Sunday, April 4, 2010

PVC and me

I went searching for a raincoat for Henry this weekend. While I didn't find a raincoat, I gathered so much more-information (and fear). You see, most of the jackets I could find were made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride). 56% PVC to be exact. 

For more information on PVC, see Greenpeace UK's info page.

It's scary stuff, right?!

And I knew PVC was bad. I've seen Blue Vinyl: A Toxic Comedy (2002) which chronicles Judith Helfand’s investigation into the toxic life cycle of polyvinyl chloride. (If you haven't seen this - check it out. It's hilarious and sad and frightening and moving. Judith is quite inspiring.) Anyway, point being, it is so easy to get busy with life that we forget to look at the material composition of items we purchase.  

I'll admit. I didn't look at the material label for Henry's wellies. I just bought them in a hurry as he was running about the store in a shoe frenzy. (I get the same way. I LOVE shoes too.) But I am frankly afraid to look now. PVC is quite a scary item. Even more frightening, as I am looking around our house, it seems like everything is plastic and possibly (probably, let's be honest) contains PVC. Okay, not everything is plastic. But, please, even if we try to be eco-friendly it is sometimes hard to be completely green. We've had a lot of toys given to us as presents and Henry loves brightly colored plastic things. I know, it's bad. I know I can be better, but I also appreciate where I am now and where I can go in regards to a green lifestyle. Augh! Can you tell I suffer from such maternal guilt? :) 

Phew, after that rant, you are probably wondering if I have any suggestions for raincoats to purchase in the UK. Well, I found that Hatley makes PVC options: It's hard as there are other companies, like Patagonia, LL Bean and J Crew that make PVC free raincoats, but I couldn't find any to purchase in the UK. 

If you know of other options, please let me know!

PS. If you already have a raincoat made with PVC, just air it outside before your child wears it or wears it again. :) Wowzers, there is quite an ethical dilemma here. Do you throw it out? (To be put back in the earth.) Do you donate it? (Is it right for other children to wear it?) AUGH! This is not easy.

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