What can consumers do to help with dangerous PVC?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,408
    Michael Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice discusses what consumers can do to help with dangerous PVC.

    Host: What can consumers do to help with dangerous PVC?

    Michael Schade: So one of the big problems with PVC is that there is no safe way to dispose off it. If you burn it in an incinerator or if you dump it in a landfill, it can leach out toxic chemicals that our harmful to communities nearby. Interestingly also there, you can't even recycle it and when you try to recycle a vinyl plastic, it can actually contaminate and ruin other recyclable plastics. So for instance, one PVC bottle can contaminate and ruin a load of 100,000 recyclable bottles. Just one PVC bottle can ruin 100,000 recyclable bottles and that is because the additives such as the Phthalates and the heavy metals that are used in the vinyl packaging can leach out and contaminate the other recyclable plastics. The good news is that consumers can take action to protect their health. So one of the easiest things that we can do is to avoid vinyl packaging. Avoid products that are made out of or packaged in PVC. PVC plastic products and packaging have the number 3 inside or underneath the recycling symbol. So just remember the saying, bad news comes in threes, don't buy PVC. There are other steps that folks can take. So for instance, if you have PVC products in your home, one of the things we encourage folks to do is to return it or mail it back to the manufacturer or retailer where you purchased it from and let them know that as a consumer, that you are concerned about the health effects of these chemicals. Consumers have enormous power to change the market. Just in the past couple of years, we have convinced three of the six largest retailers in the United States, Walmart, Target, Sears to get PVC out of their products and packaging and we couldn't have done that without the help of thousands of consumers.

    Videos in this Series