Our nation’s schools are in trouble – and this time, it’s not the test scores.
No, this time it is the toxic chemicals lurking in schools that leave children too sick to learn. Many schools around the country are literally made out of an emerging toxic plastic of concern, polyvinyl chloride (a.k.a. PVC or vinyl). This volatile vinyl is permeating our schools, from vinyl flooring, to computers, to vinyl backpacks and other school supplies.
Two years ago Congress passed legislation banning phthalates in children's toys. While phthalates have been banned from PVC toys, they're still widespread in PVC products like flooring used in schools.
In recent years, a number of studies have found a relationship between the phthalates released by PVC building supplies and asthma in children and adults. With over 7 million children suffering from asthma which, incidentally, is the leading cause of school absenteeism, our vinyl schools endanger students' health.
Dioxin, lead and mercury are all chemicals released by the PVC lifecycle that have been linked to learning and developmental disabilities in young children. With one in six children suffering from learning disabilities, schools must be kept free of these toxins so that children can learn.
Thankfully, there is hope as it IS EASY to find alternatives to PVC. The Center for Health, Environment & Justice has just put out a brand new interactive website – This Vinyl School - to uncover all the sources of vinyl in our schools – and suggest safer alternatives. A few simple changes will protect students' health, and ability to learn.
At This Vinyl School – http://www.chej.org/thisvinylschool , you can click through a virtual animated school to identify where this dangerous plastic is hiding and find healthier products.