Posts Tagged ‘vinyl’

Link between Autism and vinyl floors?

Certainly more research is needed, but a Swedish study concluded that an infant/toddler with vinyl flooring in their bedrooms were twice as likely to have autism 5 years later than those with wood or linoleum flooring. For parents who smoked, autism rates were also twice as those who’s parents did not smoke. More research is absolutely needed, but interesting nonetheless. 
Vinyl can emit phthalates, which are chemicals used to make soft plastic that have also been connected to allergies and asthma. The scientists, lead by Carl-Gustav Bornehag of Karlstad University in Sweden, call the data “far from conclusive” and say further studies with a larger group of children are needed to confirm a link.

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Some toys with banned substances will stay on market

As always, there are loopholes in legislation that appears to be a good thing. In August, President Bush signed into law a ban on lead, cadmium and phthalates in products marketed to children under 12 years of age.

The reduction in the amount of lead that will be considered safe on Feb 10, 2009 will remain in place and any children’s product with lead levels higher than the safe amount on Feb 10 will be treated as a hazardous product.

So what about phthalates? For some reason, these will be treated differently. That reason is purley an economical one. But products containing the banned phthalates will still be found on shelves and legally sold as long as the product was produced prior to the Feb 10, 2009 date.

Read the entire article from the Washington Post.

So what is a parent to do?

1. Avoid plastic toys, especially vinyl ones where phthalates are typically found.

2. Read labels. Some manufacturers may label the product phthalate-free. If not, don’t buy.

3. Visit my safe toys list and find manufacturers who no longer use phthalates.

4. Opt for safer personal care products, like California Baby to avoid phthalates in the bath.

5. Look for a manufacturing date on the product before you buy it. If one is not listed, do not buy it.

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Dolls for Christmas — PVC and Phthalate free!

SAFbaby has done a little research to find PVC and phthalate free dolls – and just in time for Christmas!

There are a few manufactures they list that use vinyl to make their dolls, but they are phthalate free. Certainly a great step, but as the article points out, lead has been found in several products using PVC. SAFbaby recommends erring on the side of caution and going PVC and vinyl free. In any case, those manufacturers using phthalate free vinyl are:
• Kathe Kruse
• Keptin-Jr
• Corolle
• Zapf Creation

These are the vinyl and phthalate free dolls SAFbaby recommends. They are all cloth dolls and easy to clean.

Paola Soft Doll by Haba
Waldorf Flippippi Fortune Fairy by Kathe Kruse
The Earth Friends Doll Raji
BabiCorolle Sorbet Melodie Doll
Keptin Jr – Organic Cotton Doll
 
Other cloth dolls I am aware of include (though note I am still contacting manufacturers to be sure they are free of other toxins):

Pottery Barn Kids Dolls and their Baby Dolls (though note, these are spot washable only, however cute they are)

Sweet Dolly by Baby Gund (my daughter has been attached to this doll for 2 years, since about 7 months old. She holds up very well in the washing machine.)

Flippippi Fortune Butterfly Red
by Kathe Kruse 

Baby Stella by Manahattan Toy

Whatever doll you choose, SAFbaby recommends contacting manufacturers to be sure the dolls are not treated with flame retardants, are free of heavy metals, and are painted with safe/non-toxic paints.

SAFbaby also told me they updated their post. They pointed out that even cloth dolls may not be free of phthalates. Some are stuffed with plastic pellets. Some pellets are made with PE which is a safe plastic and others PVC, which is not safe, so be sure you know what the doll is made of — inside and out!

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Nontoxic backpacks for back to school

I found this article with a great list and some tips for selecting non-toxic backpacks for back to school. My daughter is just 2, so I have not looked into this, but lucky for those who do have school-aged children, someone has already done the research for safe back pack options.

“While Congress has recently voted to ban toxic lead and phthalates from toys,  the legislation does not cover children’s backpacks, many of which are made of vinyl containing both toxic substances. Lead, high exposures of which cause learning problems (not so cool for back to school) and phthalates, linked to obesity and lower sperm counts, readily migrate out of vinyl and onto children’s fingers, and thence into their mouths. Phthalates also evaporate into the air and get inhaled; studies have shown they contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems in children.

When shopping for backpacks, make sure they’re PVC-free at a minimum, and made of recycled materials to get an E (for eco and excellence) plus. Here are some recommendations.”

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Vinyl shower curtains emit toxic chemicals

Those vinyl shower curtains that nearly every home has, can emit up to 100 different chemicals. That “new shower curtain” smell is actually the out-gassing of fumes given off by these chemicals.

I replaced my shower liners with fabric ones a few months ago after my husband whined about the smell making him feel sick. Now I know he was not just being a pansy, but there is definite truth that these toxic fumes make you sick. This includes nausea, headache and many of the compounds in these PVC liners are listed as known carcinogens by the EPA.

And according to a recent LA Times article

“The study found that PVC shower curtains contained high concentrations of phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive effects, and varying concentrations of organotins, which are compounds based on tin and hydrocarbons. One of the curtains tested released measurable quantities of as many as 108 volatile organic compounds into the air, some of which persisted for nearly a month.

Seven of these chemicals — toluene, ethylbenzene, phenol, methyl isobutyl ketone, xylene, acetophenone and cumene — have been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous air pollutants, said Stephen Lester, the center’s science director and a coauthor of the report.

Potential health effects include developmental damage and harm to the liver and the central nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems, according to the report….

Vinyl chloride, which is a major building block of PVC, is a known human carcinogen that causes liver cancer, Lester said.”

Phthalates were recently banned in a new act pass by congress that will help protect children from such harmful substances.

If you have a vinyl shower curtain, get rid of it, preferably recycle it so it won’t end up in a landfill. And opt for a fabric version like this made from polyester or a cotton one like this. I actually really prefer them for more reasons than they are non-toxic. They look better, I feel like they are cleaner, you can toss them in the washer and of course, they don’t smell up the bathroom for weeks!

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