Healthy Stuff

Healthy Stuff's mission is to research toxic chemicals found in everyday products. 


Klean Up Kraft: Toxic Industrial Chemicals Found in Cheese Products

Laboratory testing, commissioned by the Ecology Center, of 10 varieties of macaroni and cheese products has revealed phthalates, a toxic hormone-disrupting class of chemicals, in the cheese powders of all the boxed macaroni and cheese tested.

We are calling on The Kraft Heinz Company—the dominant seller of boxed macaroni and cheese, with 76 percent of market share—to drive industry-wide change by eliminating any sources of phthalates that may end up in its cheese products. Detailed information and a public petition are available at

Data Summary
Lab Report
Fact Sheet on Published Literature

Online Press Release


Pets Beware: Toxic Chemicals in Pet Food Cans

In a citizen science study conducted by the Ecology Center's Healthy Stuff project, pet owners in Southeast Michigan sent 60 dog and cat food cans for identification of the resin linings.

The study found:

  • Almost all cat food cans tested (95%) had a polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based coating
  • Most dog food cans (81%) had a bisphenol A (BPA)-based coating
  • Pet food cans overall had a higher frequency of both BPA-based and PVC-base coatings than human food cans. 


Car Seat Detox Challenge

It is high time that manufacturers remove toxic flame retardant additives from their product lines. It is simply unacceptable to continue using toxic chemicals to make products meant to provide safety to our most vulnerable population, our children. It's true; car seats save lives.  But, safety shouldn't come with a hidden chemical cost. That is why we are challenging car seat manufacturers to produce a car seat without adding flame retardants. UPPAbaby recently proved this can be done through their Mesa Henry infant seat, the first ever car seat manufactured without added flame retardants that still meet fire safety standards. We need both consumers and advocates to put the pressure on other manufacturers to follow UPPAbaby’s lead. We want toxic-free car seats! Sign the petition. 


Traveling with Toxics: Flame Retardants & Other Chemicals in Children's Car Seat

In this study, we analyzed flame retardants and other chemicals in fifteen infant and toddler car seats purchased in 2016, including two from the United Kingdom. The brands are BabyTrend, Britax, Chicco, Clek, Cosco, Diono, Evenflo, Graco (two models), Joie, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Orbit, Recaro, and Safety 1st. The seats represent a broad price range and about half were brands also tested by our team in 2014.

One company has answered our longtime call.  Uppababy unveiled a new car seat for 2017 specially designed to contain no added FRs. To our knowledge, the MESA Henry will be the first flame retardant-free car seat on the market, and its story and test results are included as a sidebar in this report.


Selected earlier reports


Healthy Stuff Reports

You may have heard about industrial chemicals like bisphenol A making their way into our food supply via can linings--but what about our pets? Not surprisingly, they are vulnerable, too. A recent study, for example, found that BPA in the bloodstream of pet dogs nearly tripled when they switched to canned dog food.
The Ecology Center has tested child car seats periodically for ten years, tracking changes in chemical addtives. Car seats are a required product in which babies and children typically spend hours per day. The flame retardant (FR) chemicals historically used in car seats are known to include carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and developmental toxicants. Exposure occurs through contamination of air and dust.
In 2016, we tested 32 hoses from Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Meijer, Target, and Walmart.  Individual product results are below. Click on a product for details from XRF and FTIR analyses. Download the complete report here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical.