In a lawsuit filed against the EPA, the Center for Biological Diversity is suing for failing to regulate polyvinyl chloride (commonly called PVC or vinyl) as hazardous waste. PVC is the most commonly used and discarded form of plastic and is said to be highly toxic to both human and environmental health.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, PVC “releases toxic chemicals and carcinogens, including dioxin and phthalate plasticizers, into the air, water and food web at every stage of its life cycle.” This form of plastic can be found in children’s toys, clothing, consumer packaging, building materials, electronics and several other products.
“PVC is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever made, and the federal government can’t keep ignoring that reality,” Emily Jeffers, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity and a former wildlife biologist, said. “This disturbingly widespread plastic sheds toxic chemicals that harm people and wildlife. We have to stop making so much plastic and come up with safer ways to dispose of our plastic pollution. PVC is a toxic time bomb.”
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. and claims the EPA “violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by ignoring a rulemaking petition about this dangerous substance,” according to a press release.
“Exposure to vinyl chloride, phthalate plasticizers and other chemical additives is associated with a broad array of developmental and behavioral abnormalities in humans and wildlife species,” the lawsuit states. “Recent studies reveal that finished PVC products leach significant concentrations of these compounds into the environment as they deteriorate with age, threatening severe biological consequences. Substantial scientific evidence shows that the widespread mismanagement of discarded PVC has distributed toxic chemicals throughout our environment, threatening ecosystem health and endangering vulnerable portions of the human population.”
PVC is said to cause reproductive harm, hormone disruptions, liver damage, obesity, insulin resistance among other health risks.