HealthyStuff.org Reports

Reports with Products Tagged as “Home Improvement”

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

HealthyStuff.org 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 HealthyStuff.org. 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:

Study finds summer seasonal products contain phthalates and other harmful chemicals

July 4, 2014

For this study, Healthy Stuff.org purchased and tested 121 consumer products that include common products used in the household, outdoors, and for 4th of July festivities. These products were purchased in national retailers, including Target, Walmart, Kroger, Meijers, Big Lots, Walgreens, and CVS.

About 12% of the products (15 of 121) contained lead (Pb) above 100 ppm, exceeding the CPSC limit set on children’s products. These products are popular items currently sold at major retailers for summer outdoor activities including picnic supplies, beach/pool gear and 4th of July accessories.

HealthyStuff.org wraps up 2013 with new product testing

December 20, 2013

HealthyStuff.org wraps up 2013 with a new study that continues to show how toxic chemicals are found in a range of consumer products. This winter screening joins a series of studies HealthyStuff.org has released in the past months showing how toxic chemicals continue to lurk in everyday consumer products.

This 2013 wrap up, which looked at over 100 consumer products from 9 national retailers, found that nearly a quarter of the products contain levels of lead that exceed 100 parts per million (ppm), the limit the Consumer Product Safety Commission has set for children's products. These high levels of lead were primarily found in holiday decorations, including holiday beaded garlands and outdoor lights. One of the products, a set of earphones purchased at Best Buy, contained 33% of lead by weight. This study also found high levels of arsenic, two of which were light fixtures containing arsenic levels above 1,000 ppm. Nearly a third of the products tested contained high levels of bromine (above 400 ppm) suggesting the use of brominated flame retardants (BFRs).

Study Toxic chemicals 'even follow us into the outdoors'

August 8, 2013

New Study of Picnic Supplies Finds Lead, Phthalates, Hazardous Flame Retardants, Organotins and Other Harmful Ingredients

Mind the Store Calls on Top Ten Retailers to Phase Out Toxics

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- Researchers released a new study of chemical hazards in picnic products sold at top ten national retailers, finding most have one or more hazardous chemicals linked to serious health problems. The nonprofit Ecology Center tested 58 common outdoor picnic products for substances that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer. Products tested included tablecloths, placemats, picnic baskets, coolers, water toys, folding chairs and umbrellas purchased from 8 of the top 10 national retailers: Lowes, Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, Kroger and Costco. The results were released today on the easy-to-use consumer website - www.HealthyStuff.org - which also includes prior research on toys, car seats, pet products, cars, women’s handbags, back-to-school products and children’s car seats.

Alternative Choices for Your Next Picnic

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.

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.

The good news news is that there are things you can do. Click here for more information and to download our Lawn & Garden Shopping Guide. Our list of PVC-free garden hoses is available here.

Poison in Paint, Toxics in Toys

December 13, 2011

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.

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.

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.

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