I still often find myself saying I had no idea. Then sometimes I find myself saying, I wish I had no idea. But, once you know, it is hard to go back.
I know you have seen some of the ridiculously cute wall decals out there for a child's room. They are all over Etsy and the options for customization are limitless. They seem like an easy and temporary decorating solution, but think again. Did you know most wall decals have polyvinyl chloride PVC in them?
Are you saying “so what?” to yourself?
I did too, until I knew about the effects that PVC can have on the body. There are several issues with PVC. For one thing, PVC contains phthalates, which are classified as endocrine disruptors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), increased incidence of developmental abnormalities such as cleft palate, skeletal malformations, and increased fetal death has been reported with exposure to phthalates. Additionally, delayed puberty in both sexes, undescended testes, decreased testes weight and decreased anogential distance were observed in one study. In adult female rats, one type of phthalate exposure resulted in increased incidence of mononuclear cell leukemia and increased liver size.
On February 13, 2012, the EPA released a final rule on emissions for plants that produce PVC stating that, "Exposure to toxic air pollutants can cause respiratory problems and other serious health issues, and can increase the risk of developing cancer. In particular, children are known to be more sensitive to the cancer risks posed by inhaling vinyl chloride, one of the known carcinogens emitted by this source category.”
Unfortunately, phthalates are released from the PVC through the life of a product.
Ready for the good news?
There are some ridiculously cute fabric alternatives that are PVC-free!
Love Mae, an Australian company, has some great decals for your room or your child’s room.
Pop and Lolli, a US company, has some really whimisical designs that will keep your child’s imagination turning.
Chocovenyl, a UK company, has an array of fun designs sure to brighten up your child's room.
For more information on phthalates:
Research article from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on prenatal exposure to phthalates as it relates to childhood behavior.
Research article linking childhood obesity with increased phthalate exposure.
Easy-to-read handout on phthalates and exposure.