IS VINYL SAFE FOR ME, MY FAMILY AND THE PLANET?
Vinyl is non-toxic. It has been extensively tested and used for decades, and numerous government agencies have confirmed its safety. Government agencies and certifying bodies that clear the use of vinyl or vinyl components include U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Fire Protection Association, American National Standards Institute/National Sanitation Foundation and the European Commission.
Vinyl is inherently recyclable. More than 1 billion pounds are recycled annually (mostly post-industrial). Many carpet manufacturers using PVC backing have highly successful recycling programs. The Vinyl Institute recently won an award from WasteCap Wisconsin for support for recycling vinyl siding cutoffs at job sites.
Vinyl is not a major source of dioxin in the environment. Levels of PVC in the environment are so small that levels in the environment would be essentially unchanged even if vinyl were not being manufactured and used every day in important products. In fact, dioxin levels in the environment have been declining for decades, even as production and use of vinyl have soared.
Vinyl does not expose production workers, community members or end use consumers to dangerous levels of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). In fact, during the last 40 years, a time period in which production levels of vinyl have soared, there have been no cases of the rare liver cancer linked to high exposure to VCM in industry workers hired after 1971 in the U.S. or European vinyl manufacturing industry.
Vinyl is a material with a favorable life cycle analysis. Its impacts on the environment are comparable to or lower than most alternatives. A 2004 study of environmental life-cycle analyses (LCAs) of PVC and competing building materials by the European Commission (EC) found that vinyl offers environmental benefits equal to or better than those of other materials in many applications.
Vinyl contains chlorine — a remarkable element that makes much of modern life possible. The eleventh most abundant element in the earth’s crust, chlorine is essential to both plant and animal life. The target of unfounded attacks, chlorine is derived from salt, is critical to water disinfection (that Life magazine hailed as “the greatest advancement in public health in the past millennium”) and is critical to the production of 90% of our medicines.