Hazardous Chemicals found in Gardening Water Hoses
May 7, 2013
Hoses Can Leach Phthalates and BPA into Water, Study Finds
Retailers Called on to Stop Selling Products
High levels of hazardous chemicals, many of which have been banned in children’s products, were found in garden hoses for the second year in row. Phthalates and the toxic chemical BPA were all found in the water of a new hose after sitting outside in the sun for just a few days, according to researchers at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, which has just completed a study of toxic chemicals in garden hoses.
The study is a follow-up to a 2012 study that tested 90 garden water hoses. This year, 21 garden hoses were tested for lead, cadmium, bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC); phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). These chemicals have been linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births and early puberty in laboratory animals, among other serious health problems. Results were released today at www.HealthyStuff.org.
Highlights of Findings
21 new garden hoses were purchased from Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Target and Kmart. One-third (8 of 21) of the garden hoses tested contained high levels of one or more chemicals of concern. These hoses are widely available and top selling brands.
Of the 21 garden hoses tested, 67% (14 of 21) were polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 4.5% contained brominated flame retardants.
4 hoses were tested for phthalate content. Total phthalate content in those hoses ranged from 11 to 18% by weight. Phthalates are not chemically bound to the material and can be released to the air and water.
100% of the PVC hoses tested for phthalates contained one or more of the phthalates which have been banned by CPSC in children’s products.
Hazardous metals were also found in hoses; including organic tin stabilizers (29%); and antimony (52%);
Overall the level of lead in garden hoses declined between 2012 and 2013. The percentage of hoses with greater then 100 ppm lead declined from 50% in 2012 to 14% in 2013.
What Was Found in the Water
Water was sampled from one hose after it was left in the sun for two days
BPA levels of 0.34 – 0.91 ppm were found in the hose water. This level is 3 to 9 - times higher than the 0.100 ppm safe drinking water level used by NSF to verify that consumers are not being exposed to levels of a chemical that exceed regulated levels.
The phthalate DEHP was found at 0.017 – 0.011 ppm in the hose water. This level is 2-times higher than federal drinking water standards. EPA and FDA regulate DEHP in water from the tap at 0.006 mg/l (ppm).
Clearing the shelves: Join us in asking retailers to mind the store!
April 11, 2013
We were thrilled when the Safe Chemicals Act was introduced in Congress earlier this week. The proposed legislation would restrict the usage of hazardous chemicals and hold chemical companies responsible for ensuring the safety of new chemicals.
Now, we are proud to announce that, as reported inUSA Today, we are part of a coalition of groups that launched a campaign this week asking major retailers to phase out potentially toxic chemicals from their shelves (we're calling it the "Mind the Store" campaign). You can join us by taking action here.
We are frustrated with the EPA’s current lack of power to collect data and regulate toxics. To help retailers Mind the Store, the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition has created a list of priority chemicals that we're urging them to phase out. The list focuses on chemicals widely used in consumer products, with strong evidence of their toxicity, and an emphasis on chemicals that have the potential to disrupt the health of our families - known carcinogens, developmental and reproductive toxicants and endocrine disruptors.
The case control study, involving 1005 women with breast cancer and 1147 without the disease, revealed that women who worked in jobs classified as highly exposed for 10 years increased their breast cancer risk by 42%.
Dr. James Brophy and Dr. Margaret Keith, lead researchers for the study, both work in the OEHRG at Stirling as well as the University of Windsor in Ontario.
"Breast cancer incidence rose throughout the developed world in the second half of the twentieth century as women entered industrial workplaces and many new and untested chemicals were being introduced,” said Dr. Keith. “Diverse and concentrated exposures to carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals in some workplaces can put workers at an increased risk for developing cancer."
Amoung the occupation with the highest risk were plastic manufacturing. The risk of developing breast cancer doubles for women working in the Canadian car industry's plastics manufacturing sector; and among those who were premenopausal, the risk was almost five times as great. Many plastics have been found to release estrogenic and carcinogenic chemicals and cumulative exposures to mixtures of these chemicals are a significant concern.
"Consumers are exposed daily to the same toxic soup of chemicals that workers are, and we are greatly concerned that government standards are not enough to protect us from carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics and vehicles," said Jeff Gearhart, lead researcher at HealthyStuff.org.
"The study also points to the need to re-evaluate occupational and environmental exposure standards, keeping in mind that there may be no determinable safe levels to cancer-causing or hormone-disrupting chemicals," said Dr. Keith.
iPhone 5 Ranks Higher than Galaxy S III in New Study on Toxic Chemicals in Mobile Phones
October 3, 2012
For the first time the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center teamed up with technology
gurus at ifixit.com to research toxic chemicals in 36 different cell phones,
including the recently released iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III. The results
were released today at www.HealthyStuff.org and
The Motorola Citrus ranked the least toxic phone followed by the iPhone 4 S and the LG Remarq. The new iPhone 5 ranked 5th, versus its primary competitor, Samsung Galaxy S III, which ranked 9th. The most toxic phone tested was the iPhone 2G. The full list of rankings can be found at HealthyStuff.org.
Every phone sampled in this study contained at least one of following hazardous
chemicals: lead, bromine, chlorine, mercury and cadmium. These hazardous substances
can pollute throughout a product’s life cycle, including when the minerals
are extracted; when they are processed; during phone manufacturing; and at
the end of the phone’s useful life. Emissions during disposal and recycling
of phones as electronic waste, or “e-waste,” are particularly problematic.
The mining of some tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold used in mobile phones
has been linked to conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Even the best phones from our study are still loaded with chemical
Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center and founder of HealthyStuff.org.
“These chemicals, which are linked to birth defects, impaired learning and
other serious health problems, have been found in soils at levels 10 to 100
times higher than background levels at e-waste recycling sites in China. We
need better federal regulation of these chemicals, and we need to create incentives
for the design of greener consumer electronics.”
A 2004 study found that three-quarters of all cell phones leach lead at levels that would qualify them as hazardous waste. While tracking e-waste is difficult, it is estimated that 50-80% is exported to countries such as China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Phillipines, where there is a labor-intensive, informal recycling infrastrucure that often lacks environmental and human health safeguards.
Suggested mobile phone recyclers: Go to e-stewards to find a responsible recycler. The companies below have signed the e-stewards pledge to not export e-waste to developing countries:
Capstone Wireless – Use their website to request a free UPS shipping label. They have a buy back program, so you may get money back for your old phone.
Call2Recycle – The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp also accepts old cell phones for free recycling. They have drop off sites in many cities (usually in stores). Use their location finder to enter your zip code to find the closest.
Today HealthyStuff.org, Healthy Child Healthy World and the Ecology Center applaud Graco Children’s Products, Inc. for committing to ban the use of four of the most toxic chemical flame retardants from all of their products. Graco is one of the nation's largest children's product manufacturers, selling nearly 1 out of every 3 baby-gear products purchased in the U.S.
In response, Graco has committed to ban and monitor four Tris and related chemicals, specifically:
“Tris,” chemicals including TDCPP (Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate) and TCEP (Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate),
TCPP (Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate), which is structurally similar to the “Tris” compounds,
All three Tris chemicals are either carcinogens or suspected carcinogens, and
Firemaster 550, a chemical mixture containing ingredients that have been targeted for review by EPA due to widespread exposure and potential health risk, is also on Graco’s ban list.
While recognizing that eliminating these toxic flame-retardant chemicals puts Graco ahead of most other children’s product makers, advocates also urged the company to take additional steps to ensure their products no longer contain any hazardous chemicals. Specifically, Graco is being asked to disclose chemicals contained in their products and develop an alternatives assessment system to ensure chemicals are inherently safer and lower hazard.
New Study Finds Lead, Cadmium, BPA, Phthalates & Hazardous Flame Retardants in Gardening Products
May 3, 2012
High amounts of lead, phthalates and the toxic chemical BPA were all found in the water of a new hose after sitting outside in the sun for just a few days, according to researchers at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, who just completed a large study of toxic chemicals in gardening products.
Nearly 200 hoses, gloves, kneeling pads and tools were tested for lead, cadmium, bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC); phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). Such chemicals have been linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births and early puberty in laboratory animals, among other serious health problems.
Researchers tested low-cost children’s and adult jewelry for chemicals -- including lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, bromine and chlorine (PVC) – which have been linked (in animal and some human studies) to acute allergies and to long-term health impacts such as birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer.
Over half (59%) of the products tested had a “high” level of concern due to the presence of one or more hazardous chemicals detected at high levels. Four products contained over 10% cadmium, a known carcinogen. Fifty percent contained lead, with over half of these containing more than 100 ppm of lead
in one or more components, exceeding the Consumer Product Safety Commission limit of lead in children’s products.
New Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Cars Helps Consumers Avoid "New Car Smell" As Major Source of Indoor Air Pollution
February 15, 2012
On February 15, 2012, HealthyStuff.org published its fourth consumer guide to toxic chemicals in car, finding the Honda Civic at the top of this year’s list, and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport at the bottom.
Over 200 of the most popular 2011- and 2012-model vehicles were tested for chemicals that off-gas from parts such as the steering wheel, dashboard, armrests and seats. These chemicals contribute to “new car smell” and a variety of acute and long-term health concerns. Since the average American spends more than 1.5 hours in a car every day, toxic chemical exposure inside vehicles can be a major source of indoor air pollution. Download the 2011/2012 Guide to New Vehicles
On December 13, our colleagues at the Environmental Health Strategy Center released an exclusive new report, Poison in Paint, Toxics in Toys, on two groups of hormone disrupting chemicals in common household products.
For the first time, more than 650 brand name household products that contain one of two toxic chemicals of high concern, NPEs (nonylphenol ethoxylates) and BPA (bisphenol A), have been publicly identified. Twenty-five manufacturers reported their use of NPEs and BPA in consumer products sold in Maine under a 2008 state law on chemical safety.
HealthyStuff.org found one or more toxic heavy metals in 100 percent of the 31 Halloween make-up products tested. More than half (16 of 31) of the products tested contained detectable levels of cadmium, a reproductive and neural toxicant and carcinogen. This study comes on the heels of a bill introduced in the Michigan legislature last week to ban cadmium and mercury in certain children's products.
Hazardous flame retardants found in majority of 2011 child car seats
August 3, 2011
The latest research on toxic chemicals in children's car seats was released today by the nonprofit Ecology Center at the consumer-friendly site, www.HealthyStuff.org. While some seats were found to be virtually free of the most dangerous chemicals, over half (60%) contained at least one of the chemicals tested for.
New Research Finds 4 out of 5 Sets of Christmas and Holiday String Lights Contain Lead
December 8, 2010
According to researchers at HealthyStuff.org, who have tested more than 7,000 consumer products over the past four years, a significant percentage of holiday lights contain lead and other chemical hazards. The tests showed that 4 out of 5 light sets contained detectable lead and that 28% contained lead at levels which make the product illegal to sell in Europe (greater than 1,000 parts per million).
"Some manufacturers manage to make lights without lead. So why are we allowing any lead in these products? We have known for decades that lead can poison brains, but manufacturers are still using this compound," said Jeff Gearhart, the Ecology Center’s Research Director. "The last thing families want to be worrying about during the holidays is whether they are exposing their children to toxic chemicals by decorating their tree. Both manufacturers and the government should be doing a better job of policing chemicals in products."
Largest-Ever Study of Chemicals in Home Improvement Products Finds Lead, Phthalates, Cadmium, Organotins and Other Harmful Ingredients
October 19, 2010
HealthyStuff.org tested over 3,300 home improvement products. 1,016 samples of flooring and 2,312 samples of wallpaper were tested for this research. The test data represents the largest publicly available database of toxic chemicals in home improvement products.
Currently, there is no regulation of chemical hazards in the products tested. Our testing is not necessarily representative of all flooring and wallpaper on the market. In addition, the presence of a chemical in a product does not necessarily mean there is exposure.
New Database on Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Products Reveals Lead, Arsenic, PVC, & Hazardous Flame Retardants in School Supplies, Pet Products, Cars, and More
September 16, 2009
Researchers at HealthyStuff.org have tested over 900 common products for toxic chemicals including lead, cadmium, mercury, bromine, chlorine (PVC) and arsenic. Using an XRF analyzer, researchers at the Ecology Center analyzed the ingredients of pet products, cars, women's handbags, children's car seats and more, creating the largest database yet of independent tests of toxic chemicals in consumer goods.
One in Three Children's Toys Tested by HealthyToys.org Found to have Significant Levels of Toxic Chemicals Including Lead, Flame Retardants, and Arsenic
December 3, 2008
Lead was detected in 20% of the toys tested this year. In fact, lead levels in some of the products were well above the 600 parts-per-million (ppm) federal recall standard used for lead paint, and will exceed the U.S. legal limit in February, according to the new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations. Levels of lead in many toys were significantly above the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended ceiling of 40 ppm of lead in children's products. Children's jewelry remains the most contaminated product category, maintaining its spot at the top of HealthyToys.org’s "worst" list.
The CPSC regulations, which go into effect in February 2009, would make certain products on the shelf this holiday season illegal to sell two months from now. Experts insist that these new regulations, while a good first step, do not go nearly far enough to protect our children.
NOTICE: HealthyStuff.org ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical. HealthyStuff.org 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.