Elevated levels of phthalates in Spongebob Squarepants vinyl rain ponchos


Guest post by Mike Schade from the Center for Health and Justice

New testing coordinated by CHEJ found elevated levels of phthalates in a Spongebob Squarepants vinyl rain poncho, at levels nearly seven times above the federal safety standard.

The brand new test results were released today at the DC Stroller Brigade coordinated by the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Campaign.   The event on Capitol Hill today features parents, children, and cancer survivors from around the country, for a “Stroller Brigade” and rally. Families will also meet with their US senators to urge federal reform that will: protect pregnant women, children and vulnerable communities, take immediate action on the most toxic chemicals, and allow states the ability to pass their own toxic chemical laws.

Our new testing revealed elevated levels of phthalates in a Spongebob Squarepants children’s vinyl rain poncho, which we purchased at Toys R Us’ flagship store in Times Square, NYC.

The lab found the Spongebob vinyl poncho contained 6,600 parts per million (ppm) of the phthalate Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP).   This phthalate is widely considered to be among the most toxic of all phthalates on the market.  The amount in the Spongebob Squarepants poncho  is nearly seven times greater than the level considered safe by the CPSC.  While phthalates have been banned in toys, they remain permitted in products like rain ponchos and children’s school supplies.  Low levels of lead were also detected in the raincoat.

The lab also found the product contained high levels of chlorine, indicating the raincoat is made out of vinyl (PVC) plastic.  Vinyl is the most toxic plastic for children’s health and the environment.  Its manufacture uses and releases hazardous chemicals including vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, mercury and dioxin, which are harmful to the communities and workers where it’s made and disposed of.

The new testing was funded by an innovative crowdfunding campaign CHEJ conducted on Indiegogo. We are hopeful that these new results will help educate US Senators on the need to reform our broken chemical safety laws.

New test results also released today by HealthyStuff.org found elevated levels of phthalates in dumbbells, over- the-ear headphones, and vinyl flooring.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on additional children’s school supply test results in the coming weeks.

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