Does "PVC Free" mean PVC Free?
PVC is (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, commonly referred to as vinyl. "When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems." PVC is often used in conjuction with metals, including lead. You can't really tell if there is PVC in lunch boxes, but there is guidance on how to test vinyl lunch boxes for lead (DIY kits and the like).
Maura passes on her experience in her search for the PVC free lunch box:
I thought this might be interesting to the urbanmama community. I saw the piece about school lunches and the mention of the PVC-free butterfly lunch box. I had been looking around for a PVC-free lunch box and tracked down the one mentioned made by Crocodile Creek at Grasshopper on Alberta. When wiping out the lunch box before we used it for our first day of school, I decided to take a look at the tag inside and to my surprise PVC was noted twice in the fabric content!!! This after the cute tag on the front says "100% FREE PVC!" I called Grasshoppers who called Crocodile Creek and they were told that the lunch boxes really are PVC free, but the wrong tags were put into some of the lunchboxes??? Grasshopper pulled all the lunchboxes and are sending them back to the manufacturer. Grasshopper was awesome and gave us cash back and seemed genuinely concerned. It's hard to know if these lunch boxes are what buyers thought. I'm sure some of those parents would like to know.
Has anyone encountered purportedly PVC-Free lunchboxes whose labels read differently? Crocodile Creek states "We have given special attention to make certain that the lunchboxes currently offered by Crocodile Creek do conform to the current U.S. & European Consumer Product Safety Standards as well as FDA recommendations. Our lunchboxes are lead safe, 100% Phthalate and PVC free."