Saturday, May 19, 2012

I Wonder What Number Plasticman Was...

TLC Home posted a great and handy guide here to knowing your plastic by number.  Today we threw out an old plastic Iced Tea maker with the dreaded #7 on it.  Instead we used a giant applesauce jar (thanks Mom) to make our Lime tea in. 

I've been learning a lot about plastics these days and I will continue to post my findings as I go along.

I'll discuss #7s, polycarbonate and BPA later, but today I want to talk about our #3 recycling no. plastic, PVC (polyvinyl chloride).  PVC has been really getting me mad these days.  It is a bad plastic, that is as bad for you as it is for the environment.  As quoted from TLC's home "Soft PVC often contains and can leach toxic phthalates, and can also off-gas chemicals into the air. It's used in some cling wraps (yikes!), many children's toys, fashion accessories, shower curtains, and detergent and spray bottles. To top it off, PVC isn't recyclable, either."

Now there is a lot of emphasis on "phthalate-free pvc" in children's toys.  But from what I've discovered and learned from my trustworthy sources is that although it may be better, it's still not the best choice.  And therefore, I don't want it in my home, no matter what.  What I also would like to point out here is that I am still making mistakes.  Today we are expecting a dining room set.  The chairs are "leatherette."  What was I thinking?  As I'm trying to de-tox my home, I'm purchasing more toxins.  I'm not quite sure what to do when the chairs get here.  But I can honestly say that yes, I made a mistake when I ordered them, I'm too tired and busy these days to remember to cancel things when I have the chance and now I may just need to refuse delivery - as much as I really want the gorgeous solid wood table!

The toxins that can be leached from vinyl include mercury, lead and cancer-causing dioxin.  Chlorine derived wastes and generated throughout its life and released into the environment.  PVC is truly a bad, bad plastic!

So why is PVC used?  Well, for one it is cheap and for another, it is easily manipulated. The phthalates added are the plasticizers that soften it.  Amazing how soft those toys are without the phthalates though, aren't they?

These days we found some nice PVC-free options for our little one in the bathtub.  Green Sprouts makes a great tug boat toy.  Our son now fills it with water and dumps it on me to rinse me off.  Boon makes some super cute rubber duckies; Skip Hop's Moby the Whale fits nicely and looks super cute on our tub's faucet; and Sassy has removed PVC from some of their tub and squirter toys - although squirters do grow mildew inside, so that's another thing you might want to consider.

We currently have glass doors on our tub and use a rubber mat, but I have heard about new shower curtains made of PEVA, which is supposed to be a non-toxic alternative.   I don't know too much about it and although the glass door are a pain to clean, I'm kind of glad we have them right now.

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