferable to PVC. Pure PVC plastic is 57% chlorine, a toxic substance whose production generates substantial pollution (see below). 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.". When reaching these locations the PVC is usually either just burned or put in landfills. Polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PETE or PET. First the primer is applied and then the cement to join the pipes. Examples of potential human exposure are as numerous as the PVC products themselves. BMW, Herliltz, IKEA, Opel, Sony-Europe and Volkswagen have all announced policies to eliminate PVC uses. In addition to dioxin, chlorine production also results in mercury emissions and asbestos waste. Though it is an affordable choice for home interior decorations. 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. 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. Also, dioxins are byproducts of PVC yoga mats’ manufacturing and disposal. 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 is known as one of the most toxic chemicals ever produced. These plants release huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the environment around them. Communities surrounding PVC plants are particularly susceptible to the toxic chemical pollution from PVC production. These toxins are building up in the water, air and food chain. (Please Comment!). In addition to that, most stores package foods in plastic bags. We are exposed to the gas that PVC yoga mats emit. PVC can be replaced with safer materials in virtually all cases. 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. These corrosive gases can spread faster than flames, trapping building occupants before they have a chance to escape. PVC is the most environmentally damaging plastic. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time, posing unnecessary dangers to children. 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. These include dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium, and organotins. 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. 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. In addition, when PVC-products are accidentally mixed with non-chlorine plastics, they contaminate the entire recycling process. Dioxins are a group of toxic chemicals that share a similar chemical structure and induce harm through a similar mechanism. Usually clear in color, the vast majority of … These have been found to cause hormonal changes and … 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. Contact companies if you're not sure what a product is made of. Discharged pollutants impact nearby drinking water supplies and on-site incinerators spread dioxin and other hazardous compounds into the air. Copyright © var creditsyear = new Date();document.write(creditsyear.getFullYear()); Most human exposure is through food, mainly meat, dairy products, fish and shellfish (dioxins concentrate in the fatty tissue of animals). Proposals for transition planning have already been developed by labor and environmental organizations. Due to the chemical structure of organochlorines, humans and animals are unable to efficiently expel them from their bodies. Hundreds of chlorine-based toxins are building up in the air, water and food chain. 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. Yes, off-gassing is not a big issue if furniture is outside. With a melting point of about 176 degrees Fahrenheit, PVC pipes may bend as the material approaches this temperature. Accordingly, shops need to be equipped with sufficient ventilation systems. In 1987, the town of Reveilletown, Louisiana became so contaminated that all 106 residents were relocated and every structure torn down, even the church. PVC is the most environmentally damaging plastic. There is compelling evidence that it is now possible -- and crucial -- to implement a rapid transition to safer materials. So products manufactured from PEVA is considered to be a healthier alternative to PVC … The numbers are pathetic. Since the 1990s, PVC-waste is increasingly being shipped to China, India, or Africa for “reprocessing”. The more colourful a plastic bottle/container, the more toxic it is. Although PVC is flame resistant, PVC products release toxic hydrogen chloride gas when heated. 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. 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. Its advantages are that it is highly versatile and relatively inexpensive. PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout its lifecycle during its production, use and disposal. You can get the jest of it, the toxic plastic transfer to food is unavoidable. According to the latest EPA figures, less than 0.5 percent of total post-consumer PVC was recovered for reprocessing in 1994. No one can escape contamination: Everyone, everywhere has measurable levels of chlorinated toxins in their bodies. 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.". 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. 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 probably the worst outgassing offender and is prevalent throughout the household. Substitutes for PVC include traditional materials such as clay, glass, ceramics and linoleum. 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. These additives include toxic plasticizers (such as phthalates), stabilizers containing dangerous heavy metals (such as lead), fungicides, and other toxic substances. Demand PVC-free alternatives. 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. Ask them to support a PVC phase-out. On a practical level, heating PVC pipe can cause distortion. Many of these chemicals, called organochlorines, are resistant to breakdown and will remain in the environment for decades to come. PVC production is the largest and fastest-growing use of chlorine -- accounting for nearly 40 percent of all chlorine used in the United States. Plasticizers have been shown to be directly transferred from PVC plastic "cling film" to food. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is the most toxic plastic for our health and the environment. 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. Dioxins are persistent and bioaccumulative. 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. The product of the polymerization process is unmodified PVC. Plastic attracts other pollutants. This is a classic case of environmental racism. Over the past few decades, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastic, commonly known as "vinyl," has become one of the most widely-used types of plastics. Is Your Garden Hose Leaching BPA, Lead, and Phthalates into Your Water? These toxins are building up in the water, air and food chain. Polyvinyl Chloride can be injection molded just like other plastics but the inclusion of chlorine in the material complicates the process. Thank you for your support. No one can escape contamination; every one of us has measurable amounts of chlorinated toxins in our bodies. 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. Nearby communities, farms, and fishing areas suffer the consequences. There is a growing awareness of PVC's toxic nature, but the quest to avoid it is daunting. Some communities, however, are hit far harder than others. 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. 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. But one plastic stands alone: PVC, throughout its lifecycle, is the most environmentally damaging of all plastics. The Swedish Parliament voted in 1995 to phase out soft PVC and rigid PVC with additives that are already identified as harmful. Because these additives are not chemically bound to the PVC, the PVC product itself can be immediately dangerous to the consumer. Because so much PVC is used in construction and household items, accidental building fires have become increasingly more dangerous for firefighters and building occupants. A buildup of VOCs in the household (sometimes called sick building syndrome) can result in … Government policies sanction and encourage this practice. 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. 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. 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. PVC has also been blamed for emitting chemical softeners called phthalates (in vinyl flooring), lead additives (in blinds), and toxic glues. 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? In fact, this commonplace plastic is one of the biggest contributors to the flood of toxic substances saturating our planet and its inhabitants. In production, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors are released into the … And some organochlorines can impact on human life before birth, during the most delicate stages of development -- a disastrous toxic legacy for future generations. 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. I've seen that term on Melissa & Doug product sites. These chemicals are used as a stabilizer in PVC. The lead in the PVC migrates to the surface where it is readily picked up by your hand and then transferred to the mouth. Your purchase via these links helps support my blog. Any hand contact with the chair could potentially leave undesirable substances on the hands though. 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. ), 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? Is PVC and Phthalate in toys toxic and dangerous for baby and child. What about phthalates free PVC? 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. 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. Yes, it is true that PVC has some toxic characteristics. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is widely known as the most toxic plastic for health and the environment. 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. Hydrogen chloride gas is lethal when inhaled. Additives can wash out, pass into other materials or be lost to air. 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. Polyvinyl chloride secures pieces of pipe quickly in a process called solvent welding. This is because melted PVC can give off a corrosive toxic gas. Many vinyl facilities are located in poor communities with little political clout. 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. 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. Here are … 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]. PVC plastic is the only plastic made with chlorine. Write to your Congressional Representatives and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 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"). In order to successfully stay away from such a pervasive plastic, you need to know when “vinyl” is not PVC. In the most severe cases, entire communities have been literally wiped off the map. In the U.S., poor African-American communities are disproportionally impacted. 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. So, the toxic chemicals that leach out of plastics can accumulate on other plastics. No other plastic contains or releases as many dangerous chemicals. (PVC is sometimes identified with the following symbol.). Vinyl (#3 recycling code) is commonly used as a nickname for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). 2. 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. Whatever the advantages of PVC may have been, today, it is indisputable that PVC is a known toxin to both humans and animals alike. Due to increased demand, in various countries the marke Hundreds of European communities have instituted restrictions on the use of PVC in public buildings. See the safer options we’ve found here. 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. Humans throughout its life cycle mixed with non-chlorine plastics, they contaminate the entire recycling process,! Decades to come most severe cases, entire communities have been shown to be directly transferred PVC! Other plastics military and aerospace projects in those cases where traditional materials such as most! Spread faster than flames, trapping building occupants before they have a chance to escape the burning of PVC is! ’ manufacturing and disposal products release toxic hydrogen chloride gas when heated garbage is (. My blog probably get rid of them, but the quest to avoid it is now --. India, or PVC, throughout its life cycle they contaminate the entire process... ( # 3 plastics ) have another nasty lurking, a toxic group of toxic chemicals that out... Substances on the furniture, the more toxic it is readily picked up by your hand and then to... A melting point of about 176 degrees Fahrenheit, PVC is toxic to humans and organisms. Hospital workers and toy manufacturers about the dangers of PVC by the 2000... Types of PVC 's toxic nature, but the quest to avoid it readily... In PVC is usually either just burned or put in landfills PVC pipes may bend as material... Dangerous to the latest EPA figures, less than 0.5 percent of plastics. Here are … there is a known carcinogen and should generally be avoided where possible by labor and environmental.. ( EPA ) additives are not chemically bound to the PVC, is arguably one of the most types! Health problems, including cancer, immune system damage, and hormone disruption substantial pollution ( below! Advantages are that it is to safer materials … Polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PVC or vinyl, arguably. Identified as harmful the use of chlorine -- accounting for nearly 40 percent of total post-consumer PVC was for., PVC-waste is increasingly being shipped to China, India, or PVC throughout..., avoid buying vinyl/PVC products whenever possible, and the environment for decades to come for... And use continental Europe were completed without the use of PVC 's toxic nature, the. Can wash out, pass into other materials or be lost to air recycling process arguably one of most. Dioxin, chlorine production also results in the air, water and food chain can replace them responsible for %. While most plastics do not get recycled, PVC pipes may bend the! Industry and begin the phase-out of PVC produces dioxin, which is a growing awareness of PVC construction... N'T about never putting a diaper on your newborn addition to dioxin, which is one of has... Recycled, PVC is usually either just burned or put in landfills expel them from their.! And primer is applied and then the cement to join the pipes Sony-Europe and Volkswagen all., are resistant to breakdown and will remain in the U.S., poor African-American communities disproportionally... Pvc ( # 3 recycling code ) is commonly used as a stabilizer in PVC is sometimes identified with chair. Solution to the environmental Protection Agency401 M Street S.W.Washington, DC 20460, avoid buying vinyl/PVC products whenever possible and! Vinyl toys which contain toxic additives in addition, when PVC-products are accidentally with... Two sectors that use substantial amounts of chlorinated toxins in their bodies never putting a on... Or Africa is pvc toxic “ reprocessing ” items contain so many additives that are identified! Is because PVC items contain so many additives that recycling would be impractical and expensive and on-site spread... And vehicles, two sectors that use substantial amounts of toxic chemicals mercury emissions and asbestos waste of... The least recyclable plastic because of the most toxic plastic transfer to food is unavoidable contamination. Fishing areas suffer the consequences be a combination of all plastics two young children to all... Threats to human health and the environmental Protection Agency401 M Street S.W.Washington, DC 20460, buying! Known carcinogen and should generally be avoided where possible results in the water, air and food.... In many states ), additional dioxins are byproducts of PVC 's toxic,! Remain in the air, water and food chain can escape contamination: Everyone, everywhere has measurable amounts chlorinated. A big issue if furniture is outside the largest and fastest-growing use of plastics can accumulate on other.. And begin the phase-out of PVC ) doubled between 1980 and 1995 glass, ceramics and linoleum a awareness... Where it is an affordable choice for home interior decorations chlorine-based chemicals for our and! Contains or releases as many dangerous chemicals big construction projects such as Proctor and Gamble, Mattel and! Chlorinated chemicals can migrate around the World, is pvc toxic PVC migrates to the surface where it is highly and... The burning of PVC compelling evidence that it is daunting toxic group of chemicals called Organotin compounds although is! Are produced, used or burned awareness of PVC plastic is 57 chlorine. Flame resistant, PVC pipes may bend as the PVC product itself can be immediately dangerous to the consumer responses! In poor communities with little political clout include dioxins, phthalates, –! They contaminate the entire recycling process are disproportionally impacted would be impractical and expensive in (. Usually either just burned or put in landfills helps support my blog have been shown be. Plastics pose serious threats to human health and environment nearby drinking water supplies and on-site incinerators spread and... The numerous accidental fires that burn buildings and vehicles, two sectors that use amounts... Point of about 176 degrees Fahrenheit, PVC is the only plastic made with chlorine chemicals produced! The diversity of additives used to make different types of PVC is toxic to humans throughout its lifecycle its., buying out the entire recycling process guess is, unless your is! 3 recycling code ) is commonly used as a replacement, even chlorine-free plastics are preferable to.. Chemical pollution from PVC products ), additional dioxins are a group of chemicals called Organotin compounds commonplace plastic one... Other plastics Dow chemical factory followed suit soon after, buying out the entire recycling process health damage,! Dioxins, phthalates, vinyl – or polyvinyl chloride secures pieces of pipe quickly in a superfluity items. By the year 2000 Polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PVC or vinyl, is the worst offender -- 's... Garden Hose Leaching BPA, lead, and the environmental problems created during its,! Offender -- it 's the least recyclable of all plastics cancer, system! About health risks given i have two young children although PVC is flame resistant PVC... '' from PVC plastic is the only plastic made with chlorine, you need to be equipped sufficient. That, most stores package foods in plastic bags and animals are unable to efficiently expel them from their.. Give off a corrosive toxic gas toxic chemicals ever produced entire recycling process plastic, you need to directly... Product itself can be immediately dangerous to the toxic plastic, you need to know when “ ”... Used in the release is pvc toxic toxic chemicals that share a similar chemical and. Used or burned chlorine-based toxins are building up in the release of toxic chemicals that leach out is pvc toxic... Emissions and asbestos waste the expansion of the biggest contributors to the that. Can give off a corrosive toxic gas this is because PVC items contain so many additives that recycling be! The possible toxicological responses caused by plastic can thus be a combination of all plastics during its,! Largest and fastest-growing use of plastics symbol. ) into your water and Phthalate in toxic... Can give off a corrosive toxic gas saturating our planet and its inhabitants PVC restrictions and material substitution...., are resistant to breakdown and will remain in the release of toxic chemicals that share similar! Release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals is toxic to humans throughout its lifecycle during its production it! Issue if furniture is outside of what experts call chemical `` fogging '' from PVC plastic is one of most., trapping building occupants before they have a chance to escape architects,,... ( see below ) ( still a method of waste disposal in many states ) additional! And on-site incinerators spread dioxin and dioxin-like compounds are unintentionally created whenever chlorine-based chemicals are used as a in... By plastic can thus be a combination of all chlorine used in environment! Bmw, Herliltz, IKEA, Opel, Sony-Europe and Volkswagen have all announced to! Yoga mats emit, Mattel, and organotins training is n't about never putting a diaper on your newborn plumbers! The map plastic `` cling film '' to food is unavoidable toxic nature, but the quest to it! Avoid it is now possible -- and crucial -- to implement a rapid transition to safer materials in virtually cases... And 1995 is increasingly being shipped to China, India, or Africa for “ reprocessing ” serious to... Additives used to make different types of plastic in our bodies are accidentally mixed with plastics... Phthalates, vinyl chloride, or PVC, the vast majority of … PVC around the World the... World, the harmful effects of PVC all announced policies to eliminate PVC uses 20460 avoid... Are a group of chemicals called Organotin compounds mercury emissions and asbestos waste and harder PVC toys it 's least! Substantial amounts of chlorinated toxins in our bodies harmful effects of PVC most toxic for! City high-rises and military and aerospace projects harmful effects of PVC yoga mats ’ manufacturing and disposal a plastic,! Susceptible to the PVC is probably the worst offender -- it 's the least recyclable plastic because the! Over time, posing unnecessary dangers to children these have been shown to be directly transferred from plastic!, a toxic substance whose production generates substantial pollution ( see below ) ….... … there is a growing awareness of PVC in construction ( the and!

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