Monthly Archives: March 2017

South Coast Herald: Know Your Plastics to Help Avoid Health Pitfalls

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Many consumers are unaware that lots of plastics, which are used to manufacture everything from water bottles to foam drinking cups, are potentially deadly for both people and the planet.

YOU’RE feeling rather smug as you chug another gulp of water from your trusty old plastic water bottle, which is still in service a month since you bought it. Helping your body and the planet, right? Wrong.

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Another Retailer Phases Out PVC

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Good news in New Zealand where Johnson & Johnson announced that it is phasing out PVC due to the harmful effects it has on the environment. The company said they will replace the plastic handles on cotton buds “to prevent toxic waste reaching waterways and seas.” An article on the news noted that, “Plastic cotton buds are the number one item of plastic, sewage-related debris found on beaches and rivers.”

New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment applauded the decision. In a statement, the Ministry said:

“Recently the government announced consultation to regulate the manufacture and sale of plastic microbeads in personal care products in New Zealand because of the harm they cause when released into aquatic environments. Johnson & Johnson’s decision to remove PVC from its products is a great example of industry actively responding to a global issue without the need for regulation and we are very supportive of this.”

Elsewhere in the world, the European Union identified four chemicals known as phthalates as “endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) for human health.” The announcement noted that “phthalates are used as plasticisers in various products – from vinyl flooring to footballs and from wiring to shower curtains. Some of these products are made from recycled PVC, in which DEHP, one of the endocrine disruptors, has been authorised for use.” Denmark has been “calling for proper regulation of these “phthalates since 2011” and wants the chemicals banned in consumer products, including imports.

Study: Phthalate exposure during early pregnancy can alter hormone levels in developing fetuses

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News Medical Life Sciences – Exposure during early pregnancy to some phthalates—man-made chemicals commonly found in household plastics, food and personal care products—can have adverse impacts on developing fetuses, according to a new study led by Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, a pediatric environmental health specialist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and associate professor at the University of Washington. The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found that increases in exposure to certain phthalates during the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with higher estrogen concentrations and lower testosterone concentrations in the fetus, thus increasing the chance of a genital abnormality in male babies at birth.

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EuPC Establishes Independent Vinyl Film and Sheet Association

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British Plastics & Rubber – The new association, known as ‘Vinyl Films and Sheets Europe’ (VSFE), aims to drive common action tackling environment and recycling issues and carry out studies relating to the industry. …The new group will collaborate closely with VinylPlus, the sustainable development programme of the European PVC industry and is open to all companies active in the vinyl films and sheets business in Europe.

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13 Everyday Products That Are Ruining Your Skin

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Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet – Much like the thermal receipts, BPA from plastic containers can be absorbed through skin, as well as consumed through food and drink,” Seth B. Forman, MD, at Forman Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute in Tampa, Florida, said in an interview with The Cheat Sheet. “Examples of plastics contaminating food have been reported with most plastic types, including styrene from polystyrene, plasticizers from PVC, antioxidants from polyethylene, and acetaldehyde.” While this is undoubtedly scary, especially when you think about all of the edible items you consume from various forms of plastic, contamination can easily be avoided by using glass containers instead of plastic to store your food and beverages.

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Sustainable Furnishings Council and Partners Launch The “What’s it made of?” Initiative

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Furniture Today – Five leaders in a growing movement to encourage the elimination of harmful chemical inputs to consumer products, have come together for an initiative that will encourage the elimination of dangerous substances common in furnishings products. The “What’s it made of?” Initiative will launch with a webinar taking place on March 16, 2017 at noon Eastern. The webinar is free and registration is at the Sustainable Furnishings Council website: https://sustainablefurnishings.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=312

As it launches, the Initiative consists of a simple Pledge to ASK, and an online tool to support signatories to the pledge in seeking assurance that their suppliers are fully disclosing information on production inputs. The partners plan to expand their efforts with seminars and training sessions within the industry and with consumer outreach.

The chemicals of concern most common in furnishings products present well-known problems:

4) Polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC or simply as vinyl, is used in rigid and pliable forms. The rigid form is commonly used in outdoor furniture construction. The more pliable form, created with the addition of phthalates, is used in upholstery fabrics, imitation leather, inflatable products such as stow-away mattresses, etc. The production and combustion of PVC emits dioxins, a potent carcinogen which is linked to impairment of the immune system, the developing nervous system, the endocrine system and reproductive functions, and when it is made pliable with phthalates these dangers are increased.

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PVC Pipe Break: Spokane Valley, Washington

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The Northwest part of the country is known for harsh weather conditions, requiring the use of water pipe that can withstand sudden change in temperatures and a varying climate. Unfortunately for homeowners in Spokane Valley, their plastic PVC pipe weren’t up to the task and a water main “ruptured … leaving multiple residents without water for several hours.” A spokesman for the local fire department said the cause “could be weather-related,” commenting that, “It could have been the constant cold and thawing, cold and thawing.”