For over 10 years, the Ecology Center's Healthy Stuff program has advocated for manufacturers to build car seats free of chemical flame retardants (FRs). In 2017, UPPAbaby launched the very first FR-free children’s car seat.
Working with scientists at University of Notre Dame and Indiana University, we have discovered that Wolverine Worldwide—maker of shoe brands like Hush Puppies and Keds—continues to add per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to some adults’ and children’s shoes despite knowing the dangers.
The Healthy Stuff project is fundamentally about helping companies to change their product designs to produce healthier products that do not contain toxic chemicals. To create a healthier product, manufacturers use design to reduce or eliminate the impacts of hazardous chemicals throughout the lifecycle of a product. Companies can implement a chemical policy to help them achieve chemical safety in their supply chain and across the lifecycle of their products.
In 2015, we tested 65 vinyl floor tiles and found that 58% contained phthalates, a hazardous class of plasticizers that can migrate out of flooring into the air and surfaces inside a home. In response to our study, the major flooring and home improvement retailers announced a phase-out of phthalates in all the flooring they sell.
Recently, we followed up. We tested new floor tiles and this time detected no phthalates, suggesting the retailers made good on their commitments.
"Children’s Car Seats Contain Legacy and Novel Flame Retardants"
Environmental Science & Technology Letters 2019, vol. 6, no. 1, 14-20
Authors: Yan Wu, Gillian Z. Miller, Jeff Gearhart, Kevin Romanak, Viorica Lopez-Avila, and Marta Venier
Full text available for purchase here
The objective of Testing Carpet for Toxics: Chemicals affecting human health and hindering the circular economy was to provide a snapshot of the toxic substances present in carpets sold by some of the largest carpet manufacturers in the US compared to carpets sold in the European Union (EU).
On December 3, 2018 the Ecology Center released test results and product ratings in their 2018 report, Hidden Hazards: Flame Retardants & PFAS in Children's Car Seats. Testing and rating child car seats periodically since 2006, the Ecology Center has been tracking changes in hazardous chemical additives of popular car seat brands.
While the evidence of adverse health effects of ortho-phthalate plasticizers has resulted in a prohibition of the use of most phthalates in food contact materials for fatty foods, including dairy, in the EU, U.S. FDA has not imposed any similar restrictions.