Vinyl Products Expose Children to Toxic Additives

Consumer Product Safety Commission Should Recall Vinyl Plastic Products

Media release - June 15, 2001
Based on a hazard assessment report released today by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and findings following new testing of vinyl home furnishings and childcare products, Greenpeace is calling for the phase-out of PVC in consumer products.

The CPSC report states that "there may be a risk of health effects from DINP exposure for any young children who routinely mouth DINP-plasticized toys for 75 minutes/day or more." In addition Greenpeace had a wide variety of PVC products tested from around the world, finding significant amounts of DINP, as high as 33%.

The CPSC report released today was conducted because of a 1997 Greenpeace report exposing chemical phthalate DINP in children's toys. At that time, Greenpeace called on the CPSC to ban PVC toys. One June 6th, Greenpeace petitioned CPSC to recall vinyl home products.

"The health and safety of children should be paramount and in the case of uncertainty, the CPSC should err on the side of children, not chemicals." said Dr. Mary Elizabeth Harmon, Greenpeace staff scientist.

The new Greenpeace testing results found a range of toxic additives in products from vinyl mattress pads to vinyl flooring. The results demonstrate that due to the wide variety of additive-laden vinyl products in a home, a family is exposed daily to multiple sources that exceed the exposure from any single product.

The Greenpeace testing was conducted by independent laboratories in the US and Germany. Fifty-four products from 20 countries were analyzed and a range of additives were found, primarily phthalates and organotins, but also lead, cadmium and bisphenol A.

The chemicals found in the products are highly toxic. Some phthalates cause liver cancer, kidney damage and reproductive system impairment in animals. Organotins cause immune and reproductive damage in animals. Some of the products tested contained bisphenol A, a chemical that interferes with the hormone system.

Name brands tested include: Gerber, Carter's, Graco, Armstrong and Mannington.