1000 Flowers for the Planet - #141 Avoid PVC
PVC is Polyvinyl Chloride, or what we generally refer to as ‘vinyl’. It is a plastic. For those who wish to lead a plastic free life, vinyl products will be included in that list of objects to avoid. Mostly we think of vinyl as a type of flooring, which it is, but it is found in so many other things too, such as those soft plastic toys made for babies and young children.
I’ve tried to do some objective research about PVC but it’s a minefield. As usual, you can find sites that will tell you PVC is a dangerous, deadly substance, and you can find sites that tell you it is perfectly safe. In 1983 there was a fire in a theatre in Turin, Italy, in which 64 people died, most from inhalation of toxic fumes from the plastic covers on the seats. Realising 20 years have passed since then, maybe plastic/PVC production has improved to make it safe/r, and the website at www.pvc.org will tell you PVC is perfectly safe. Greenpeace’s website has had it’s article about the dangers of PVC removed, so that was interesting, and I’ve not found any reliably ‘official’ website that condemns vinyl. BUT – the State of New Jersey, U.S.A., Department of Human Services does state that PVC contains phthalates and that phthalates were banned from children’s toys in 2008 and it goes on to recommend safer alternatives for children’s school supplies (source: http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/opmrdd/health/pvc.html accessed 5 March 2014). Why would a government body take this step without at least a degree of concern?
What concluded me in the end to make this Flower suggestion is the idea that it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’d rather avoid something we’re not 100% sure about until proven otherwise. Maybe that proof will never come, but as I’ve already suggested that using less plastic in our lives would be a good thing for our planet, we can look at PVC as an undesirable landfill product, made from oil which is a non-sustainable resource, and it’s difficult to recycle, so let’s avoid it.