SHOULD I JUST BUY A CHEAP MAT FOR YOGA?

By | 4 March 2010

If you want to buy a discount yoga mat make sure it’s a discount eco yoga mat and not a cheap pvc yoga mat

Everyone I know started practising yoga with a standard discount sticky yoga mat.  Dirt cheap and easily available you can understand why they are the default choice but, if you care about your health and the future of the planet, you need to think twice before making that purchase.

The majority of discount yoga mats are made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) most of us are so used to PVC products that we don’t give this a second thought but, we should.  Let me tell you why.

PVC

PVC is one of the most environmentally unfriendly materials ever produced.  It’s starting to be called the ‘poison plastic’. Most European countries have banned certain uses for health and environmental reasons. Most major motor manufacturers are phasing out the use of PVC in motor cars because of the environmental and health implications.

Phthalates

PVC is rigid in its original state so chemicals called phthalates are added (in large quantities – up to 60% by weight) to make the PVC flexible.  The phthalates are not chemically bound to the PVC so they leach out over time.  Phthalates have caused cancer, infertility, testicular damage, reduced sperm count, suppressed ovulation and abnormal testicular development in tests on lab animals.  They may also be linked to asthma and autism and are known to cross the placenta from mothers into developing embryos. These chemicals are constantly leaking out of your PVC yoga mat.

Dioxins

Apart from the phthalate leakage, PVC is apparently safe to use but, PVC production is the largest user of chlorine gas in the world.  Chlorine has some particularly nasty by-products.  Dioxin is one of these and is known to cause cancer in humans and is the most potent synthetic carcinogen ever tested on lab animals.  Dioxins damage the immune system, reproduction, development and the endocrine system and have also been linked to birth defects, endometriosis, inability to carry pregnancies to term and decreased fertility.  There is no ’safe dose’. They are soluble in fat so they build up in the body and concentrate higher up the food chain. They also cross the placenta and concentrate in breast milk.  Dioxins are now so widespread that they are found in the tissues of whales, polar bears and probably every human on the planet.  They do not naturally degrade, so they continue to build up in the environment.

Ethylene dichloride (EDC) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) are used in the production of PVC and both cause cancer in lab animals. VCM causes cancer in humans and increased risks of liver, brain, breast and testicular cancer are found in workers involved in production.

Heavy Metals

Mercury is used in the production of chlorine and large quantities are released into the environment.  Mercury causes neurological, developmental and severe reproductive damage.  Other additives can include lead and cadmium.

The saddest thing is that we don’t need to make plastics from toxic chemicals.  Henry Ford was producing plastics from soya beans in the 1930s!

If you still want a PVC discount yoga mat, you can buy them everywhere.  But why would you?  Buy a discount eco friendly yoga mat instead!

See the other articles on my blog for much better choices.

 

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