Vinyl flooring and roofing may be a staple of many school environments—but they are also a potential health hazard for the nation's youngest, most vulnerable citizens. A new report by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) finds that PVC building materials—including vinyl flooring—is seven times more likely to contain hazardous chemical additives than non-vinyl alternatives. Phthalates and dioxins are two of the most worrisome chemicals in PVC, and have been linked to a rise in many health disorders including cancer, asthma, autism, learning disabilities and obesity.
School building materials are just one route of PVC exposure for school kids; there are also plastic lunch boxes, drink cups, toys and other products. But the amount of time children spend in school and the sensitive existing health issues of so many has led CHEJ to launch a campaign for healthier school buildings. The group is calling it a "PVC-Free Schools Campaign" and asking parents and other supporters to encourage schools to renovate with PVC-free building materials; for districts to adopt PVC-free policies; for parents to purchase PVC-free school supplies and for those in the know to spread the word and educate others in their own communities.