Major public health group takes aim at PVC

The American Public Health Association (APHA) last week unanimously passed a resolution urging reduced use of polyvinyl chloride in facilities such as hospitals and schools.

The 10-page resolution listed a number of studies indicating problems with PVC and was the latest and strongest move by the association against PVC.

Vinyl Institute spokesman Allen Blakey told PlasticsToday.com in an interview that the APHA actions are based on old information that no longer applies and disregards the benefits of vinyl in medical and other markets. The resolution, for example, listed lead and cadmimum as additives in PVC. They are no longer used, Blakey said.

The APHA resolution is strongly worded. "Despite its ubiquity in the marketplace, the public remains largely unaware of the public health and environmental risks posed by PVC at all stages of its lifecycle (from production to disposal," APHA said in its resolution.

The resolution:

1.  Urges local, state and federal governments to educate administrators, purchasing staff, employees, parents and care-givers about PVC hazards and safer alternatives in schools, daycare centers, medical care facilities, nursing homes, public housing, facilities for special needs and the disabled, and other facilities with vulnerable populations;

2.  Urges state and federal governments to consider requiring labeling of PVC used in products, and consider requiring product manufacturers that sell PVC products to schools, daycare centers, medical care facilities, nursing homes, public housing, facilities for special needs and the disabled, and other facilities with vulnerable populations to notify purchasers of the amount of PVC and the specific chemical name of additives used in individual products;

3.  Urges state and federal governments to consider providing financial incentives for schools, daycare centers, medical care facilities, nursing homes, public housing, facilities for special needs and the disabled, and other facilities with vulnerable populations for the development, purchase and use of safer alternatives to PVC in schools;

4.  Urges local, state and federal governments and decision-makers to consider phasing out the use and purchase of flexible PVC in building materials, consumer products and office suppliers in schools, daycare centers, medical care facilities, nursing homes, public housing, facilities for special needs and the disabled, and other facilities with vulnerable populations when cost effective alternatives are available;

5.  Urges state and federal governments, in enacting such phase-outs, to consider policies that alleviate short-term economic impacts on the PVC production workforce, and to also consider economic benefits to workers in industries making safer alternatives; and

6.  Urges the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and other federal agencies to research the link between asthma and other health impacts, and exposure to phthalates and other additives released from PVC products.

 

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