We have assessed the safety of consumer products under many scenarios of use and abuse. Our assessments have involved cleaning products, apparel, artists' materials, children's products, household appliances, carpets, playground equipment, synthetic turf, and other materials. Some of our assessments have been performed for manufacturers, distributors, or sellers doing due diligence or otherwise interested in product-stewardship. Regulatory requirements, on both the federal and state level, have also been the drivers of some of this work.
Synthetic turf fields
For several municipalities and a college, we assessed the safety of new and existing synthetic turf fields. We designed field studies to measure lead and other metals from synthetic turf, evaluated laboratory and field data reported by others, and developed guidelines for assessing health-risks to children or others playing on these fields. In response to community concerns, we also evaluated risks from injuries and infections, and assessed general and site-specific issues with regard to run-off from synthetic turf fields.
We assisted a manufacturer of arts and crafts materials in complying with regulations promulgated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission following passage of the Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act. These regulations required that the formulation of any material that might be used in an art or craft project be evaluated for potential chronic hazards to health. We developed expected and worst-case exposure scenarios, conducted detailed reviews of the health effects of component chemicals, and rendered opinions about the specific health warnings that should appear on the product. Toxicologic reviews conducted early in product development uncovered potential problems that were corrected in a timely manner.
In a court case, we assisted another manufacturer of art supplies that had been sued by a woman who gave birth to a malformed infant; the plaintiff alleged that she had been exposed on the job to one of the defendant's products and that this product was teratogenic. We researched the toxicologic and medical literature pertaining to the product components, researched the epidemiology of the birth defect, quantitatively estimated the plaintiff's exposure to the product, and testified in court on these subjects.
A maker of a natural-product-based cleaner sought our advice with regard to the possible carcinogenicity of its main ingredient. We researched and analyzed the relevant literature, and determined that the product was safe for its intended uses. We also addressed misunderstandings on the part of others concerned about the product-formulation.
Another maker and distributor of cleaning products and sanitizing agents asked us to evaluate potential chemical, microbiological, toxicological, and safety issues. We also assisted with regard to issues of labeling and warnings, and evaluated laundry-detergent enzymes with regard to their chemistry, consumer concerns, toxicology, and occupational studies.
Emissions of volatile organic compounds from carpets and related products have been of concern to some consumers and regulators. On several occasions, we have analyzed analytical chemical data on emissions generated under various conditions, and assessed the health significance of the findings. We have also critically reviewed the experimental methods used by some investigators, and found these methods to have generated unrepresentative or otherwise unreliable data. We have also made detailed assessments of the health-effects associated with low-level exposures to formaldehyde and related compounds. In projects involving emissions from carpets and other household materials, we have assessed claims of "multiple chemical sensitivity" ascribed to exposures to emissions from newly-installed materials and other sources.
Examples of other consumer product safety assessments may be found at in the discussion of Proposition 65 Assessments.