Rubber boots for children contain unwanted substances

18. sep 2017

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has tested 13 pairs of rubber boots. Many contain unwanted substances such as PAH’s, and the authorities are notified about one pair of rubber boots with content of short chained chlorinated paraffins above the permitted limit.

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Rubber boots for children contain unwanted substances
Photo: The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals

Autumn is the season for rain, wind and rubber boots. Therefore The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemcials tested 13 rubber boots for children for content of problematic chemicals. The rubber boots in the test are all sold in the Danish market.

The test shows that all boots in the test had content of so-called PAHs in varying amounts. PAHs are tar substances which are suspected of being carcinogenic.

In some of the tested rubber boots there were also other problematic chemicals. In the tested rubber boots from the brand Aigle the test showed content of shortchained chlorinated paraffins in amounts above the permitted level. The substances are suspected to be endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic.

“Our test shows that it can be difficult to avoid problematic chemicals all together when you buy rubber boots for your children. For example we found unwanted PAHs in all tested boots. The amounts do vary quite a bit, and there are some reasonably good choices among the tested boots. Unfortunately we also found boots with too high level of chlorinated paraffins. We have notified the authorities about these,” says Christel Søgaard Kirkeby, project manager in The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

Aigle says that the company takes the results of the test very seriously. It has launched an extensive examination. The retailer says, that the tested model Aigle Print (Marine Etoile with stars) is revoked from Danish shops.

See the full test with product pictures (link to the test in Danish).

The cocktail effect is problematic – not the rubber boot in itself

In the test other rubber boots also showed content of problematic chemicals. Several boots contained a problematic PAH called naphthalene. The substance is classified as a suspected carcinogen. The rubber boots from Dunlop contained 40 percent of the phthalate DINP.

DINP is a suspected endocrine disruptor. The substance is allowed in rubber boots for children, but is restricted in toys, that can be placed in the mouth.

“Rubber boots, just like toys, are products, that children are in close contact with. Like in toys it is unwanted when rubber boots contain problematic chemicals. It is important to stress that a single rubber boot does not in itself constitute a health risk. But phthalates can for example be absorbed through your skin and it is the combined exposure to chemicals from many sources which can be problematic. This is known as the cocktail effect,” says Christel Søgaard Kirkeby.

Hevea who produces Dunlop says that the company complies in full with the European legislation for chemicals (REACH ) and points out that DINP is not found on the EU’s candidate list of substances of very high concern.

The test has been done in cooperation with other European consumer organisations in ICRT.

For further questions regarding the test contact project manager in The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals Christel Søgaard Kirkeby on csk@fbr.dk.