Are you melting yet? Your PVC isn’t…

This time of year always begs the question: Is it hot enough for you? It’s the time of year when most people start to daydream about the lower temperatures and beautiful scenery that Fall brings. For some, conscious choices are made every day to ensure this natural beauty is maintained. For others, these are things that are taken for granted.

There are many environmentally harmful products out there that will neither help our planet nor us in the long run. PVC, commonly known as vinyl, is one of those products. It is used nearly every day in many facets of daily life, but are we really aware how harmful this chemically producing plastic is?

Here are some major concerns:

PVC is not typically recycled or recyclable and it is not biodegradable. Chlorine production for PVC results in the release of more than 200,000 pounds of mercury into air, water and land each year.

In addition, various pollutants and toxic additives are used to produce PVC products.

Two of the main culprits are:

1. Dioxin
2. Phthalates

  • Dioxin is a toxic chemical that is created and released during PVC production. Since PVC is expensive and difficult to recycle, it is typically burned or buried at end of life – this releases even more dioxin (and hydrochloric acid) into the air which can contaminate water and land and even contributes to acid rain. Dioxin can also negatively affect reproductive, immune, endocrine and neurological systems.
  • Phthalates are additives used in PVC production that help soften and make it flexible for use in various applications. Over the years, phthalates have sparked concern from many due to the link between this dangerous additive and increased risk of cancer, kidney and liver damage as well as damage to reproductive health and development.

Remind me again why we use this product so much?

Not only does PVC use dangerous chemicals in production, it is also difficult to recycle (as mentioned above). Because of this, a large majority ends up in landfills where it does not easily decompose, releasing its toxic chemicals into the air for us to freely breathe in – yippee.

After everything we know about the harmful effects of PVC not only on the environment but also on ourselves, we really need to ask this question: Is PVC worth the risk? I understand for some of its uses it is the most effective option, but with all of the environmentally friendly options that are available (from binders to notebooks), why are we still using vinyl in so many aspects of our lives?

Take a stand. Go Vinyl Free.

Source: http://earth911.com/recycling/plastic/pvc/facts-about-pvc/

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