InToxic Chemicals

PVC a Substitute for Polycarbonate (BPA) in Sippy Cups – WHAT?

My good friend Sommer of  Green and Clean Mom called me this morning with news I never really expected to hear:  she was staring at a sippy cup marked with a #3 recycling code (PVC).

What?  Wait a minute, Sommer.  I think it must be a mistake.  Reusable plastic food containers are very (very!) rarely made with PVC.  In fact, I don't think I've ever come across a PVC sippy cup in all my years of research . . .

She had ordered hundreds of the sippy cups as a promotional item for a non-profit program, but only after carefully confirming with the manufacturer that the cups were BPA-free before ordering.

Phthalate-free PVC is Safe, Right?

No. Even phthalate-free PVC still isn't a safe plastic because of the other harmful chemicals often used during production. CHEJ names the following possible concerns with PVC:

  • May contain dioxin (a known carcinogen)
  • May contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s)
  • May contain organotins
  • May contain lead, cadmium and other metals
  • Heat and humidity can increase the release of these chemicals

So here we have a reliable manufacturer (based on my own personal experience), trying to do the right thing by using BPA-free and phthalate-free plastics in their cups, while still keeping them extremely affordable.  And while I was initially surprised at their choice of PVC as a substitute, I do understand where they're coming from – especially in light of the fact that PVC isn't recognized as a toxic plastic by the average American just yet . . .

Okay, so it's not the end of the world. But needless to say, we recommend you stay on the alert and pay attention to the types of plastic being used as substitutes by manufacturers – whether BPA-free or not.


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