Are Your Plastic Products Poisonous?

It’s all around us. It’s in our homes, toys and cars.

It is a seemingly indispensable material that could be deadly, especially when it burns.

Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC, is called the “poison plastic” by many experts.

It burns fast and spews poison, according to experts.

10News investigators asked San Diego fire officials to help demonstrate the danger of burning PVC.

“Take a few breaths of super-heated gas and it will knock you out, if not kill you, right on the spot,” one fire official told 10News.

When PVC burns, it produces something even more dangerous to people and the environment -- dioxins.

“That is supposed to be one of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind,” said San Diego State University environmental chemist Dr. Liang-Hong Chang.

Chang said the dioxins wind up in our water and food supply and build up in our bodies.

“Dioxins, in very low amounts, are known to cause reproductive harm, cancer and liver damage,” said Chang.

The dioxins could also be very harmful to children, according to Chang, as there is no known safe dose for dioxin.

“The dioxins could cause reproductive harm to children. They could cause developmental harm, so that is something I am definitely concerned about,” said Chang.

The problems with PVC don’t stop when the fire is put out.

According to research, 30 million tons of plastic are manufactured each year.

Many of the plastic materials are at home improvement stores, where 10News investigators found rows of PVC pipes in all shapes and sizes.

PVC is also found in window treatments and fences. It’s even in medical supplies and in car interiors for the “new car smell.”

10News found that toys and baby products contain PVC.

San Diego’s Environmental Health Coalition said products with PVC could leak toxic chemicals.

10News investigators go shopping with Jeri Parks with Environment California, who is an expectant mother and also a nurse practitioner.

“We need to take precautions. I know no parent wants to play dice with children’s health,” said Parks.

Parks said, “I’m looking for something people should use instead like glass or soft plastic.”

PVC-free feeding bottles are difficult to find on shelves dominated by the biggest names in baby products like Gerber and EvenFlo.

Expectant mother Kyla Gonzalez said, “There are no warnings.”

Many environmental groups are pressuring manufacturers to make changes.

Parks said, “They are the ones making the profit. They are responsible for making a safe product.”

“We’re definitely going to have to see legislation and a ban on PVC plastics,” said Melanie McCutchan of the Environmental Health Coalition.

Read a statement from Evenflo.

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