PVC Items In Your Every-Day Life

A few weeks ago I wrote my first article highlighting the scary health effects from PVC plastic. Scariest fact from the article is that PVC is a known human carcinogen and has recently been linked to the development of autism. PVC ’the poison plastic’ is the worst (and unfortunately the most widely used) plastic because it’s not recyclable and it does nothing but produce harmful dioxins from the start of it’s production until it ends up in the incinerator or landfill.  Not only is it terrible for the environment, but it has adverse effects to human health and is still used to produce many products that children or babies use in North America.  For this reason, I’m trying to bring awareness to household items, toys, etc., made from PVC and hope this article becomes a point of reference for parents so they can identify household items made from PVC plastic.  It’s important to note that some companies and countries (Europe) have produced alternatives to PVC, so you need to investigate before pointing fingers or panicking. 

I’ve checked with a few ‘environmental experts’ that are within my network (hello Twitter!) and can confidently share that PVC continues to off-gas or ‘leach’ toxins throughout it’s entire existence.  When a product made from PVC is first opened from packaging or purchased you notice a strong odor ~ this is a strong clue that it contains PVC.  What I’ve learned is just because the odor goes away or lessens, the item is still continuing to leach harmful chemicals.  Two ways besides scent to identify items made from PVC is to look for a V or 3 inside or underneath the universal recycling symbols. Of course, toy manufacturers and too smart to stamp V (for vinyl) or 3 (plastic that is not recyclable) with chasing arrows at the bottom of their toys because trust me, I keep looking.  Why would they want to tip off consumers that the toy is toxic?  Very frustrating.  You need to ask questions and if the retailer looks at you confused and can’t answer the question if it’s made from PVC, don’t purchase it.

I first realized the difference in PVC-free rain gear (rain boots, hats, gloves, jackets, pants, etc) last weekend when I stuck my nose into a rack of Puddle Gear products and couldn’t smell any odor and didn’t get my usual headache.  The Puddle Gear line is made PVC free and is a sweet new find!   When I stand next to traditional rubber boots or rain gear and it contains PVC, I can tell because I get a terrible headache instantly.  

On a daily basis I’m finding or thinking about more things in my home that surround my children made from PVC and want to create a master list.  I thank the following sites for supplying me with awesome information about PVC, worth a read if you want more information: www.watoxics.org, www.besafe.net, www.pollutioninpeople.org, and a pioneer watch-dog site site that holds companies accountable for producing harmful products www.zrecommends.com.

If you have any items that are not listed below, please add a comment to the bottom of this article and I will edit the post and add the item to this master list.  Yikes!  With summer quickly approaching – check out the category for outdoor items that are made with PVC – do you want your child sitting in an outdoor pool for hours that is leaching chemicals?

Household:

Cling Wrap
Shower Curtains
Bath Mats
Tablecloths
Place Mat
Credit Cards
Pond Liners
Wall Coverings including wall paper, wall decals for nursery or kid’s rooms
Fake Christmas Trees
Strollers and Car Seats
Toys
Water beds
Labels and Stickers
Photo Album Sheets
Mattress Covers
Imitation Leather Furniture
Checkbook Covers
Cleaning product containers
Pet care product containers
Tarps
Modeling Clay (Child Toy)

Apparel:

Bibs
Aprons
Shoes / Boots
Bags / Luggage / Diaper Bags / Backpacks with rain protective coating
Rain Gear: boots, jackets, pants, gloves, hats
T-shirts with shiny PVC prints
Watchbands

Outdoor Items:

Balls
Children’s Swimming Pools
Garden Hoses
Greenhouses
Inflatable Furniture
Pond Liners
Greenhouse and Cold Frames
Tarps

Kitchen Items:

Drinking Straws
Dish Racks
Food Wrap
Plastic Bags
Food Storage Containers

Office Supplies:

Sheet Protectors
Photo Albums
Notebooks
Report Covers
Binders
Cell Phones
Clipboards
Computer Keyboards
Floppy Disks
Mouse Pads
Paper Clips
Tape

Building Materials:

Fencing
Flooring
Gutters
Pipes
Molding
Shutters
Siding
Tiles
Window Frames
Wire / cable insulation
Appliance housing TV, Video, Stereo, Circuit Cards, White Goods

For more information on PVC read: PVC Plastic ~ The Poison Plastic In Your Home

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9 Responses to PVC Items In Your Every-Day Life

  1. George May 17, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    Here’s an ironic use of PVC. When you drive by a decommissioned gas station, you see a bunch of white PVC pipes sticking out of the ground. These are monitoring wells to track the spread of gasoline that has leaked from the tank.

    The irony is that these pipes are placed there by environmental professionals who are fully aware of the toxicity of PVC. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cost-effective alternative for this purpose.

    However, the toxicity from these pipes is considerably less than from the gasoline or other pollutants they are put there to monitor.

  2. ALex May 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    It totally amazes me that we are using PVC piping for anything- We use it to deliver our water- and to take water away- thus poisoning all the water.

  3. Gwen May 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    One product not on your list is the coverings that you see so many parents using on their strollers to protect their baby from the rain. These coverings are made from PVC. I recently sourced an amazing PVC free cover for strollers (which was really difficult!), but unfortunately this company is new and has not taken on the Canadian market yet (they are in the US). I am on their waiting list though because this is something that I realy want to make available to us Canadian moms.

  4. Kristina May 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    RED VINES- the tub is made of PVC! I will never buy it again, and I will make sure the company is aware of that. We should all be writing these companies saying you will not support them until they change the way their products are made!

  5. wendy schumacher November 15, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    I am an lpn out of work with severe irritant contact dermatitis due to the medical disposable gloves. They are all made with pvc.

  6. Joblo March 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    OK… PVC is really bad for the environment… But, it’s out there, it isn’t expensive and it isn’t hard to get… Even if you tell people it’s bad, they’ll keep using it… It’s like telling someone to stop going to Mcdonald’s because it’s REALLY bad for you… The person will keep going because it’s out there, it isn’t expensive and it VERY accessible…

  7. Maureen April 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    I looked up recycling symbols. They each gave examples. Number 5 included drinking straws. Maybe some straws aren’t as bad as others? PVC seems to be in so many things, I don’t know how anyone can truly avoid it!

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