Up until 2011, parents breathed a sigh of relief at the mention of the EVA foam mats. They were soft and shock-absorbent enough to cushion kids as they rolled on them and played with their toys. The construction of the mats did not hurt tender elbows and knees as kids fell and tumbled. Parents had discovered a wonderful way to keep their kids safe and comfortable as they played. In short, foam mats were the ally they needed in bringing up happy, healthy kids. The ANSES report released on July 15, 2011, changed all that.
What were the findings of the ANSES study?
ANSES was the French agency commissioned to conduct a study about the potential health risks of formamide exposure from EVA foam mats. According to its findings, formamide, classified as a reprotoxic substance, adversely affected development in infants and affected reproductivity– sexual function and fertility—in adult males and females. Though the tests had only been conducted on rats, data from rats that were exposed to formamide throughout their lifetimes suggested a potential carcinogenic effect (tumors). More research was needed to make a confident assertion about this, but the potential carcinogenic effects of prolonged exposure could not be excluded, the report said. The report resulted in EVA foam mats being banned in France and Belgium.
What is formamide?
Formamide is used as a solvent, plasticiser or additive in the chemical, pharmaceutical, plastics and polymer industries. Technically, formamide is not ‘used’ in the manufacturing process but is a ‘by-product’ of the process. This means manufacturers cannot be faulted when they say the chemical is not used in the production.
Though the ANSES report created quite a stir when it was released, other independent studies were conducted over time and they released their analyses too. According to them, the risks from formamide were not as magnified as the ANSES report suggested. They all, however, generally agreed on some things:
- The greatest degree of formamide exposure came almost exclusively through inhalation. Exposure through sucking, chewing, or swallowing a piece of the mat was negligible.
- The highest levels of formamide emissions occur in the first one or two weeks of use. After this, the amount of formamide released reduces to almost negligible amounts. This means that if EVA foam mats are allowed to sit outside on the veranda or in a garage for a couple of weeks or more to “off-gas”, they would be considerably safer to use.
- Adults are almost never affected by formamide, but children are vulnerable to it.
This was not enough to appease parents, who were concerned about the health and safety of their children. Many started exploring other options such as pure rubber mats, wool rugs, cotton mattresses etc. However, none of these could match the cushioning that EVA mats offered. It was against this backdrop that Dwinguler introduced a play mat that adhered to the highest degree of safety in play mats and was a delight for kids.
The Dwinguler Playmat safety edge
Dwinguler Playmats are free from formamide; from harmful heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium, selenium, arsenic, barium, antimony or mercury; from toxic materials such as formaldehyde and toluene; from phthalate chemicals; and from endocrine disrupters. The play mats are extremely safe for kids and the environment. It is not just the company’s publicity machine doing its job—the play mats have been laboratory tested and have passed the CPSIA and European Toy Safety Standards, making them high quality and extremely safe.
Safety also comes in the form of a non-slip surface that helps reduce minor falls and bumps. The superior padded construction of the mats cushions tender knees, heads and wrists against serious injury in case of a fall. Parents worried about the offensive chemical odours that play mats often emit were delighted to find Dwinguler mats pleasantly odor-free.
In addition, the play mats were rich in colours, interesting graphics and educative elements. Kids found them visually engaging and they learned quite a bit from just hanging out on these lovely play mats.
Dwinguler has proved that it is one of the best play mats in the market. Parents can rest assured that when they purchase a Dwinguler Playmat, they are buying the safest one for their children. In fact, an increasing number of parents across the world are choosing to trust Dwinguler for its safety. From the day they made that decision, they have had no reason to regret it.