PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride is a thermoplastic polymer that is second only to Polyethylene in terms of industrial and commercial use. While PVC has some good industrial applications (for example, as a building material), the production, use and disposal of PVC has been linked to some significant health and environmental concerns by credible sources. While nearly every known substance can be considered toxic in the right dose, PVC does seem to be getting a lot of press lately and perhaps rightly so.

For example, PVC production utilizes plasticizers and other additives to make PVC easier to work with. Many of these additives have known health risks and they leach out of the PVC over time in a process called outgassing. Also, PVC is based on a vinyl chloride monomer that has been known to be carcinogenic since the 1960s. PVC disposal can also release Dioxins into the environment in sufficient concentrations to be a health concern.

For some good information on PVC that isn’t anti-industry, look here:

While there will always be debate over heath risks and environmental concerns related to PVC, we at Great Outdoor Provision Co feel it is prudent to be conservative with our own health and backyards. In the paddlesports industry, PVC is most frequently used as a buoyancy aid in PFDs (lifevests) and as a material used in the production of drybags. If a viable alternative to PVC is available for a comparable price, why not use it? If the alternative actually performs better than PVC for its intended use, everyone wins.

Here are some manufacturers who offer not only viable alternatives to PVC but in many cases better alternatives to PVC:

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