The last year has seen an unprecedented debate in the European community over the use of PVC in children’s clothing. This inexpensive petroleum and clorine based product was the first to offer 100% waterproof protection and is still the primary fabric found in North America children’s raingear.
European research shows that PVC creates a significant environmental burden during the manufacturing process, primarily through water pollution from factory emissions concentrated in third world countries. As well, after disposal, PVC garments break down into highly toxic compounds.
Most important, the research indicates a potential off gassing from the fabric during its lifespan. Scientists also voiced concerns that toxic phthalates 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 the environment Sooner 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-containing PVC in all children’s clothing, including raingear. A new European standard of clothing quality called “Oeko-Tex Standard 100” now also regulates the dangerous emission of toxic material in clothing.
North America has no specific safety standards for rainwear fabrics, and the PVC use in children’s clothing remains unregulated. Puddle gear children’s rainwear meets all the European safety standards and requirements and contains no PVC.
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