Just when you thought you had learned everything there was to know about avoiding Bisphenol-A (BPA), new research shows that there are more hormone-disrupting chemicals around you than you probably thought. In answer to consumers’ demands to drop BPA from products, many manufacturers have simply switched to using different, but potentially more toxic chemicals.
You can imagine our shock when we visited a Wal-Mart store and found 5-gallon plastic water bottles made in Mexico from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It seems that water bottles and food containers made of PVC are taking the place of products made with BpA. However, the perceived safety of using products made of PVC rather than with BpA is extremely misleading. PVC’s recycle code is 3.
By reusing water bottles and food containers made of PVC, you’re increasing the probability of ingesting the chemicals. Wear and tear from normal usage causes it to leach harmful chemicals from the products. According to research gathered by the Natural Resources Defense Council, PVC causes “liver cancer, brain cancer and some cancers of the blood… and has also been associated with mammary (breast) cancer.” Children might be more susceptible than adults to PVC-induced cancer given they’re in the early stages of developmenti.
Not only does the chemical pose a great threat to our bodies, but to the environment as well. The manufacturing process of raw PVC itself is highly polluting. In addition, PVC is difficult to recycle and has been reported as the least recycled of all plasticsii.
The dangers of PVC have been cited more and more frequently, leading to PVC bans in virtually all European countries. Some U.S. cities are following suit. For example, Boston, New York, and San Francisco have already placed strict purchasing measures on products made with PVCiii.
To keep up-to-date on the latest news regarding PVC, visit the websites of organizations such as Green Peace, The Healthy Building Network, The Natural Resources Defense Council, and The Center for Health, Environment & Justice.
[i] www.nrdc.org/health/files/vinylChloride.pdf. “Congress Must Protect People from Toxic Chemicals Known to Cause Harm: Vinyl Chloride”. Natural Resources Defense Council. [ii]http://www.healthybuilding.net/pvc/ThorntonPVCSummary.html. Thornton Ph.D, Joe. “Environmental Impacts of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Building Materials.” [iii] http://www.chej.org/pvcfactsheets/PVC_Policies_Around_The_World.html “PVC Policies Across the World” Center for Health, Environment & Justice.