Mom Detective Wins: Toxics in Couches, Flooring and on the Playground!

BY ON June 1, 2015

Mom detective with her super kid

Over recent months the demand for safer products has picked up steam. We’re witnessing firsthand a rapidly changing landscape. There’s no denying that the power of moms (and dads!) is a force to be reckoned with. We’ve seen over and over that when we join together there’s no stopping us. As we question the safety of products, we’ll continue to use our buying power to effectuate change and fight for the strongest toxic reform legislation possible.

Here are a few Mom Detective “wins” that can make us all proud.

It’s Now Possible to Buy a Flame Retardant Free Couch

As buyers continue to demand flame retardant-free furniture, manufacturers have no other option but to listen.

As of January 1, 2015, new regulations require that companies selling furniture in the state of California (manufacturers are applying this to products sold nationwide) are required to include a label disclosing whether or not upholstered furniture products contain flame retardants. Check for the label underneath or on the back side of furniture.

These new safety regulations also allow upholstered furniture to be made without flame retardants. It’s important to note that these regulations don’t ban added flame retardants from furniture. But manufacturers have the option. Only products manufactured after January 1, 2015 will require the label, and mattresses are not required to be labeled. But again, it’s a step in the right direction.

Let your dollars do the talking and seek out furniture retailers and manufacturers that commit to carrying furniture without toxic flame retardants.

Safer Alternatives to Rubber Mulch and Artificial Turf at the Playground and on Sports Fields

Rubber mulch has been in the news quite a bit lately. It’s typically made from ground-up recycled tires. Generally the tires are shred into small pieces and used as soft flooring in spaces where our children play, and many times spend multiple hours each week.

Those same tires which are being shred into playground flooring throughout the country are also classified as “Hazardous Waste” in many states, and in other locations the tires are deemed “Special Waste”.

Many cities and towns across the country now realize this “crumb rubber” is not the best option for fields and playgrounds. They are exploring safer alternatives.

Engineered wood fiber (EWF) or Fibar is made from 100% virgin wood fiber. It is NOT made of  used wood, which may contain things you don’t want in your playground. Fibar is a slip-resistant option, provides a springy cushion for falls and is generally considered a better option than mulch or wood chips. Fibar is an all-natural wood product and not chemically treated in any way. The Fibar surface is also firm and stable enough to allow for wheelchair accessibility.

Other options include coconut fiber and cork instead of crumb rubber. Some parents are resorting to prohibiting toddlers or other young children from using fields and playgrounds with crumb rubber.

Home Depot and Lowe’s Eliminating Toxic Phthalates in Flooring

mom_detective_270Here’s yet another example of the power of “we.” After facing ongoing pressure from consumer groups, both Home Depot and Lowe’s have voluntarily decided to remove phthalates from their vinyl flooring by the end of 2015. Phthalates are chemicals used as softeners or plasticizers in polyvinyl chloride (PVC, vinyl) products. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts and some preliminary studies show that they may be causing a slow and steady demasculinizing of men. Other studies have linked phthalates to liver cancer and breast cancer.

This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more Mom Detective “wins” and keep using your voice and your dollars to impact change!


TOPICS: Activism, Indoor Air Pollution, Mom Detective, Toxics