Thursday, March 5, 2009

pvc dryer balls?

I found this from Norwex which is a largely chemically free company who makes dryer balls which are also made with pvc like the ones I posted about.


CANDI'S ANSWER (from Norwex Canadian Headquarters:
Yes, during the manufacture of pvc, there is a small amount of dioxin generated. This is definitely a cost, however, dioxins are not released upon use of the product – only if they were burned (i.e., by fire). It would be very nice to eliminate all environmental costs – so they tried to make them from different types of material, but so far, none have been successful (i.e., other types of plastic simply aren’t effective and don’t work well). Another potential issue with regards to them being made of pvc plastic are phthalates, which are ingredients added to plastics to soften them. These can leach out in water, especially under high heat...this is a problem if you are drinking the contaminated water. Such leaching is unlikely to occur to any appreciable degree in the dryer as they are not sitting in water...and also, we are not drinking the water they are sitting in. The amount of residue, if any, they would leave on clothing is exceptionally small. One study done on the absorption of phthalates into human skin found that, even when added as a concentrated liquid directly onto the skin, that very little penetrated the skin - skin is largely impermeable to them. Also, the amount, if any, on the clothing would be so small as to be immeasurable. Certainly, dramatically better than any other products used to soften clothing and reduce static, which leaves a lot of chemical residue...and for a wide variety of chemicals!

For now, this issue requires additional research, but for those using dryersheets or fabric softener – we are dramatically reducing their exposure to chemicals that are far worse and more likely to affect them than by using dryerballs. Also, the dryerballs reduce energy consumption. I certainly acknowledge that there is some environmental cost, as there is with all human activities…but in my mind, the cost of the manufacture and lifetime use of this product would be dramatically less than that of using fabric softener or dryer sheets. I still give them a thumbs-up on user and environmental friendliness over their lifetime, as compared to other products used for the same purpose.

It may also be worthy of note that there are very large uses of pvc in homes, dryerballs are a very small component of that – i.e., most piping and newer windows are composed of pvc (I do note, however, that this in no way negates the additional cost of having yet another product made from this material – if a better option becomes available, I’m sure we’ll be on board!).



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