When I started this company. I had no idea what most yoga mats were made from. Do you? The answer is PVC. PVC is a toxic plastic and it is used in yoga mats because it is cheap and sticky, so it is easy to mass produce at a low cost and it provides grip during practice, but at what cost? The answer is it will cost you your health and the environment.
PVC Cost Number 1: Your Health
According to the endometriosis association, PVC can be hazardous to your health in two ways. First, PVC is a petrochemical-meaning it is a product of the oil and gas industry. During the manufacturing of PVC mats, chlorine gas is produced, containing a deadly byproduct known as dioxins. Dioxins are known to act as endocrine disruptors, meaning they can block hormones in the body and cause immune abnormalities. In animals, dioxins are known to cause cancer, immune suppression and birth defects. Dioxins travel through the air where rain, dust and snow in turn carry dioxins into the ground. Dioxins then find their way into our food chain when animals such as cattle, pigs, and chickens feed on dioxin-contaminated crops. Humans ingest dioxins by feeding on beef, milk, pork, chicken, eggs, and other dairy products. Breastfeeding mothers can pass dioxins onto infants through breast milk and pregnant mothers can pass dioxins through the placenta.
Second, additives used in PVC yoga mats are toxic. Do you ever wonder why yoga mats say “Phthalate free”? Do you know what this means? PVC on its own is an incredibly rigid plastic. It requires the use of additives to make it malleable. One of these additives is Phthalates. However, Phthalates are so incredibly toxic that they have been outlawed in many children toys and most European countries have outlawed PVC for certain uses. The problem with Phthalates is that it can leach out of the yoga mat into your skin and causes all sorts of problems, such as damage to the heart, liver, ovaries, testes, lungs and kidneys. It has also been suspected of causing autism.
Beware. Even if your yoga mat is labeled “phthalate free” other harmful additives are often used to soften PVC and can disrupt the hormonal systems. For example, a commonly used additive, lead, is known to cause brain and nervous system damage, convulsions, coma, fatigue, mental retardation, hyperactivity, and reproductive problems. Thus, the best way to avoid harm to your health is to stay away from PVC yoga mats altogether. Stick to natural products. Jade yoga mats are an excellent choice if you are looking for a healthy mat because they are made from natural rubber. Spiritual Revolution Yoga Mats are another excellent choice because they too are made with natural rubber and water based inks and do not use PVC. Opt for Spiritual Revolution mats if you want a mat with cool designs on it or if you sweat a lot during your practice. These mats are designed for hot yoga or the sweaty practitioner because the built in towel top increases grip as you sweat.
PVC Cost Number 2: The Environment
PVC is not recyclable and it does not biodegrade. The toxic chemicals found in these mats have been known to leach their way into the ground and into water systems, polluting them. Moreover, when plastic makes its way into the ocean, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. It is said that some types of plastic can take up to 600 years to fully break down! Fish and birds feed on plastic and it is known to kill them.
It is for these reasons that Spiritual Revolution has initiated support for the Oceanic Society by designing a mat in collaboration with Pam Longobardi. Profits received on all sales of these mats are used to support the Oceanic Society’s “Adopt an Albatross” program. This program supports efforts to counteract the impacts of marine plastic pollution on Laysan Albatross and Black-footed Albatross populations in Midway and Kure Atolls through habitat restoration and research.
-Holly Rogers, Spiritual Revolution