What do Barbie dolls, shower curtains, raincoats and sneakers have in common? They all share a common component: polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. A recent study showed that one in five PVC products is contaminated with lead and cadmium. PVC is one of the most toxic materials ever invented, generating dioxin (a powerful human carcinogen) in both its manufacture and disposal.
Workers at PVC plants and families living near those plants (often in economically depressed areas where jobs are scarce) are at higher risk for serious health problems, and dioxin, created from burning PVC in buildings, puts the lives of firefighters at risk and wreaks havoc on our environment. Many countries have now banned the sale of PVC toys because of risks to children¹s health, but interestingly, those toys along with all other PVC products – continue to be sold here in the United States.
You can identify PVC products by the #3 recycling code on the bottom of plastic products. Fortunately, there are safe alternatives to all consumer uses of PVC plastics! To learn more about PVC and other plastics to avoid, visit Grassroots and read more facts here.