September 19, 2009

Make a Healthy Choice about Household Products Using

Concerned about whether your everyday household goods contain toxic chemicals? You can now visit to find out. contains test results on 900 common items, from toys to school supplies to women’s handbags. The testing – done by the nonprofit, Ann Arbor-based, environmental organization, the Ecology Center – analyzed products for lead, cadmium, mercury, bromine, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and arsenic. These chemicals, which build up over time in the body, have been linked to liver toxicity, thyroid disorders, learning disabilities, cancer, developmental disabilities, reproductive disorders, and other health issues.

Among the findings was the presence of “chemicals of concern” in most of the more than 60 common back-to-school supplies (e.g., backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil cases, binders) tested. Nearly 90% contained one or more toxins, 22% contained detectable levels of lead, and “far too many” were made of polyvinyl chloride.

Among pet products – including chew toys, beds, leashes, and collars – which are not regulated by the government, 25% had detectable levels of lead. Of these, 7% had levels greater than 300 parts per million (ppm), the current standard for lead in children’s products set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A surprising finding was the amount of lead in women’s handbags. Of the 100 handbags tested, 64% contained more than 300 ppm lead, and 50% topped 1,000 ppm lead.

The Ecology Center hopes that consumers use the information on this site to make healthy choices and purchases. The site so invites consumers to take action and urge government officials and manufacturers to phase out lead, arsenic, and other hazardous substances from consumer products.

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