The last year has seen an unprecedented debate in the European communityover the use of PVC in children’s clothing. This inexpensive petroleumand clorine based product was the first to offer 100% waterproofprotection and is still the primary fabric found in North Americachildren’s raingear.
European research shows that PVC creates a significant environmentalburden during the manufacturing process, primarily through waterpollution from factory emissions concentrated in third world countries.As well, after disposal, PVC garments break down into highly toxiccompounds.
Most important, the research indicates a potential off gassing from thefabric during its lifespan. Scientists also voiced concerns that toxicphthalates might be leached from the fabric during its lifespan.Phthalates are the most common plastisizers used to make PVC soft andpliable. They are unstable in the fabric and will leach to theenvironmentSooner or later
The long-term implications of the research are not conclusive. However,the EEC is opting for caution by banning the use of phthalate-containingPVC in all children’s clothing, including raingear. A new Europeanstandard of clothing quality called “Oeko-Tex Standard 100” now alsoregulates the dangerous emission of toxic material in clothing.
North America has no specific safety standards for rainwear fabrics, andthe PVC use in children’s clothing remains unregulated. Puddlegearchildren’s rainwear meets all the European safety standards andrequirements and contains no PVC.
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