New York State's Parent-Teacher Association is the latest group to promote a PVC-free zone for schools. The PTA passed a resolution at its annual convention in November urging school districts to choose products without polyvinyl chloride.
Vinyl chloride gas used to make PVC is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a "known human carcinogen" or cancer-causing agent. Other ingredients such as phthalates and volatile organic compounds are a concern even after PVC is made. Although high levels of phthalates are supposed to be phased out of toys per federal law, they can still be present in many other PVC products in schools, from building materials to notebooks. Concerns about PVC from manufacture to use to disposal are what make it a prime health topic at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.
The PTA resolution
recognizes, "Whereas safe, cost-effective alternatives to PVC products are readily available for schools to purchase and use, and the US Green Building Council provides incentives for schools to avoid PVC and phthalates in 'green schools...'" The organization supports education for parents about potential health hazards and asks the National PTA to consider adopting an anti-PVC stance. The New York State Teachers Union and American Public Health Association have passed similar resolutions.
If you want to learn more about phasing out PVC in your school, business or home, you can find several resources at the CHE&J website
CH&J is one of many groups supporting the Safe Chemicals Act
to ensure that substances like PVC are tested for long-term safety before they become ubiquitous in consumer products.