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Vinyl: The Poison Plastic


Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is the most toxic plastic for our health and the environment. For more than 30 years, leading health, environmental justice, and health-impacted organizations across the country and world have been campaigning to phase out this poison plastic.

During its lifecycle — from production to use to disposal — vinyl releases some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet that have been linked to cancer, birth defects and other serious chronic diseases. The production of vinyl has poisoned and contaminated workers and fenceline communities in places like Cancer Alley Louisiana and Texas. PVC production releases dangerous pollutants including vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, mercury, dioxins and furans, and PCBs.

Vinyl plastic products expose children and all of us to harmful chemical additives such as phthalates, lead, cadmium and organotins — all substances of very high concern. The disposal of PVC waste in landfills and incinerators release dioxins and furans, which are chemicals that have been targeted for international phase-out by over 170 nations around the world. When PVC burns in accidental fires, dioxin and other dangerous chemicals are released posing deadly hazards to building occupants and firefighters.

In sum, there is no safe way to manufacture, use or dispose of this highly hazardous plastic.

For the latest news and to get involved, visit the Center for Health Environment and Justice PVC-Free Campaign.


Blue Vinyl: A Toxic Comedy — Sundance award-winning and Emmy nominated film by Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold

Three minute video, Sam Suds and the Case of PVC: The Poison Plastic

Trade Secrets — Bill Moyers' PBS expose about vinyl plastic


In response to vinyl's toxic lifecycle, many of the world's largest Fortune 500 companies have adopted cutting-edge policies to phase out and eliminate its use. From big box retailers such as Target, Ikea and H&M, to electronics firms HP and Apple, to healthcare institutions such as Kaiser Permanente and auto manufacturers Volkswagen and Honda, there is a major global market movement away from PVC. See the factsheet, PVC Policies Around the World.

Fact Sheets

Our Health and PVC: What's the Connection?

PVC: Bad News Comes in 3's


Breast Cancer Fund on Phthalates

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics on Phthalates

CHEJ Blog Posts on Phthalates

NRDC Fact Sheet on Phthalates

Environmental Justice

PVC and Environmental Justice

PVC in Building Materials

PVC Flooring and Toxic Cleaning Products

Toxic Chemicals in Building Materials: An Overview for Health Care Organizations

PVC in Electronics

Why PVC Should Be Phased Out of Electronic Devices

PVC in Medical Devices and Hospitals

DEHP Exposures During the Medical Care of Infants: A Cause for Concern

Dioxin, PVC and Health Care

Health Care Institutions Moving Away from PVC and DEHP

Why Health Care Is Moving Away From PVC

The Weight of the Evidence on DEHP: Exposures Are a Cause for Concern, Especially During Medical Care

PVC in Schools

From Cancer Alley to Your University: Environmental Injustice and the Campaign for PVC-free Schools

PVC, the Poison Plastic – Unhealthy for Our Nation's Children and Schools

Top Ten Reasons Your School Should Go PVC-free

Reports and Resources on the Hazards of PVC

Affidavit of the NY Attorney General's toxicologist on the hazards of PVC

Aggregate Exposure to Phthalates

APHA Resolution: Reducing PVC in Facilities With Vulnerable Populations

Birds of Prey

Blue Vinyl

The Burning Question – Chlorine and Dioxin

Chlorine, Combustion and Dioxin

Deceit and Denial

Environmental Impacts of PVC Building Materials

EPA Phthalates Action Plan

Greening Consumer Electronics

Hidden Hazards: Toxic Chemicals Inside Children's Vinyl Back-to-School Supplies

Industrial Sources of Dioxin Poisoning in Mossville, Louisiana

Is It In Us

Message in a Bottle: The Impacts of PVC on Plastic Recycling

PVC: Bad News Comes in 3's

Sick of Dust

Toxic Transformers – A Review of the Hazards of Brominated and Chlorinated Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Toxic Toys R Us: PVC Toxic Chemicals in Toys and Packaging

Toxic Threads

Trade Secrets

Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain's Chemical Smell

Finding Safer Alternatives to Vinyl and Phthalates

Alternatives to PVC and DEHP in Healthcare

Back to School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies

CHEJ Guide to PVC-free School Office Supplies and Building Materials

CHEJ Resource Page on Alternatives to Vinyl

Economics of Phasing Out PVC

Green Building Alternatives to Polyvinyl Chloride: Building Materials for Health Care

Greening Consumer Electronics

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics

GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals

The Guide to Safer Chemicals

Healthy Business Strategies on Transforming the Toxic Chemical Economy

Pass Up the Poison Plastic: the PVC-free Guide for Your Family and Home

Pharos Project

PVC-Free Alternatives Database

PVC-Free Pipe Purchasers' Report

PVC Medical Devices Containing DEHP: Guidelines for an Audit

PVC Policies Around the World

Resilient Flooring & Chemical Hazards: A Comparative Analysis of Vinyl and Other Alternatives for Health Care

This Vinyl School

Organizations and Resources to Learn More

Blue Vinyl

Breast Cancer Fund

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Center for Health, Environment & Justice

Clean Production Action

Deceit and Denial

Electronics TakeBack Coalition


Health Care Without Harm

The Healthy Building Network

My House Is Your House

Sam Suds and the Case of PVC, the Poison Plastic