Yoga mats are made with a wide variety of materials. The standard sticky yoga mat is made with a PVC material, but nowadays you also have your choice of sustainable, non-toxic materials. Unfortunately, these yoga mats are usually identified with hard-to-understand acronyms. We have decided to list the common yoga mat materials to help define the acronym and list some of their pros and cons.
PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride
environmental toxin/toxic plastic/carcinogen
dioxins/carcinogens (by-products during manufacturing)
plasticizers (to make elastic) includes lead, cadmium, phthalates. Plasticizers offgas/leach during use.
when PVC burns in landfills, they release toxins
Natural Rubber - Open Cell Natural Rubber
excellent traction - even when wet
higher cushioning factor
TPE - Thermal Plastic Elastomer (foam)
NO toxic materials during manufacturing
NO heavy metals
made primarily of carbon & hydrogen
NO latex or rubber
closed cell foam construction (no absorption of fluids - easier to keep clean)