Three popular sex toys were purchased and tested with a goal of understanding to what extent phthalates and other plasticizers are still used in these products. Disposable gloves are ubiquitous at every stage of food production. Sex toys made of flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or vinyl, are popular due to their durability and relatively low cost. To make vinyl products flexible, manufacturers add high levels of plasticizer chemicals--typically around 30% by weight. These plasticizers can easily migrate out of these products and expose people.
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
In late 2018 and early 2019, we tested 56 beaded necklaces collected from Gasparilla parades in Florida and from Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana. For necklaces that contained multiple bead colors or pendants, we tested these different components separately.
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).