An Evaluation of the Hazards of Toys and other Products made from Polyvinyl Chloride
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An Evaluation of the Hazards of Toys and other Products made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
In Print;  personal communications:  reproduced in full or in part on this website: 
               Technical references  |  Lead  |  Phthalates  |  Other
October, 2005 
Important Update: Comparing the safety of all materials used for food and water

PVC Home Page

Summary & conclusions

Lead in PVC
(What is vinyl plastic?)

Phthalate Plasticizers

Other hazards

July, 2002: Recent questions from our email inbox
Also - we get 
mail from a vinyl industry spokesperson.

Authorship of this material

Links to documents:
Additional topics & reports on this website

Easy-to-print version of this report (26 sec @ 28k) 

PVC Technical references
E.D. Owen, ed. Degradation & Stabilization of PVC  Elsevier, London 1984

N. Grassie, G. Scott Polymer Degradation & Stabilization.   Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge 1985
        "[Dehydrochlorination thermal degradation] reaction occurs so readily, that it has been said that if poly(vinyl) chloride had not been discovered until the present time it would have been discarded after preliminary assessment as unsuitable for commercial development in competition with existing materials." 

W. Tötsch, H.Gaensslen Polyvinylchloride: Environmental Aspects of a Common Plastic. Elsevier, London  1990

Matthews, George  PVC: Production, Properties, and Uses. The Institute of Materials 1996 ISBN 0 901716 59 6 University Press, Cambridge

M. Sittig, Ed. Vinyl Chloride and PVC Manufacture: Process and Environmental Aspects. Noyes Data Corp., Park Ridge, NJ  1978

Dr. Russell Composto, School of Engineering and Materials Science, University of Pennsylvania:  Private communication.

Lead Toxicity
Deborah A. Cory-Slechta, Joel G. Pounds  Lead Neurotoxicity  in   L.W. Chang, R.S. Dyer, ed., Handbook of Neurotoxicology.  Marcel Dekker, Inc  New York 1995

Dr. Deborah A. Corey Slechta,  Department of Environmental Medicine, Univ. of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY:  Private Communication.

Findings of Lead in PVC toys:

Environ Corp. comments on the original Greenpeace Lead/Cadmium study

CPSC Replication of Greenpeace Lead/Cadmium study

Lead intoxication associated with chewing plastic wire coating.  Kelley, M., Watson, P., Thorton, D., and Halpin, T. J.  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 42:465-467. 1993

LIST OF INFANT TOYS (INCLUDING TEETHERS) MADE FROM PVC, AND TOYS MADE FROM OTHER PLASTICS   (Compiled by Greenpeace in 1997.  This list may be out-of-date.   Inclusion in this list does not indicate whether or not any specific toy contains lead or cadmium)

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Ganning A.E., Brunk U., Dallner J. (1984)  Phthalate Esters and their Effect on the Liver.  Hepatology V4 No 3, Pp 541-547

B. Roth and others, "Di-(2-ethylhexyl)-pththalate as plasticizer in PVC respiratory tubing systems: indications of hazardous effects on pulmonary function in mechanically ventilated, preterm infants," EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS Vol. 147 (1988), pgs. 41-46.

Jacobson M.S., Kevy S.V., Grand R.J. (1977) Effects of Plasticizer leached from polyvinyl chloride on the subhuman primate: a consequence of chronic transfusion therapy.  J. Lab. Clin. Med., 89: 1066-1079 [Applicability of rhesus monkey data to humans is established;  after 1 year chronic infusion with PVC blood bags, clear signs of change in liver function and cell damage in rhesus monkey are seen]


Dutch Government study attempts to replicate and quantify infant exposure to Phthalates from teething toys

(U.S.) EPA Fact sheet on DEHP in Drinking Water

Vinyl Industry response to evaluations of Phthalate toxicity


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Other Topics

Most recent list of toys made with PVC (March 1999)

Update, Jan. '99:
Lead, Cadmium, Phthalates still found in Children's Products

Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) Drinking Water Fact Sheet (U.S. EPA report)


VARIOUS REACTIONS TO THE GREENPEACE STUDIES ON PVC TOYS: NIKE'S OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT, MORE ACTION IN EUROPE. Comment by scientists and health professionals; response from the toy industry and the Consumer Product Safety Commisssion;  rebuttals by the Environmental Quality Institute (Testing lab) and Greenpeace; letter to V.P. Al Gore, signed by over 20 health professionals; Austria bans PVC toys; Nike eliminates PVC from products and plant construction. 

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