PVC in Children’s Raingear

Here in Oregon, the only way our children get to see the light of day during the winter is to slip on raingear, hitch up their boots and enjoy some puddle jumping.  As I was shopping for my son’s rain slicker this year I hit several used clothing stores without any luck.  Finally, I went to my local retailer to pick up a coat and found the icky plastic smell overwhelming.  It made me wonder, what were raincoats really made of?

I was worried that PVC, a toxic chemical often used in waterproof items such as shower curtains, bibs, and sometimes even soft baby’s chew toys, could be a factor.  PVC or polyvinyl chloride releases toxins such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates throughout its life cycle.  For more info on PVC, check out this website.

When I googled “PVC in children’s raincoats,” instead of getting articles describing the dangers, I found several raincoats for sale openly stating that they were made of PVC.  How bizarre! 

I finally found a few spots that sell PVC-free raincoats on line.  Calunaloves.com, CWDkids.com, Lands End, and L.L. Bean all offer coats made of safer plastic.  Apparently many big box stores also have plans to eliminate PVC from their product lines.  When shopping, look for the PVC-free tag in raincoats. 

I’m still in search of the perfect raincoat, so please give me your advice if you’ve found one you love!  

Comments

  1. it’s scary how much stuff you don’t think of is made of bad plastic. I’ll have to remember those stores, although, right now in CO, it hardly ever rains.

  2. It’s amazing that there are so many people out there that still don’t know or don’t care about PVC. We can definitely get a lot of use out of a raincoat here so looking for non-PVC is even more important!

  3. What about a wool coat? It would be a natural alternative, although your kids might not stay 100% dry, but it might be worth looking into.

  4. I bought my son’s raincoat at Land’s End, but I wasn’t even thinking PVC at the time. I just love how soft they are. They don’t feel like a raincoat at all. Totally worth the money! Glad to know they are PVC-free, too, though.

  5. I’m not sure how true it is, but I read somewhere last year when looking for a raincoat that H&M’s raincoats are not made with PVC. We own one, and it does feel like a different material and doesn’t have “that smell”.

  6. Yikes, I think I have a lot of PVC stuff in my house – shower curtain liner, kids’ pool toys, etc. did not even think about this!

    My favorite raincoats my kids ever had were the Columbia Sportswear jackets I got them for $10 each at the outlet. I’m sure they weren’t PVC as they were more like ski jackets than raincoats, but were just shells so not overly warm (my biggest pet peeve about raincoats as wet doesn’t always mean cold) but very waterproof, especially for the kind of soft, gentle rain we get in Oregon.

  7. Wow thanks for the tip. And here’s something I reviewed that might interest you:

    http://babble.com/CS/blogs/droolicious/archive/2009/01/12/first-look-eco-friendly-lunch-kit-from-kids-konserve.aspx

    It’s a green lunch box…very cool progressive company. Could be a good fit for you or feel free to link up to my review.

  8. This is a message that Puddlegear has been trying to get out for about 10 years-
    sorry to have missed your review-
    Another option for PVC and Phthalate free raingear, hats, and mitts is Puddlegear.
    Available online at puddlegear.com and in Oregon at “The Family Tree House” in Camas Washington.

    Our gear is soft flexible and warm- kids love to loose themselves in their imaginations in the great outdoors- puddlegear helps out! We import our gear from Abeko in Sweden- European Quality and safety!

    Just a note for those with ski jacket type raincoats – they are coated in PVC regularily- thats the waterproofer-

    If your interested in reviewing we are would welcome it- looking forward to working with you in the future!

    cheers
    Alexandra
    puddlegear.com

  9. Joy, I’d love to chat with you about the brands you mention in your post. Please email me when you have a moment!

  10. I was recently looking for a rain jacket for my daughter and went into a great little shop by my house (pluepdx.com) and Wendy told me about outsidebaby.com which is located in Hood River. They have some great PVC free jackets in vibrant prints.

  11. Hi there!
    Michelle Bailey
    Director of Sales & Marketing
    for http://www.calunaloves.com.au here.

    What a great site this is – well done!
    It is great the the message/warning about PVC is finally ‘getting out there’.
    Congratulatiosn to those that are heeding the message and are taking action. Plastics are something we need to use with some caution.

    We do indeed stock PVC FREE RAINCOATS for kids.
    While we are based in Australia, we do accept international orders!
    If you would like to place an order, please email me direct michelle@calunaloves.com.au
    and I will be happy to personally organise your order from placement to dispatch.

    If you have any questions you would like to ask about any of our products and or delivery to where you are located in the world, please contact me.

    Warm regards,
    Michelle :-)

  12. Hello,

    I totally agree about not having a lot of choice when it comes to PVC free raingear. I designed my own line of raingear starting with the rainhats last May and this spring I will have the rest of the line out. I am based out of Vancouver, BC and everything is made here. My raingear is more on the higher end side but it is also has a boutique style. You are welcome to checkout my site and see what you think. Contact me through the site.

    Cheers,
    Corri

  13. To #12 Corri Seers:

    What website (URL) please?!!

    Thanks, J

  14. This is so frustrating. My son LOVES the fireman raincoat I found online however it is PVC. I just ordered it not realizing and can’t cancel the order. I figured I would resell them on Ebay (I bought a frog one for my toddler as well) however now I am stuck looking for another fireman raincoat for my 5yo. The sites you suggested are OK, not all that cute and EXPENSIVE. I just can’t afford that kind of money for 2 raincoats my kids will out grow in a year. Don’t know what I am going to do now however we should be able to find safe, cute and affordable options other than PVC. PVC Free should not only be for those with money to blow.

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