Ban Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) in products for children under 12 years of age in Australia
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is the most environmentally damaging of all plastics and is a proven toxin to humans, as demonstrated by bans on its use and disposal in many countries, cities, and hospitals around the world. Yet, Australia falls many years behind the regulations of other developed nations needlessly exposing our children for generations to its persistent toxic effects.
PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout every phase of its lifecycle – during its production, use, and disposal – resulting in large quantities of carcinogenic, hormone disrupting and otherwise harmful chemicals contaminating our air, earth, water and food resources.
It is particularly dangerous for children who are coming into close physical contact with toys, lunch boxes and teethers made with PVC, and ingesting and inhaling these chemicals.
This petition has been started by Brisbane resident and founder of Biome Eco Stores, Tracey Bailey, who has a deep concern that industry and trade interests are favoured at the expense of the health of consumers and the environment. The risks are unacceptable given there are limited benefits to our society from PVC and the risks are entirely avoidable because safer alternatives exist.
As consumers we generally assume that because an item is for sale “it must be safe”. However, that is not the case and that is why we need the Government to help protect us by placing these restrictions.
PVC is a synthetic plastic used in many building materials, and consumer products including raincoats, shoes, lunch boxes, eating utensils, rubber ducks, dolls, building blocks, inflatable pool toys, bath books and dress ups. It is one of the most common plastics and is made using numerous chemicals including lead, cadmium, organotins, colourants, fire-retardants, mercury, anti-oxidants and phthalates.
There is no safe way to produce, use or dispose of PVC products.
Human use: PVC continues to ‘off-gas’ and release toxins throughout its life, particularly because the additives do not form a chemical bond and can migrate from the mixture (e.g. the ‘stickyness’ of old plastic is the plasticisers coming out of the mixture). Research shows when chemicals in PVC are ingested or inhaled it can cause serious effects to the reproductive system, liver, kidneys and blood. That is why one PVC plasticiser (DEHP) is already banned in Australia for some products used by children up to 3 years of age, but this is only one small part of the big picture.
Production: manufacturing PVC is extremely harmful to the people who work in the factory and live in the neighbouring community, polluting the air and groundwater with dioxins.
Disposal: PVC can not be safely disposed of nor recycled. Germany and others have banned this product from their dumps due to toxic chemicals leaching and contaminating the soil and groundwater, and worse if it is incinerated.
We Australians need to make a different choice that has no questions around safety. There are many products on the market that are safe alternatives such as natural rubber that comes from the Hevea Brasiliensis plant. Natural rubber is non-toxic to humans and biodegradable, as opposed to chemical plastics that can take over 450 years to decompose.
So why is Australia continuing to allow industry to expose all of us to chemicals that we know are highly toxic when there are safe alternatives? PVC can not be part of a safe and sustainable future.
Children under 12 years of age are particularly vulnerable.
Please help to protect the health of our children and future generations by signing this petition. Collectively we can influence change.
Today: Biome Eco Stores is counting on you
Biome Eco Stores needs your help with “Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC): Ban Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) in products for children under 12 years of age in Australia”. Join Biome Eco Stores and 391 supporters today.