When you’re choosing a childrens rain coat be sure to only buy garments that are 100 per cent PVC-free. PVC, or Polyvinyl chloride to give it its full name, is a vinyl polymer plastic that is widely used in construction and many other areas because it is cheap to produce, very durable and easily worked. However it can be extremely harmful to humans and the environment.
PVC is made softer and more flexible using the addition of plasticisers or dispersants, the most widely used of these being phthalates. In this form PVC is used in clothing and upholstery, among other applications in which it replaces rubber.
PVC has become widely used in clothing, to create either a leather-look material or because it is waterproof. It is also cheaper than rubber, leather, and latex and so it is more widely used. It is commonly used in raincoats, skiing and outdoor equipment, shoes and boots, aprons, and bags, because of its waterproof properties.
Unfortunately the phthalate plasticiser chemicals that must be added to PVC to make it flexible enough for use in clothing are additives that pose particular concern for the health and safety of children and adults alike.
Phthalates mimic human hormones and affect many life forms adversely. Children can be put particularly at risk from phthalates and other toxic chemicals in PVC, as their bodies and brains are still developing.
Their behaviour and metabolism make kids more vulnerable to harm from toxic chemicals, such as those released by the PVC lifecycle, including dioxins, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium, and organotins, as well as phthalates.
PVC contains all of these toxins and it is the most toxic plastic for our health and environment. No other plastic contains or releases as many dangerous chemicals and unfortunately there is no completely safe way to manufacture, use or dispose of PVC products.
PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout its entire lifecycle. From its production, to use, and eventually disposal it can cause harm from the toxins it contains and releases. Few consumers actually realise that PVC is the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics, although more and more people are starting to become aware of the problem.
The good news is that safer alternatives are actually available for virtually all uses of PVC, so it is possible to protect human health and the environment by replacing and eventually phasing out this toxic material.
If consumers increasingly demand PVC-free products, and the general public is made more aware of the environmental and health costs of PVC, practical alternatives will become more and more economically viable. So you can start now by only buying PVC-free raincoats for your kids.
Some manufacturers are already aware of the dangers of PVC and have made a conscious effort to ban it from their products. If consumers start to support these manufacturers and buy only their PVC-free products it is a good way to encourage other brands to follow suit.
Hatley is one such brand that makes sure that all of its childrens raincoats are 100 per cent PVC-free. They make the shells from polyurethane instead, which is completely waterproof but safe for children and the environment. Hatley raincoats are not only PVC-free but they are well-designed, lined with a soft comfortable terry-lining and kids love them!