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Ghosts of Christmas Past

December 16, 2014

Study Finds Toxic Chemicals in a Majority of Seasonal Holiday Décor Products; No Improvement in String Lights or Beaded Garlands tested 69 seasonal holiday products purchased in November 2014 from major retailers. More than two-thirds of the products contained at least one hazardous chemical at levels of concern. Beaded garlands were found to contain a multitude of toxic contaminants, mirroring the results from our 2013 study of beaded garlands. Light strings were also compared to an earlier study by The 2014 lights—including lights attached to decorations--commonly showed high levels of lead and bromine, as did the 2010 study.

For 2014, we expanded the test categories to include, in addition to beaded garlands: tinsel garlands, artificial wreaths and greenery, stockings, figurines and other tabletop decorations, and gift bags.

Product Highlights:

Hidden Dangerous Chemicals in Popular Halloween Costumes and "Trick or Treat" Bags

October 23, 2014

Study Finds Costumes and Party Supplies Sold by Top Retailers Contain Hazardous Additives in Costumes and Accessories tested 106 Halloween related products, including costumes, accessories, decorations and party favors. Make-up and face paints were not sampled. Specifically we tested:

  • 44 Costumes
  • 40 Accessories
  • 22 Decorations and party favors

Our testing found heavy metals and other additives are commonly found in Halloween costumes and accessories. These chemicals include lead, flame retardants, tin compounds and phthalates -- harmful chemicals that are linked to asthma, reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, hormone problems and cancer.

Media Resources:

Check-up on Fall Children's School Supplies

September 4, 2014

For this study, tested 101 children’s school supplies, including a variety of backpacks, binders, lunch boxes, pencil pouches and rulers. These products were purchased from 8 national retailers: CVS, Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., Kroger, Meijer, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.

Key Findings:

  • Four of the products were selected for phthalate plasticizer testing:
    • A Rainbow Animal Print Backpack by Pro Sport, retailed by Kroger, contained 5.4% DEHP--a phthalate banned by the U.S. CPSC--in the backpack textiles.
    • The other three products contained non-phthalate plasticizers DOTP and tributyl acetyl citrate
  • 6% (6 of 101) of the products contained Pb above 100 ppm, exceeding the CPSC limit set for children’s products.
  • A compass purchased at Target contained 20,316 ppm of Pb (in the tip of the compass).
  • A rainbow animal print backpack purchased at Kroger had 967 ppm of Pb.

Graco My Size 65 Car Seat Test Results Released

July 11, 2014

As part of our 2014 car seat screening project tested the Graco My Size 65 Convertible Car Seat for chemical hazards. This is the first of series of test results we will be releasing this year.

We are particularly interested in identifying the flame retardant chemistry used in car seats. Our test found two flame retardants in this product:

  • Thin PU foam layer (laminated to green textile): Triethyl phosphate, Tris (2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBEP)
  • EPS foam: 5,110 ppm Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD)

HBCDD has been found to present human health concerns based on animal test results which indicate potential reproductive, developmental, and neurological effects. Due to its persistence, toxicity, and ecotoxicity, a global ban on HBCD is occurring under the framework of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

TBEP is an alkyl phosphate flame retardant whose safety has not been fully tested. The long-term toxicity and carcinogenicity of TBEP have not been studied.

Remember: Always use a car seat! Car seat are vital safety devices and regardless of our test results you should always use a car seat with your child.

Please consider supporting our car seat testing project through our Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign. The more we raise the more we can test!

See All Reports »

NOTICE: ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical. ratings provide only a relative measure of high, medium, and low concentrations of several hazardous chemicals or chemical elements in an individual product in comparison to criteria established in the site methodology.

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