by Lisa Grimaldi | August 01, 2006

PVC (also known as vinyl), a plastic widely used in packaging, home furnishings, children’s toys, automobile parts, building materials and hospital supplies, has been linked to a number of health and environmental problems. In a meeting environment, says Lisa Finaldi, campaigns director for Washington, D.C.-based Greenpeace USA, PVC is likely to be found in the following items.

* Three-ring binders and notebooks. Instead, use nylon-coated, hard plastic or cardboard binders;

* Trade show display modules, which can be made of metal coated with PVC;

* Trade show giveaways, including standard promotional items such as flexible magnets and soft plastic key chains. A better idea: any gizmo or gift made of natural nontoxic materials;

* Carpeting and carpet-backing material, as well as vinyl flooring. According to Finaldi, both types of coverings are used in large buildings such as hotels and convention centers, because they are inexpensive and easy to maintain. The only way to avoid these toxins is to choose a different venue.