Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sam Suds and the Case of PVC, The Poison Plastic

Did you know that new car smells and new shower curtain smells are from poisonous chemicals off-gassing from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic? Or that children can be exposed to phthalates, poisonous chemicals that PVC releases, by chewing on vinyl toys? I sure didn't. Even more disturbing, PVC plants are disproportionately located in low-income communities and communities of color.

The nice folks at Free Range Studios whose Principal, Jonah Sachs, I interviewed for the Big Vision Podcast, wanted me to let folks know about a new 3-minute movie they've created for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice to teach people about the dangers of PVC called, Sam Suds and the Case of PVC, the Poison Plastic. Like The Meatrix and Store Wars, Free Range uses humor and fun to get their message across.

Sam Suds is a bar of soap in charge of protecting the Johnson family from dangerous toxins. His next case is to find PVC, and he's not making a lot of progress until a rubber duck he calls "Duckface" tells him,

"It's this rubber duck I've been seeing, he seemed nice enough at first, but I'm starting to suspect that he ain't made of rubber. . . I think he's PVC." She shows him a B&W photo of the duck and a boy.
"Yeah, it's little Timmy Johnson chewing on your boyfriend's head. So, what of it?" Sam asks.
"Look closer," she says.
"Hey, what gives? There's a three on this duck's butt." Sam says.

As Sam searches for his suspect, he finds out from a shampoo bottle that the three with arrows is the mark of PVC. When he finally finds the PVC duck and threatens to flush him down the toliet the duck tells him, "What good will it do you? This bathroom is full of PVC."

For more information about PVC, and to watch Sam Suds, go to They are also asking folks to sign an online petition to ask Target to phase out PVC in products and packaging. Apparently, Wal-Mart has committed to phasing out private label PVC packaging in two years and other companies like Nike, Microsoft, Ikea, H&M, and Johnson & Johnson are phasing out PVC as well.


  1. hey, thanks for this post. I really like it, especially since I think my kids are eating pvc...which I need to get rid of. I didn't know about the 3 and the arrows=pvc

  2. Anonymous11:20 AM

    And to think how deeply I used to inhale around new shower curtains and new dolls...I LOVED that smell. ICK. Thanks for this.

  3. Glad the post was of help. I had no idea about the whole PVC thing either. . . the beauty of social marketing on the Internet!


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