What Is PVC, and Why Is It Such a Problem?
by DaCosta Verde on May 31, 2021
PVC was first created in the 1800s but wasn't patented until 1912. Today, you can find it in almost any product you can imagine from smartphones to bags to rainboots.
Because it is so prevalent, a lot of people don't take the time to think about this type of plastic or what happens after it's made.
What is PVC, and how it impacts the environment? Is PVC even safe to use?
To learn more about PVC, its effect on us and the environment, and what you should do next, keep reading below.
What Is PVC?
PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride, has many different uses. Currently, the use of PVC is prevalent in a wide variety of industries, from electronics to fashion.
The reason it's so widely used is that it is extremely versatile. PVC can be a thick, plastic pipe used when building a home, or it can be a thin, clear lining in the bottom of a shopping bag.
PVC can match any color or is available as transparent. Thus, industries use it because it's available, it's not that expensive, and it works.
In everyday use items, like household products or personal care items, manufacturers use PVC for water resistance.
Because it is so strong and lightweight, people have used it in different industries for decades now. However, we are realizing that it isn't the "miracle product" it seems to be.
PVC is a type of plastic, and as a result, it releases toxic chemicals throughout its entire lifecycle. From production to disposal, chlorine-based chemicals are released back into the environment causing extensive damage.
PVC is considered the most damaging to our Earth (and to our own health) of any plastic in existence.
Is PVC Bad for Our Health?
PVC harms human health, and it is especially dangerous for children. There is no safe way to manufacture, use, or dispose of PVC products. PVC is terrible for any human to be around, and yet, it is found all over the place.
PVC contains many different types of chemicals, like dioxins (the most toxic chemicals that the EPA has studied). It clearly was not designed or created with the impact it may have on humans or the environment in mind.
What Does BPA Mean?
You've likely heard of BPA before because it was banned in 2012 from infant formula packaging. You can find BPA in polycarbonate plastics, including PVC, that are often used to store food and beverages. It is also in epoxy resins, which are inside metal products that may also store food. It is an industrial-level chemical.
Some research shows that BPA can get into food or drinks from these polycarbonate plastic containers. There are known BPA health risks, including effects on the brain, prostate gland, and behavior of children.
How Does PVC Harm the Environment?
Because PVC can find its way into so many products, it's easy to imagine that all of the chemicals it contains hurt the Earth as they hurt us.
As we stated, PVC is constantly leaking toxins into the world as soon as it's made. Because it is plastic, it doesn't break down quickly either - these effects last for years and years past its disposal.
While many people are more concerned about the state of our planet than ever before, there are still products, like those that use PVC, that cause serious damage that isn't so obvious.
The negative effects are gradual, and they can take years to develop. This is part of what makes the potential damage so scary.
Recognizing Our Own Roles
Currently, disposable masks and hand sanitizers are being used around the globe to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using masks to protect others and keeping our hands clean with sanitizer is absolutely important and should continue for as long as necessary to keep others safe. Instead of stopping our use of these essential items, we should find other ways to minimize our use of plastic.
We must reduce our plastic waste at home, including the use of PVC products.
Are you interested in reducing your use of plastic and using products that benefit your health instead of harm it? If so, check out our article on reducing waste at home. It's not as hard as it might seem to be and involves making only small changes to your routine.
Protect Your Bodies and Your Earth
Our founder started DaCosta Verde with the idea that traditional lunch bags were outdated. She knew that a food-safe, recyclable lining would improve the modern lunch bag. Newer eco-friendly, sustainable lunch bags were possible, especially with health-friendly materials.
Therefore, our products are free of harmful chemicals, including PVC, BPA, PEVA, LEAD, or phthalates. Our eco-stylish lunch bags are designed with the health of people and the planet in mind.
Each of the bags we create is:
- Safe for food
- Free of toxins
- Free of PVC
- Sustainable for vegans
- Ethically made
If you'd like to learn more about our products and how you can buy more sustainably, check out our collection today.