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Nike Agrees to Stop Using PVC for Shoes

Washington Post

Nike, the world’s largest manufacturer of athletic shoes, said it will purge its products of the plastic substance polyvinyl chloride, calling it “a threat to humans and the environment.” Nike’s plan, publicized by the environmental group Greenpeace, was a symbolic milestone in an international campaign to reduce the use of PVC in products as varied as toys, pipes and medical supplies. Nike said it has “barely just begun” to look for materials to substitute for PVC in its shoes and will make the change “as supplier capacity and viable replacements allow.” The company declined to predict when its shoes will start moving off its assembly lines free of PVC. The manufacturing and disposal of PVC can release toxins known as dioxins, which are linked to birth defects, cancer, decreased fertility and other medical problems, according to Nike. In a statement prepared for use by Greenpeace, Nike made a point of denying that the decision on PVC was an attempt to divert attention from criticism of its labor practices in low-wage countries. But, in an interview, a company spokeswoman said the elimination of PVC was a workplace safety issue for factory employees.


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