Safe gyms without flame retardants
Things you can do to reduce flame retardants in gyms:
1) Test your gym’s foam pit for flame retardants and replace if needed
Here’s the link for free testing – they only need a small bit of foam.
2) Share our Fact Sheet
Read and share with your gym, friends, and booster club!
3) Hang a Poster to Encourage Hand-washing
Washing hands after practice and before eating may help gymnasts and coaches reduce their exposure to flame retardants. Higher levels of flame retardants have been found on gymnast’s hands after practice , and people who wash their hands with soap and water several times throughout the day have lower levels of flame retardants in their bodies [2,3]. Wipes may be a good alternative to washing, however hand sanitizer is not expected to be effective at removing flame retardants from the skin.
4) Take Precautions when Cleaning or Removing a Foam Pit
Cleaning the loose foam pit (jump pit) suspends dust that can be inhaled and/or subsequently swallowed. Extremely high levels of flame retardants have been measured in dust from foam pits as well as on the hands of coaches after replacing a foam pit. Strategies to reduce personal exposure include avoidance of these activities, wearing protective clothing, using a dust mask, and washing soon after. We suggest using a mask rated N95 (or higher) for solid particulates with an exhaust valve, which can be purchased at most hardware stores. The exhaust valve is useful to improve the ability to breathe during those activities.
5) Preferentially Purchase Flame Retardant Free Foam Equipment
Many suppliers now offer flame retardant free pit cubes upon request (i.e., BFF Foam Corporation, Future Foam). We suggest asking your supplier to provide a document in writing that foam equipment or pit cube covers is ‘free of all flame retardant chemicals’. ‘Free of harmful flame retardants’ may contain potentially harmful flame retardants. ‘Certipur’ indicates that the foam is free of other known contaminants, however is not necessarily free of flame retardants (i.e., it may contain components of the Firemaster mixture such as triphenyl phosphate). Foam that is free of flame retardants should be similar in price, or less expensive, than if it contains flame retardant chemicals. Landing mats with a vinyl cover should not need to contain flame retardants to meet flammability standards.
6) Stay Updated
Join our email list to stay updated about ongoing research on pit cubes and fire safety as well as interventions for reducing gymnast exposure to flame retardants.