Many home gardeners buy compost or commercial soil amendments to enhance soil nutrition. But new tests reveal concerning levels of toxic chemicals known as PFAS in fertilizer products which are commonly made from sewage sludge. These “forever chemicals” were found in all of the nine products tested by the Ecology Center of Michigan and Sierra Club and marketed as “eco” or “natural” and eight of the nine exceeded screening levels set by the State of Maine. PFAS in fertilizers could cause garden crops to be a source of exposure for home gardeners.
What’s worse than how the sausage gets made? How the pan gets made. New testing from the Ecology Center found that despite growing concern about the toxicity of “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, most nonstick cooking pans and some baking pans are coated with PTFE, a fluoropolymer made from PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances). PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) is best known by the brand name Teflon™ and goes by several other brand names as well.
We tested 14 nonstick cooking pans and 10 nonstick baking pans to identify their coatings. We found the following:
The Ecology Center has analyzed children's car seats for a variety of chemical hazards for over ten years. Recently, we began investigating the use and potential impact of PFAS in children's products, including car seats.
The newly published peer-reviewed study, "Side-chain Fluorotelomer based Polymers in Children Car Seats" was published in the journal Environmental Pollution. Highlights of the study include:
The Ecology Center teamed up with the Getting Ready for Baby (GRfB) campaign to get a clearer picture of the crib mattress market. GRfB scoured the Internet*, gathering information on 227 mattresses, and sent an extensive survey to crib mattress companies. The Ecology Center's Healthy Stuff lab tested the composition of 13 mattresses purchased in late 2018 and 2019.
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.
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.