The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), posted a press release this week announcing that Sears Holdings, which include Sears and Kmart, will be joining Wal-mart and Target in actions to reduce and phase out products and packaging containing the toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, more commonly known as vinyl. According to CHEJ, as much as 7 billion pounds of PVC are discarded every year in the U.S. PVC disposal is the largest source of dioxin-forming chlorine and phthalates in solid waste, as well as a major source of lead and cadmium which pose serious health threats.
Part of their new efforts, Sears Holding is encouraging product makers to label their PVC-free merchandise as well as research to find safer alternatives. An excerpt from the press release:
Recent reports indicate that the world stock of PVC in use contains 3.2 million tons of lead. Lead can damage the brain and nervous system, cause behavior, learning and developmental disabilities, and decreased IQ. Previous testing has detected lead in a broad range of PVC consumer products including toys, lunch boxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics.
A report released just last week — http://healthytoys.org/home.php — found that almost one half of all toys tested are made out of PVC, which often contain phthalates. Exposure to phthalates have been linked with premature birth delivery, early puberty in girls, impaired sperm quality and sperm damage in men, genital defects, and reduced testosterone production in boys. Over ninety percent of all phthalates are used in PVC products and are often found in many toys such as rubber duckies and bath books.
Read the entire press release on the CHEJ website. And if you really want the full scary list of the harm PVC does to us and the environment, check out their findings here. I recently found some character plate sets at Target and was surprised to see a No PVC symbol on the box. I hope this trend continues!