The EVIL's of PVC

August 30, 2017

PVC is absolutely the worst material ever created. It is harmful to you, to me, to the cat next door, and to the whole world.

 

 

Here’s the boring stuff:

PVC stands for Polyvinyl chloride. It is a plastic composed of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine. It has a #3 recycling code (BAD NEWS comes in 3s).

 

Here’s why people like it:

  • It’s cheap

  • It’s effective

  • It’s softer dashboards in cars

  • It has made modern life more affordable and convenient

  • It makes great inexpensive consumer goods

 

Here’s why it’s horrible:

  • The Center for Health, Environment and Justice calls PVC “one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created.” It is the POISON PLASTIC. (source: CHEJ)

  • PVC is commonly used in baby shampoo bottle, packaging, saran wrap, shower curtains and THOUSANDS of other products

  • They are short lived products. As much as 7 billion pounds of PVC are discarded every year in the U.S.

  • PVC disposal is the largest source of dioxin-forming chlorine and phthalates in solid waste, as well as a major source of lead, cadmium, and organotin – which are serious health threats.

  • PVC production poses serious environmental health threats due to the manufacture of raw chemicals, including chlorine and cancer-causing vinyl chloride monomer.

  • U.S. communities surrounding vinyl chloride chemical facilities, half of which are in Louisiana, suffer from groundwater and air pollution.

  • PVC includes high amounts of toxic additives, which are released during use and disposal, resulting in elevated human exposures to chemicals.

  • When burned, PVC plastic forms dioxins, a highly toxic group of chemicals that build up in the food chain, can cause cancer and harms the immune and reproductive systems.

  • PVC is the leading contributor of chlorine to four combustion sources— municipal solid waste incinerators, backyard burn barrels, medical waste incinerators and secondary copper smelters—that account for an estimated 80% of dioxin air emissions (USEPA).

  • The U.S. burn 500 to 600 million pounds of PVC each year, forming highly toxic dioxins and releasing toxic additives to the air and in ash disposed of on land.

  • Dumping of PVC in landfills poses long-term problems from leaching of toxic additives into groundwater, dioxin-forming landfill fires and toxic landfill gases.

  • PVC is very difficult to recycle because many additives used in PVC products make it impossible to retain the unique properties of the original formulation from a batch of mixed PVC products collected for recycling.

 

What are dioxins? They are mainly byproducts of industrial practices. They are absorbed and stored in our fat tissue. Dioxin exposure has been linked to many diseases, including all types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and an acne-like skin disease called chloracne, a hallmark of dioxin exposure. (source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

 

 

5 Reasons why PVC is horrible:

  1. Releases waste byproduct at every step of its life. This waste byproduct (dioxins) enters our atmosphere, groundwater, and soil. We need all three of those to live a clean, sustainable life. We are definitely better off not polluting them with dioxins.

  2. It is highly flammable and releases toxic-chemicals into our atmosphere.

  3. Breaks down overtime and release chemicals into our water that affects our reproduction systems.

  4. Lead and Mercury leak into our groundwater from the production of PVC and gets into our drinking water.  

  5. It cannot be recycled.

 

Here's the Shower Curtain I bought from Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wQOOyw (Affiliate Link)

 

Common PVC Household Products

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

 

 

Some good things:

  • The incineration of PVC medical waste is being steadily replaced by cleaner non-burn technologies.

  • Safer alternatives to PVC are widely available and effective for almost all major uses in building materials, medical products, packaging, office supplies, toys and consumer goods.

  • Phasing out PVC in favor of safer alternatives is economically achievable.

  • You have a choice! Consumers should take personal action to buy PVC-free alternatives and to remove PVC from their trash for management as household hazardous waste.

 

Here's the Shower Curtain I bought from Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wQOOyw (Affiliate Link)

 

End Note:

You have a choice on what you bring into your home. The best thing you can do is avoid PVC plastic like it is the plague of death. Creating a clean, sustainable home and lifestyle is about mindfully considering the things you buy and how they impact the earth. PVC has a gigantic very-long-lasting ecological footprint.

 

Just remember, a clean, sustainable lifestyle is a journey.

 

It is impossible to have a zero-impact life overnight.  It takes baby-steps. Change things out as soon as you, but at your speed.

 

Next time you are shopping, considering going PVC-FREE.

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