The plasticizers, or softeners, placed in the numerous PVC products have been an additive of particular concern for opponents of PVC. Because soft PVC toys have been made for babies for years, it is thought that these chemicals may have leaked out into the mouths of the babies while chewing on them. In response to this, many countries have placed bans on numerous types of phthalate softeners used in toys.
In the early 1970’s, the first clear link was found between human exposure to vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and liver cancer when workers in PVC plants in Kentucky were diagnosed with liver angiosarcoma, a rare disease. According to the EPA, "vinyl chloride emissions from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), ethylene dichloride (EDC), and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plants cause or contribute to air pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to result in an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible illness." A 1998 front-page series in the Houston Chronicle claimed the vinyl industry has manipulated vinyl chloride studies to avoid liability for worker exposure and to hide extensive and severe chemical spills into local communities
It is commonly believed that harmful toxins, known as dioxins, are a byproduct of the manufacturing of many PVC products. Dioxins are a global health threat because they persist in the environment and can travel long distances. Even at very low levels, near those to which the general population is exposed, dioxins have been linked to immune system suppression, reproductive disorders, a variety of cancers, and endometriosis.
The State of California is considering a bill that would ban the use of PVC in consumer packaging due to the threats it poses to human and environmental health. The language of the bill stipulates that the EPA has listed PVC as a carcinogen. It also further cites that there are concerns about the leaching of phthalates and lead from the PVC packaging.
Thousands of yoga and other products are manufactured everyday containing harmful toxins such as PVC. The effects that these toxins have on the human race are becoming clearer every day. If we want to preserve our long-term health, as well as the health of our children, and their children's children, we must act now.