Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Update on EVA Foam Play Mats

Back in December I found out from SafeMama that Belgium had banned the sale of all EVA foam play mats. I was curious as to what was happening and did a little research today. I found that France has joined Belgium in banning foam play mats andthe EU has plans to ban, too. The problem? "Formamides that are used to soften the foam in the mats but are corrosive and can be deadly. Toxicologist Alfred Bernard explained: “They are solvents, residues from the manufacturing process that stay in the product afterwards. They can be absorbed through breathing or through the skin."

I've read some blogs that are also covering this and I am a bit confused about what some manufacturers are telling US consumers since from my research, the toxic chemical, formamide, is a byproduct of the manufacturing process and become inherent in the materials. Some manufacturers are standing by the old "conforms to the ASTM standards" which does not test for formamide, as there is no US government standard in place, but gives most consumers, who are unaware, comfort thinking they are safe. Other manufacturers are saying they are testing and finding low levels. If that were the case, I don't know why Belgium and France have banned all brands rather than having them adhere to a standard level(as is set for most other chemicals). I will keep digging but my gut tells me that either any exposure is serious enough to cause the ban or it is inherent in the material from the manufacturing process. Safbaby has a comprehensive chart of those manufacturers who have given data to "prove" their mats are safe. As you will see, only 2 manufacturers have given lab results to show a low level of formamides. If they really wanted to assure parents of the safety of their product, they would not stand behind excuses like "the results are proprietary" or "the results can only be given to our retailers".

This also affects the foam bath letters (We had Sassy brand letters/numbers) and I've read but not confirmed that flip-flops could be affected as well.

UPDATE: Here are the latest results from Safbaby. It's sad that only 3 of the 10 manufacturers contacted where able to provide proof that their products did not contain formamide.

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