Sunday, 25 November 2007

Schwarzenegger Bans PVC Additive In Toys

"To protect the health of our state's children," California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation on October 14, 2007 prohibiting the use of phthalates in childcare products designed for babies and children under three years of age. Phthalates are used as plasticizers to soften polyvinyl chloride plastic, also known as PVC or vinyl, including a wide range of building products such as vinyl flooring, wall covering and upholstery.

Phthalate plasticizers are not chemically bound to PVC. They have been found to leach, migrate or evaporate into indoor air and atmosphere, foodstuff, IV solutions and other materials, etc. Consumer products containing phthalates can result in human exposure through direct contact and use, indirectly through leaching into other products, or general environmental contamination. Humans are exposed through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal exposure during their whole lifetime, starting in the womb.

Phthalates come in many different formulas. Most haven't been tested or examined at all for human health impacts. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has noted that one phthalate formula common to certain building materials -- DINP -- is a mixture of up to 100 chemical variants, of which only five have been minimally studies. Others have been found to pose a risk of serious negative health impacts at very low doses.

Phthalates have been shown to have negative effects on human health including, interference with the natural functioning of the hormone system, reproductive and genital defects. Phthalates may lower sperm count and are associated with the risk factors for testicular cancer, as well as early onset of puberty and premature birth.
Phthalates have been found in high quantities in studies of household dust. Other studies have documented links between childhood asthma and phthalate exposure from vinyl flooring. Because phthalates are not a volatile organic compound (VOC), however, they are usually not accounted for by indoor air quality standards such as those used to certify green building materials. California now joins the EU in restricting the use of phthalates in the use of children's products, and many other US states are expected to take up legislation similar to that signed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Like the human carcinogens vinyl chloride and dioxin, phthalates are uniquely associated with PVC. It is this triple threat from PVC that distinguishes it as the worst plastic for environmental health and green building. Regrettably, there are still few restrictions on the use of vinyl in green buildings.
Source: Healthy Building News

Maybe he should be looking at other uses of PVC such as food storage and water pipes
The precautionary principle would tell us to avoid risky things like this till they can be proved safe. Our government is so obsessed by keeping industry happy, that any such action isn't going to happen till it is proved dangerous. So profits come before peoples safety.

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