Sustainability Initiatives

NDTV: “Parents, Take Note! Inflatable Pool Toys Can Put Your Kid at Cancer Risk”

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Summer is here and your kids can’t wait to dive into the pool. You’re all set and have probably already bought them new costumes, swimming gear and some pool toys to have fun with. But wait, if you’ve picked those common inflatable pool toys such as the beach balls and arm bands, here’s something you must know. Researchers from Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Germany have warned that inflatable pool toys may contain certain potentially hazardous substances that can put your child at the risk of cancer.


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NRDC: “NRDC and Scientists Urge CPSC to Finalize Phthalate Ban”

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Phthalatesdifficult to say, and bad for your health

Eventually, toxic chemicals are no longer tolerated by an increasingly informed public, retailers and product manufacturers, and regulators. In the meantime, however, they manage to do a lot of damage while those with vested interests muddy the scientific waters and defend the indefensible.


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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.

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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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:

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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Chemicals Recognised as Human Endocrine Disruptors by EU

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Newswise – In a historic development, four synthetic chemicals – DEHP, DIBP, DBP and BBP – have been identified as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) for human health.(1)

It means that for the first time, chemical substances have been included in the list of REACH substances of very high concern (2) because of equivalent concern of “endocrine disrupting” properties in humans.

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Johnson & Johnson to ditch harmful plastic

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NZ Herald – Cotton buds made by the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson will no longer have plastic handles to prevent toxic waste reaching waterways and seas.

Plastic cotton buds are the number one item of plastic, sewage-related debris found on beaches and rivers.

The switch to paper handles began on Monday, and the new products will be on shop shelves within the coming weeks. Johnson & Johnson said it will prevent tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic reaching the seas.

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Big Scary Words from PVC Fans Won’t Obfuscate the Truth

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Poor PVC pipe. It’s had a rough go of it lately. As more and more people learn about the toxic nature of this plastic product, they increasingly avoid having it in their homes. Major retailers are encouraging their vendors to stop using plastic in their packaging. And a National Institute of Health Tox Town report singles out this chemical for caution. From the report:

“You can be exposed to PVC by eating food or drinking water contaminated with it. At home, you can be exposed to PVC if you have PVC pipes, vinyl flooring, or other consumer products made with PVC. You can be exposed if your home has vinyl siding or if you are building or renovating your home. Exposure may occur through food packaging and containers or “shrink wrapped” packages.

“Exposure to PVC often includes exposure to phthalates, which are used to soften PVC and may have adverse health effects. Because of PVC’s heavy chlorine content, dioxins are released during the manufacturing, burning, or landfilling of PVC. Exposure to dioxins can cause reproductive, developmental, and other health problems, and at least one dioxin is classified as a carcinogen.”

But such is the plight of the Vinyl Institute – to convince people that PVC is safe. Top flak Richard Doyle has a piece in Real Clear Policy that uses scary words and phrases to attack Ductile Iron Pipe. It’s a shame, really, because when facts are on your side, you don’t need to obfuscate the issue as Doyle is trying to do.  You should be able to find good things to say about your product instead of coming up with bad things to say about your competition.

Fact: Ductile Iron Pipe is more durable, more resilient, and a more trustworthy product. PVC is not an acceptable alternative to Ductile Iron Pipe.

Fact: Ductile Iron Pipe costs less in the long run.  Its durability and resilience make it the right choice for the long service lives that utilities want and need from their pipelines.

Fact: It costs less to pump water through Ductile Iron Pipe than through PVC pipe, which is a savings in energy, and a savings in dollars.

At the rate the Vinyl Institute is going, they’re going to be on Santa’s naughty list for years to come for spreading bad information in an effort to mislead consumers.