August 9th, 2013

Hidden Hazardous Chemicals in Your Backyard BBQ

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Groovy Green Livin Hazardous Chemicals

Picnic products can have hazardous chemicals

A new study finds that some picnic products sold at the top ten national retailers have one or more hazardous chemicals linked to serious health problems.

Are you surprised? 

Groovy Green Livin Hazardous Chemicals

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

Remember when I went into a local Walgreens and asked them to take steps to remove toxic chemicals from the products they sell. This was part of Safer Chemicals Healthy Familes Mind the Store campaign telling the nations top 10 retailers to get tough on toxic chemicals in consumer products. The good news is that 9 out of 10 retailers responded to this campaign.

Several of the retailers have responded, but Target hasn’t replied to any email, phone call or our formal letters!

Now back to the new study. 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 on and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families– which also includes prior research on toys, car seats, pet products, cars, women’s handbags, back-to-school products and children’s car seats.

Where hazardous chemicals were found 

  • Almost all (96%) products contained at least one or more chemicals of concern at detectable levels (40 ppm).  One-third (36%) had three or more.
  • 40% (23 of 58) contained PVC or chlorinated flame retardants (chlorine above 3,500 ppm) and 7% (4 of 58) contained brominated flame retardants (bromine above 400 ppm).
  • Hazardous heavy metals were also found in picnic products; 31% (18 of 58) had levels of antimony above 100 ppm; 22% (13 of 58) had levels of tin above 100 ppm. Four products contained levels of lead above 100 ppm including a fabric tablecloth that contained 1/4 pound of lead weights (4 one ounce lead weights sewn into each corner).
  • Four products contained one or more phthalates. A folding chair with a vinyl coating contained 17.1% by weight phthalates (16% DEHP and 1.1% DINP) and over 1,000 ppm antimony.

When I go to the store, it’s hard to know which products are safe, and which ones aren’t. Unfortunately there aren’t any laws requiring labeling of toxic chemicals, and weak federal laws allow many chemicals into everyday products. We’ve asked the nation’s top ten retailers to get tough on toxic chemicals.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting mighty tired of having to ask retailers to make sure their products are safe for us to use. The system is broken. Seems like common sense doesn’t it?

And what’s up with not hearing a peep from Target? Maybe our safety isn’t important to them? I find that hard to believe.

What you can do

It’s time that we use our collective voices to let Target know we mean business and we want them to get serious about creating an action plan on the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. Click HERE to let them know we’re serious.

Just curious- do you regularly shop at Target? I’m guessing many Groovy Green Livin readers do and would want a plan of action in place concerning hazardous chemicals!

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin

3 Responses to “Hidden Hazardous Chemicals in Your Backyard BBQ”

  1. Thanks for sharing this important information Lori! It’s really silly that consumers should have to try to navigate a toxic laden market place. I really hope retailers like Target will start to step up their policies on toxic chemicals!

  2. Thanks for bringing this important information about toxic chemicals in consumer products to light and calling for action. I signed the petition, shared on FB and tweeted it. We have to take action to drive change.
    Deborah Davis recently posted..Get Your Detox Juices Flowing: 5 Tasty & Nutritious, Organic Juicing RecipesMy Profile

  3. […] products that Walgreens sells containing one or more toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals include PVC, phthalates, and heavy metals that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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