Swim equipment can endanger your fertility

Flip-flops, swim wetsuits, goggles and similar products may contain chemicals of very high concern. Track them down with the app Scan4Chem!

On the way to the pool or natural water, we often use bathing shoes or bathing shoes. In the water of the swimming pool, lakes or the sea, we use water wings, snorkels, swimming goggles and much more. Many of these products are made of plastics. And they may contain harmful substances. Among the most worrisome pollutants that may be contained are the so-called “substances of very high concern”; abbreviated as SVHCs. With the help of the scan4chem app, you can ask manufacturers or stores whether their products contain these substances.

The pollutants
Products made of soft plastic, such as flip-flops or water wings, can contain plasticizers of concern. For example phthalates, which can affect fertility and/or harm the baby in the womb. Many have already been identified to disrupt the hormone systems of humans and animals, some are suspected for this.
Swimming noodles, swimming boards and other products are made of foam. Here, among others, the following SVHCs may be present:
• carcinogenic or at least suspected carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), some of which are SVHCs
• formamide. In 2018, the German consumer magazine Ökotest found formamide in concentrations above 0.1% in almost half of the swim aids tested. Among other dangerous properties, this substance can impair fertility or harm the fetus.

Silicone, as material for swimming goggles, snorkels and similar products, may contain so-called cyclic siloxanes. These SVHCs are also suspected to affect fertility. And they are very dangerous for the environment.

How to avoid such substances
– Refrain from cheap goods, products made of soft, black plastics and strong-smelling plastics! These are more likely to be contaminated.
– But: Formamide is, like other SVHCs, odourless. It is often found in foam rubber. This plastic is also abbreviated as EVAC or EVA and is also used, for example, for puzzle mats.
– Use your right to know! You have the right to ask producers and retailers about the presence of SVHCs under the EU Chemicals Regulation REACH. SVHCs can be carcinogenic, reprotoxic and mutagenic, they can be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, or very persistent and very bioaccumulative, or of a similar level of concern, such as endocrine disruptive (affect the hormone system).

Let´s make a change
With the Scan4Chem app you can scan the barcode of a product and ask swim equipment manufacturers and retailers about the presence of chemicals of very high concern. This way, it can help you to choose safer products. It will also show the companies that we, the consumers, care and do not want to buy products containing hazardous substances.
Use the Scan4Chem app and find out if your favourite producer of swim equipment has phased out these substances from their production.
Download the app and send your requests. Together we can make products safer!