Hardie Har Har!
Actually, it is no laughing matter why we here at English Home Improvements highly recommend James Hardie (aka Hardie Board) Fiber Cement Siding over any brand of vinyl siding. Let’s start by finding out what Vinyl Siding is made of:
Vinyl siding is plastic exterior siding for a house, used for decoration and weatherproofing, imitating wood clapboard, and used instead of other materials such as aluminum or fiber cement siding. It is an engineered product, manufactured primarily from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin.
Next, lets find out what polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin is:
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is an odorless and solid plastic. It is most commonly white but can also be colorless or amber. It can also come in the form of white powder or pellets. PVC is made from vinyl chloride. The chemical formula for vinyl chloride is C2H3Cl. PVC is made up of many vinyl chloride molecules that, linked together, form a polymer (C2H3Cl)n.
PVC is used to make pipes, pipe fittings, pipe conduits, vinyl flooring, and vinyl siding.
What about the Environmental impact and occupational health and safety aspects of PVC? So glad you asked! This is what Lenntech, a water treatment company, has to say…
“The manufacturing of plastics often creates large quantities of toxic chemical pollutants such as dioxin, hydrochloric acid, and vinyl chloride. This poses a severe health risks to humans during the PVC life cycle. These toxins can produce sever illness like cancer, diabetes, neurological damage, reproductive and birth defects.”
Dioxin is a persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), these are chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food chain, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment.
In addition, the chloro-ethene monomer is also a carcinogen released during PVC manufacture. This un-reacted monomer can also be present in the final PVC and released during its life cycle.
Plasticizers added to make PVC flexible, may leach out (ex. group phthalates) which are also toxic.
What does this have to do with my choice in siding? Well, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, you can be exposed to PVC not only by eating food or drinking water contaminated with it, but also if your home has vinyl siding. They also site PVC’s Human Toxicity issues, each of which is unsettling.
If you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle and are not familiar with EWG (Environmental Working Group), you should be! They are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.Their mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in healthier environments. They use breakthrough research and education to help drive consumer choice and civic action. In their Healthy Home Tips, their #1 Tip is to “Know the ingredients in your personal care products” (check out natural companies like Park Bench Naturals www.ParkBenchNaturals.com). Tip #2 is Eat organic & fresh foods (did you know that most canned foods are exposed to BPA from the can linings?) and Tip #3 is “Pick plastics carefully (this, of course, includes vinyl siding!). Source: http://www.ewg.org/research/healthy-home-tips/tip-3-pick-plastics-carefully
The toxicity of plastics is not fully understood or adequately tested. What we do know is that most plastics contain chemical additives to change the quality of the plastic for its intended use (examples are to make it softer or resistant to UV light). Some of these ingredients or additives we know are harmful, like the plastics chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) and the plastic softeners called phthalates (again, choose natural products such as those offered by www.facebook.com/ParkBenchNaturals) Others, we just don't know enough about.
We also know that plastics chemicals routinely migrate, or leach, into the food and water they contain. While the amount may be small, it has not been proven safe.
Can you see why we prefer a fiber cement material such as Hardie Board for our customers? We care about our home owners as well as about our team members, our society at large as well as our planet Earth that we call home. While it is slightly more expensive up front, It is like I tell my friends and family, you can pay now or you can pay later with your health. What will your choice be?