An alarming pair of new studies add to the mounting scientific evidence linking vinyl chemicals to asthma and obesity in children.

The latest study found an association between the phthalates DINP and DIDP and asthma, which are primarily used to make vinyl flooring and other vinyl products flexible.  The researchers report:

“The strong correlation between MCOP and MCNP suggests similar sources of exposure to the parent compounds, which are both used primarily as plasticizers of PVC and may be used in flooring, wall coverings, building materials, heat-resistant electrical cords, car interiors, and toys.”

OK.  I need to vent, for just one moment.

We’re talking about asthma here people! You know, the disease that impacts over 7 million children!  A disease that kills over 3,000 Americans a year.  AND it’s super costly.  According to the CDC, asthma costs $57 billion a year in healthcare costs. B-I-L-L-I-O-N.

Now that I got that out of me, as I’ve blogged before, this isn’t the first time certain phthalates have been linked to asthma.  It’s not even the second or third!

What’s particularly interesting is that DINP and DIDP are phthalates the industry loves to argue are “safe.”  And of course, they make the same argument for just about every other poisonous chemical they just love to pump into consumer products.

The other new study, which Nick Kristof wrote about in the New York Times last weekend, found a link between certain organotins and obesity.

Nick Kristof sums it up:

“Just this month, a new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that endocrine disruptors that are sometimes added to PVC plastic cause mice to grow obese and suffer liver problems — and the effect continues with descendants of those mice, generation after generation.”

These chemicals which can apparently help trigger obesity, have been coined obesogens (dioxins and phthalates have also been linked to obesity BTW).

Like phthalates, organotins are added to vinyl products to give them certain properties; in this case they’re used as “stabilizers.”  Lead and cadmium are also used as stabilizers, and now the chemical industry seems to be playing a toxic shell game with our children’s health, where they’re replacing one toxic stabilizer for another (in this case, switching out lead for cadmium or organotins).  If that’s not a regrettable substitute, I don’t know what is. Oy.

What’s especially concerning is that these chemicals continue to be used in building materials and other vinyl products in our homes and schools, where our kids spend so much of their time.  Why is that they can be banned in toys, but still be allowed in so many other products?!

If we want to avoid these harmful additives, and all the other toxic hazards associated with vinyl (HELLO!  chlorine gas, ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride, chlorinated byproducts like PCBs, dioxins and furans, and mercury, oh my!), the best thing to do is to get it out of our schools and homes in the first place.

These new studies underscore the need for companies like Disney to get these chemicals and plastic out of children’s products one and for all.

After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Right?