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E-M:/ Report finds dangers from vinyl in homes



------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Mary Beth Doyle -------------------------------------------------------------------------


REPORT UNCOVERS HIDDEN DANGERS IN THE HOME
Children Exposed to Hazardous, Untested Chemicals

June 7, 2001

For more information:
Mary Beth Doyle, Ecology Center, 734-663-2400 ext 108
Gary Skulnik, Greenpeace Media Officer 202-319-2492 or 202-549-3212 (cell)


Greenpeace and the Ecology Center co-released a report today that shows children are being needlessly exposed to hazardous and inadequately tested chemicals found in vinyl plastic childcare products and home furnishings. Independent laboratories analyzed items for Greenpeace, from vinyl mattress pads to vinyl flooring, and found a range of additives, primarily phthalates and organotins, but also lead, cadmium and bisphenol A. Name brands tested include: Gerber, Carter's, Graco, Armstrong and Mannington.

The chemicals found in the products have been shown to cause a variety of adverse health effects. Some phthalates cause liver cancer, kidney damage and reproductive system impairment in animals. Organotins cause reproductive and developmental damage in animals and nervous and respiratory problems in humans. Concern about vinyl additives has led toy manufacturers voluntarily remove some additives from teething rings, as well as to market PVC-free teething rings.

"This report shows that we are not doing enough to protect our children from vinyl additives," said Mary Beth Doyle of the Ecology Center. "Children are naturally inquisitive. To a small child, everything is a teething ring."


Most chemicals remain untested, meaning parents can't be sure whether these products are harmful to their children. "We should not gamble with the health of children," said Mary-Elizabeth Harmon, Ph.D., Greenpeace Toxics Campaign Scientist. "There are cheap, safer alternative products readily available to consumers."

Among other findings in the Greenpeace study:
o Several products contained the phthalate, DEHP, a probable human carcinogen according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 1986, the Toy Manufacturers of America and the CSPC agreed upon a voluntary limit of 3% DEHP in teething toys.
o P roduct testing showed that the phthalate DINP continues to be used in children's products at levels up to 33% by weight. In 1999, the CPSC requested toy makers voluntarily eliminate DINP in teething toys.
o A majority of the products contain a group of metals called organotins. Some of the highest levels of organotins were found in vinyl floor tiles, where small children can spend a lot of time crawling and playing.

Greenpeace also recently unveiled an international on line database of PVC free products for the building industry and do it yourselfers. The database features over 200 products of companies in 17 countries. www.greenpeace.org.au/pvc/. Consumers can also log onto a virtual house to find out more about PVC in the home and how to avoid it. www.greenpeaceusa.org/toxics/house.htm
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Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
Environmental Health Project
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor MI 48104

734-663-2400 ext 108
734-663-2414 (fax)




Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
Environmental Health Project
Ecology Center
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor MI 48104

734-663-2400 ext 108
734-663-2414 (fax)


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