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How do you picture the perfect backyard summer barbecue? Are the kids splashing and playing outdoors, maybe drinking from the water hose? I envy the moms who know how to effortlessly coordinated the picnic table with the bright, trendy tablecloth and other decor! Those retro commercials from Target with the picture-perfect family have inspired me to run out and shop for something clever and cute before having friends over for a cookout.
In 2013, with all of the innovative stuff we can purchase, would you believe there are still hidden hazards in some popular backyard goods? Scientists with the nonprofit Ecology Center report finding hazardous chemicals in summer backyard products from many of the nation’s leading retail stores. The testing on products from various stores found phthalates in a water sprinkler as well as phthalates in some garden hoses (in case you didn’t already know to not drink the water from them), lead weights in a tablecloth and controversial flame retardants in an outdoor folding chair. It found coolers with high levels of chlorine.
While the testing shows toxic substances in certain products, it is not able to measure whether those substances migrate out. Scientists were looking for substances linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer. Want to know which specific products were found with chemicals of concern in them from Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Costco, Lowes and Home Depot? You can read the complete list of specific findings at HealthyStuff.org.
“It’s outrageous that we can’t even enjoy the outdoors without these industrial hazards coming along for the ride, ” said Ecology Center lead researcher Jeff Gearhart. “Our testing shows that there is no escaping toxic chemicals. They show up everywhere, they’re in our cars, our homes, our offices and now we know they even follow us into the outdoors.”
Top retailers that sell these popular sorts of products are all being asked to Mind the Store and help ensure that toxins are not spoiling the outdoor fun. The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition has sent letters to the CEOs of ten top retailers and is still awaiting a response from Target. You can take action here asking Target to Mind the Store to help ensure safety with all the products it sells.