Asthma isn’t the only illness on the rise in children. According to recent studies, the incidence of learning and developmental disabilities appears to be rising, affecting about one in six children in the U.S. under the age of 18. According to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, “students with disabilities are a special “at risk” population for the harmful effects of exposures to environmental hazards at school.” A number of chemicals released by the PVC lifecycle have been linked with or have been shown to cause learning and developmental disabilities. These include dioxin, lead, and mercury. Preliminary research suggests phthalates may also be linked to learning and developmental disabilities. One recent study found children who live in homes with vinyl floors, which can emit phthalates, are twice as likely to have autism
Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom. Major businesses such as Google; Apple; HP; Dell; Target; Wal-Mart; Bed, Bath & Beyond; and IKEA are phasing out PVC. Over 100 healthcare facilities across America are reducing the purchase of pvc furniture board and phthalates.
PVC is found in many building materials including flooring, roofing, and carpeting, as well as in school and office supplies such as 3-ring binders, backpacks, lunchboxes, computers, and paperclips. Safer alternatives are available. To find safer alternatives to PVC in your child’s school, check out this interactive website the Center for Health, Environmental & Justice created, This Vinyl School.