Nearly 50 Endicott, NY residents have banded together in a lawsuit filed last week against National Pipe & Plastics, accusing the manufacturer of having “devastated the neighborhood” where it opened a new plant earlier this year. The lawsuit claims noise and odors wafting from the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe manufacturing plant at 15 Mills Ave. have created an “ongoing public nuisance” to residents of the West Endicott neighborhood.
On October 23rd, the EPA added 23 chemicals, including BPA, seven phthalates and two flame retardants to a key list of chemicals that may be subject to stricter regulation.
The chemicals on this list all have properties that make them particularly hazardous, whether they are used in children’s products, have been linked to cancer, or are particularly environmentally persistent.
The EPA also removed 15 chemicals from the list.
Read the full story at Bloomberg News.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most widely used plastics across the world. Properties such as lightweight, high mechanical strength, abrasion resistance, and toughness make PVC a widely used material in the Construction, Packaging, Automotive, and Electrical industries.
PVC is extensively used in many products, such as pipes and fittings, rigid films, rigid plates, cables and wires, flooring, automotive parts, and packaging. It has an excellent cost to performance ratio, and hence, it is very popular among all consumer segments.
For more information please click on: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/publication/mw88f4j/global_pvc_market_20142018
A 25-foot-long yellow inflatable duck has been drawing attention to chemical regulation in Bangor, Maine. The “Fear the Beard” campaign was launched by members of Prevent Harm, a public health political advocacy group, to protest against Governor Paul LePage’s history of lax chemical regulation. The name of the campaign stems from LePage’s comments in 2011 that the worst possible impacts from BPA would be that some women “may have little beards” – a reference to the chemical’s endocrine-disrupting properties, which may cause effects ranging from cancer to infertility.
“We’re out here today with our little beards [on sticks] to make sure that our next governor will put Maine kids ahead of the chemical industry, not the other way around,” Emma Halas-O’Connor, Prevent Harm advocacy manager, said.
Parents across the country are stocking up on this year’s hottest costumes for their little ghouls, goblins, and princesses, but some costumes may contain hidden toxic chemicals harmful to our children’s health. I wish I were tricking you.
A new study released today by HealthyStuff.org found elevated levels of toxic chemicals in popular Halloween costumes, accessories and even “trick or treat” bags. Dangerous chemicals like phthalates, flame retardants, vinyl (PVC) plastic, organotins, and even lead.
They tested 105 types of Halloween gear for chemicals linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer. The products were purchased from top national retailers including CVS, Kroger, Party City, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens.
These chemicals have no place in products for our little ones. For instance they found high levels of flame retardants in “trick or treat” bags, and a toddler Batman costume that contained very high levels of phthalates, and even lead in the lining of the mask.
We know that big retailers can do better. In fact the new testing also shows that many Halloween products do not contain dangerous substances, proving that safer products can be made.
PVC, one of the most toxic plastic for children’s health and the environment, has scared its way into some of our beloved children’s costumes. Even scarier is that many vinyl products are laden with harmful phthalates, endocrine disrupting chemicals banned in toys but widespread in many other vinyl products children come in contact with. Vinyl products also often release a witches’ brew of toxic chemicals into the air. That’s that new plastic vinyl smell so many of us grew up with. Who knew it was so scary!
With that in mind, here are some tips for a safer Halloween for your family and friends:
- Avoid PVC: Shop for PVC-free costumes and masks. If you’re not sure what the costume is made out of, ask the store or manufacturer whether or not it contains PVC and phthalates.
- Make your own costume out of safer PVC-free materials! We bet you can come up with something fun and creative by just diving into your closet.
- Trade safe costumes with your friends. No need to buy more stuff.
- Use safer face-paints.
Happy Halloween – and don’t get spooked by the chemical industry this Halloween season!
From Mark Rossi at BizNGO
The dominant movement in the marketplace is to alternative plasticizers to DEHP and other phthalates. Yet this is the less preferred solution to avoiding PVC and plasticizers altogether. Some recent assessments on alternative materials and plasticizers include:
• Clean Production Action’s Plastics Scorecard demonstrated the benefits of substituting medical IV bags made from PVC/DEHP with polyolefin bags that require no plasticizers (see figure to the right). The substitution eliminated the need for plasticizers, which are roughly 30% of the weight of an IV bag.
• Alternative plasticizers need to be assessed for their hazards. While less preferable than avoiding PVC and plasticizers altogether, if a company can’t avoid PVC, here are two analyses of alternative plasticizers. The Healthy Building Network (HBN) and Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) used the GreenScreen (GS) to evaluate alternatives to phthalates in building products (HBN) and DEHP in wire and cable (GC3). Here are their findings:
- Two bio-based products that appear to be the least toxic of all the plasticizers it evaluated (Grindsted Soft-n-Safe and Polysorb ID 37) – GS Benchmark (BM) undetermined due to data gaps (HBN)
- DEHT – GS BM 3 (with data gaps) (GC3 & HBN)
- Vegetable oil based blends that vary from GS BM 2 to GS BM 3 (GC3 & HBN)
- DINCH – GS BM 2 (GC3 & HBN)
- Dibenzoate plasticizer – potentially GS BM 1 (while safer than DINP still has significant hazardous properties) (HBN); and
- Polymeric adipate – GS Benchmark 2, 3, or 4 (depending on chemical assessed) (GC3).
• Further alternative assessments of phthalates: The U.S. EPA Design for Environment program is in the middle of a project to evaluate alternatives to eight phthalates.
Are there toxic chemicals in your child’s raincoat? New testing coordinated by CHEJ found elevated levels of phthalates in a SpongeBob Squarepants vinyl rain poncho, at levels nearly seven times above the federal safety standard.
I recently purchased the SpongeBob Squarepants vinyl rain poncho at Toys R Us’ flagship store in Times Square, NYC and send it off to a lab for testing.
The lab found the SpongeBob vinyl poncho contained 6,600 parts per million (ppm) of the phthalate Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP). This phthalate is widely considered to be among the most toxic of all phthalates on the market. The amount in the SpongeBob Squarepants poncho is nearly seven times greater than the level considered safe by the CSPC. While phthalates have been banned in toys, they remain permitted in products like rain ponchos and children’s school supplies. Low levels of lead were also detected in the raincoat.
The lab also found the product contained high levels of chlorine, indicating the raincoat is made out of vinyl (PVC) plastic, the most toxic plastic for children’s health. We call it the poison plastic. Nickelodeon – say it ain’t so! We love SpongeBob and don’t want him to be toxic to our children’s health.
These chemicals have no place in our children’s products – they have been linked to asthma, developmental and reproductive harm. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time toxic chemicals have been found lurking in children’s raincoats. Last year, we found high levels of phthalates in 75% of school supplies we tested.
The new testing was funded by concerned parents through an innovative crowdfunding campaign CHEJ conducted on Indiegogo. Parents across the country provided the funding that enabled us to do the testing.
Toxic ponchos underscore need for federal chemical reform
The brand new test results were released in late October at the DC Stroller Brigade, which featured parents and children from around the country at a news conference and rally at the federal Capitol. Families then met with their US senators to urge federal reform. The vinyl ponchos were used at both the press conference and in meetings with US Senators to highlight the problem of unregulated dangerous chemicals in children’s products.
We have the right to know.
The results were also released by our partners at the Environmental Health Strategy Center in Maine, who held a news conference releasing the results to build support for forthcoming Maine legislation that would require disclosure of phthalates in consumer products. The proposed legislation would provide parents the right to know about toxic phthalates in consumer products. Watch a TV segment on their release.
Phthalates also found in vinyl flooring, dumbbells and earphones
In addition to the testing we conducted, our partners at Healthystuff.org recently screened a variety of products for phthalates and also released the data in conjunction with the DC Stroller Brigade. These products were purchased from 9 retailers including the Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., Dunham’s Sports, Home Depot, K-Mart, Lowes, MC Sports, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart. The products range from household, kitchen and office supplies to children’s products and exercise equipment.
- 3lb Dumbbells by Empower sold at MC Sports had 41% DEHP;
- Earphones sold at the Dollar Tree Stores had 30% DEHP and .04% DBP;
- Royelle Sheffley vinyl flooring by Armstrong sold at Home Depot had 7% BBP, .01% DBP, .02% DINP;
- Sentinel Stone vinyl flooring by Armstrong sold at Home Depot had 7% BBP, .01 % DBP, and 14% DINP.
It’s time for a common sense solution!
It doesn’t have to be this way! Toxic chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects have no place in our homes or schools. Join me and the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Campaign in fighting back against these poison plastic products!
The brand new test results were released today at the DC Stroller Brigade coordinated by the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Campaign. The event on Capitol Hill today features parents, children, and cancer survivors from around the country, for a “Stroller Brigade” and rally. Families will also meet with their US senators to urge federal reform that will: protect pregnant women, children and vulnerable communities, take immediate action on the most toxic chemicals, and allow states the ability to pass their own toxic chemical laws.
Our new testing revealed elevated levels of phthalates in a Spongebob Squarepants children’s vinyl rain poncho, which we purchased at Toys R Us’ flagship store in Times Square, NYC.
The lab found the Spongebob vinyl poncho contained 6,600 parts per million (ppm) of the phthalate Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP). This phthalate is widely considered to be among the most toxic of all phthalates on the market. The amount in the Spongebob Squarepants poncho is nearly seven times greater than the level considered safe by the CSPC. While phthalates have been banned in toys, they remain permitted in products like rain ponchos and children’s school supplies. Low levels of lead were also detected in the raincoat.
The lab also found the product contained high levels of chlorine, indicating the raincoat is made out of vinyl (PVC) plastic. Vinyl is the most toxic plastic for children’s health and the environment. Its manufacture uses and releases hazardous chemicals including vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, mercury and dioxin, which are harmful to the communities and workers where it’s made and disposed of.
The new testing was funded by an innovative crowdfunding campaign CHEJ conducted on Indiegogo. We are hopeful that these new results will help educate US Senators on the need to reform our broken chemical safety laws.
New test results also released today by HealthyStuff.org found elevated levels of phthalates in dumbbells, over- the-ear headphones, and vinyl flooring.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted on additional children’s school supply test results in the coming weeks.
Yours for a toxic-free future,
Mike Schade, Markets Campaign Coordinator
Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ)
So you’ve decided to start living a PVC-free life. You have finally gotten fed up with unsafe and unhealthy chemicals and are officially taking the steps to rid yourself of them for good. You’ve done all of the research on why PVC and phthalates are bad for you and your family, and now, armed with knowledge, you are embarking on a new, guilt-free outlook on life. You send your kids to school with binders and lunch-boxes that are PVC-free, buy them skin care products and fragrances that aren’t made with harmful plastics and leads, and you think your cork floors look better than their low cost would suggest. And while you don’t work directly with PVC, you take small steps to move your office towards cleaner living as well.
But is this enough?
While consumer responsibility and choice is extraordinarily important in moving the market towards safer and healthier products for our daily lives, it may not be enough to protect us from the harmful effects of PVC. Large scale change can really only be brought about with a delicate balance between individual actions and responsible legislation. So while making sure that you and your family are exposed to as little toxins as possible is a goal worth the effort, you may still be vulnerable to the effects of the very toxic chemicals you thought you had banished from your daily life