In an earlier post I said to avoid vinyl. I would now like to expand on the evils of polyvinyl chloride, also know as vinyl or PVC.
PVC, identifiable by the number 3 or a V below the recycling symbol, releases toxins into the environment during its production, use, and disposal. The manufacture of PVC releases chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer and birth defects such as vinyl chloride and chloroform into the air and can leach into the ground water, which eventually makes its way to the tap. That new car smell? That is dioxin and other toxins being offgassed. Does your little one chew on things made from vinyl? They may be swallowing phalates and lead. Very little PVC is recycled because it is very hard and expensive to do. So instead it either sits in a landfill where it continues to leach toxins into the air and ground water, or it is burned, which releases large amounts of dioxin and other chemicals. You do not want to be in a burning house with lots of vinyl, it is likely that the chemicals released will cause unconsciousness before you have a chance to escape.
There are lots of alternatives to PVC, so you don’t have an excuse to buy them. I’ll keep you updated with solutions in the future. Here are a few to get you started.
Buy from companies that have committed to keeping PVC out of their products and packaging. If you are not sure if a product is PVC-free, call the manufacturer and ask. If they say it has PVC, let them know you will not be buying it.
Shower curtains – use cotton or linen. Nylon and polyester liners work just fine. There are also curtains made out of other types of plastics. If you happen to live by an Ikea, they have PVC-free shower curtains. Actually, Ikea is one of the companies that has completely phased out vinyl, so you can shop there to your heart’s content.
Plastic wrap – some is vinyl, some is not. I am working on investigating this more, I’ll let you know the results. In the meantime, use glass containers, cover your food with another plate or bowl in the microwave, and use parchment paper.
Waterproof / Allergy barriers such as mattress covers – find ones made from polyurethane instead. I recently got some at Custom Comfort Mattress Company and they work great and were reasonably priced.
You can find all kinds of vinyl alternatives by doing a little research on the web and by asking at stores. Always remember – NO 3! PVC is not for me!
ETA: If you want to watch a documentary about vinyl, check out Blue Vinyl. It’s good.