Latest News on EVA Foam Puzzle Mats

We wanted to give you our latest update on the EVA (Ethylenvinylacetat) Foam Puzzle Mats. We were the first blog in the US reporting the recall on EVA foam mats last year and we have received plenty of emails and comments from you all since.

EVA can be produced very cheaply, that’s why it’s so widely used in products ranging from foam mats, bath toys to flip flops and more. Formamide doesn’t smell, is easily absorbed through breathing, skin contact or mouth.

Weekly emails from our readers are consistently asking us if a particular foam mat found online or at a store is SAFE. We also receive many emails from EVA foam puzzle mat manufacturers, resellers and distributors, assuring us that their foam mats are safe AND asking us to update our chart. DON’T STOP READING HERE…..

Why the Formamide Free Statement Is Meaningless

We actually decided NOT TO update our chart, as the whole ‘formamide free’ statement is meaningless. Formamide is usually tested to ONLY a certain level (10mg/kg) and if it passes that level, then test results say ‘PASS’ which translates to ‘formamide free’. At this time, there is NO 100% formamide FREE EVA foam puzzle mat. The government doesn’t regulate Formamide in the US. What also stinks (literally) is that most of the mats are sold in packaging made of toxic PVC!

So please no more emails from manufacturers regarding us updating our chart and stating your mat is “safe” unless it is a mat that does not contain EVA foam!

 

I am closely following the latest news on Formamide in Foam Puzzle Mats in Europe, and came across an extensive Test Report by OEKO-TEST Magazine in Germany, done in June 2011. OEKO-TEST took a very close look at foam mats and had them thoroughly tested.

Who is OEKO TEST Magazine?

OEKO-TEST is a independent and very reputable consumer watchdog magazine that evaluates and ranks various consumer products for its effect on health & environment. It is similar to Consumer Reports in the US, but with a much stronger emphasis on consumer safety and health.

OEKO-TEST took matters in their own hands and had various foam mats extensively tested. They sent over 15 different foam mats by different manufacturers, also sold in the US, to the lab for testing. Practically all foam mats are produced in China.

The detailed OEKO-TEST Report on Foam Mat Results can be viewed and purchased here.

OEKO-TEST conclusion after reviewing the EVA foam puzzle mat test results:

Here is what Oeko Test concluded after they reviewed the test results:

  • No foam mat was free of Formamide and/or PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), therefore we DO NOT recommend purchasing a foam mat.

  • PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) which can cause cancer has also been found in most of the foam mats in unacceptable levels unsafe for small children.

  • Foam Mats that don’t smell, still outgass. Airing the mat doesn’t help. TUEV Rheinland LGA, working with OEKO-TEST testing the foam mats aired the mat over a long period of time.

  • Children are under a current because the rough (top) part of the puzzle mat can emit an elevated level of electro static current of over 500 volt. The flat surface of the back of the mat is often even higher.

THE TEST CONCLUDED, OEKO-TEST MAGAZINE DOES NOT RECOMMEND ANY FOAM MATS.

How did the Manufacturer react after Oeko Test’s test results?

Most of them said they’re working on a formamide free foam mat.

Can we trust a Formamide Free labeled EVA foam mat? No, you can’t be a 100% sure. OEKO Test said they will test each Foam Mat that’s labeled ‘formamide free’ to make sure it’s truthfully labeled.

NEW French Regulation on Formamide in Foam Puzzle Mats

The new regulations were published in the Official Journal of the French Republic (OJFR) on July 22, 2011. Foam Puzzle mats are still banned in France until at least July 20, 2012, unless the manufacturer, importer or distributor can demonstrate compliance with any one of three conditions below:

“Formamide shouldn’t be used in baby products. Formamide is more harmful than Phthalate.”

– Dr. Hermann Kurse, Toxicologist at the University of Kiel in Germany

 

Past Updates From SAFbaby On Toxic Puzzle Mats

UPDATES ON MAY 5th, 2011:

As of today we have become aware of a new concern around foam mat manufacturers and this leads us to personally believe that ALL EVA FOAM MATS are not to be trusted as healthy products. We would personally not have them in our homes because there just are not enough regulations. A foam mat can be riddled with formamide and a manufacturer and retailer can hide behind the claim that their product meets all safety regulations.

The following post contains information that we have been gathering for months, the following info suggests 2 companies may have undetectable levels of formamide present, but again, as of today we personally would not use eva foam mats in our homes. You must weigh your own concerns

The manufacturers of EDUSHAPE EDUTILES Foam Mats has requested we immediately remove their lab results from our site. We feel that this information should be easily accessible to all parents and that hiding this information is not right.

Because they want us to remove their lab results immediately, it gives us a very unsettling feeling about these mats. As a parent, how does it make you feel to know that you do not have legal access to these lab results?

LATEST UPDATES ON FEBRUARY 10, 2011:

  • TEST RESULTS: See our formamide chart below.
  • EDUSHAPE EDUTILES: We got some additional test results in on formamide. No formamide has been detected on their mats. See results on bottom of this post.
  • TADPOLES PLAYMATS: We had an expert look at the lab results and he said that their report does not mention formamide and that they only did a SGS screening, not testing. We ask company for additional test results and if they could clarify the report for us.
  • SOFT TILES: They contacted us after they saw our posts to assure us that their foam puzzle mats are formamide free. We added them to our chart and test results can be viewed on the bottom of this post. The formamide level is at a very low level, at 10mg/kg.
  • 1 # QUESTION FROM OUR READERS: Are only NEW foam mats toxic, how about older mats? The Belgian journal did notice, that the concentration of all substances in the air did decrease dramatically over a period of 14 days. All these substances are volatile, they leave the material over time and go into the air. They are then decomposed over time in the air due to UV rays. However, there is no information about how the concentration is changing in the material itself over time.
  • BATH FOAM TOYS BY ALEX TOYS AND SASSY: We contacted Alex Toys and Sassy several times but have not heard back from them.

We’ll keep you posted about any new updates on Formamide!

Finding out the truth regarding which play foam mats are truly formamide free has been a journey! We want the truth, LAB RESULTS, and we are not taking our babies (and your babies!) health for granted by accepting petty claims, to ultimately sell a product, as justifying truth that it is safe.

Listen people, it is so sad to say, but it is the straight up truth: You can not trust a company’s claims that they are selling you a safe product unless they can provide you with the proven truth! As a parent we deserve to see lab results proving any claims that a product is free from chemicals they claim are not present in the products we surround our children with. Honesty is a quality of integrity and we suggest only supporting those companies that are trustworthy!

We have been torn over this subject for a few reasons. First, companies have given us the weakest excuses for not proving factual truth behind their formamide free claims. Excuses like, “This information is only given to our retailers.” And more fishy final comments like, ” Due to proprietorship, we are unable to provide you with the lab results.” (Find out which manufacturers are beating around the bush in our graph below).

Second, we have seen blog posts out there that state certain companies are formamide free, but they are NOT offering the lab results to prove these claims. This is baffling because, as you will see in our detailed report below, only 3 out of 11 companies were actually able to prove their formamine free claims to us!!!! As a concerned parent, this is disturbing. We have the actual lab results for you today. We have the proof that is worth trusting in.

Finally, (unfortunately but not surprising) there are NO formal government standards in the United States regarding formamide. So, if a company tells you “our products conform or exceed current CPSC and ASTM standards,” then you can just laugh out loud and not be taken a fool by them. Our government won’t take in their hands the safety of our children, but we will. Please share this information with all of your friend!

We’re on a mission to make Play Mats safe!! Because they can be.

Foam Puzzle Mats Banned In France

Plenty of concerned comments came in after we posted Foam Puzzle Mat Immediate Removal In France Due to Toxic Formamide and More News On Foam Puzzle Mats And Reproductive Carcinogens.

As we already mentioned in our previous post, Europe has taken drastic action regarding Formamide: The formamide is also one of the substances known as “CMR (carcinogenic and / or mutagenic or toxic to reproduction) for the European Union, as a reproductive toxicant. The use of CMR substances in toys will be prohibited in all countries of the European Union from July 2013 under a directive came into force in summer 2009.

We contacted the main manufacturers of foam mats in the US about Formamide and requested test results to proof that they are indeed free of formamide. Below are our findings!

Formamide Free Foam and Play Mats With Lab Results

Who is telling the truth about their formamide free play mat claims and who is stretching the truth (or just dragging their feet)? This is the only report that is graphing the proof!

PLEASE VIEW THE FULL FORMAMIDE CHART OF MANUFACTURERS BELOW BY CLICKING ON FULL VIEW!!!

 

As a ‘thank you’ for getting this chart to you, please LIKE us on Facebook and tell your friends to join us too. We appreciate your support and if we bridge our voices, awareness will expand and change will happen for the better.

FOAM MAT COMPANIES STATEMENTS

Skip Hop Foam Mats

“We do not add Formamide to Playspot, although it can be a byproduct of the EVA foam manufacturing process. Playspots received the lowest possible score, <2ug/m3 (less than 2 millionths of a gram per cubic meter)

These tests show that – within the limits of the test – its presence is essentially not
detectable.”

Edushape Edutiles

“The on-going recall for foam mats in Europe is not related to our products. Rest assure that our foam tiles are safe, soft and durable.”
Edushape’s manufacturers have a strong aversion to us disclosing information from their lab results (stating this is a legal matter)”

Edushape asked us to immediately remove the test reports! Below is their letter:

“We are the distributor of the product and not the manufacturer; as such we did not test those mats ourselves, and are not the rightful owner of those reports- neither is your website. The manufacturer is demanding to remove those reports off your site and request your immediate compliance.

Please see this as our official request to remove your test report off your site. We do state that our foam mats comply with all ASTM, CPSIA guidelines and assure the safety of those products to your customers.” – Edushape

One Step Ahead

“We had our mats tested for the chemicals that are under investigation in Europe. Formamide has not been detected.”
“Due to proprietorship, we are unable to provide you with the lab results”

Kids Station Toys Little Scholastic

Our inquiry was forwarded to Upper Management. Still waiting for a response

ToysRus Imaginarium

Said response within 24 hours (still waiting). Sent 3 requests

Verdes Foam Mats

“Our mats were not part of the European recall.  Our foam mats contain non-detectable levels of Formamide at less than 10PPM (parts per million) and it is not an ingredient we add to our foam mats.”

Wondermats

No response

Get Rung

“Has not been tested for Formamide as of yet. Awaiting test results
“We are going to run a new test at a new lab for Formamide.”

Venture Playmats

(Costco & Right Start)

“We are working with accredited testing laboratories to analyze our foam material. Once the results are made available to us, we will take any necessary action to ensure that our foam products meet or exceed relevant U.S. and European safety standards.”

Awaiting Test Results

Tadpoles Playmats

“No they do not contain Formamide, please see the certificates of testing results.”

Test Results are not a 100% clear, so we asked Tadpoles to clarify. Still waiting!

Soft Tiles

“I saw your chart and I would like to add that SoftTiles.com has been tested this month and shown to be formamide free.”

Limit is set to 10 mg/kg
Test results show lower that 10mg/kg