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Öko-Test: Almost all children's rubber boots contain substances that are harmful to health
In the course of the rainy summer, rubber boots are currently very popular with parents and children. However, as the consumer magazine "Ökotest" found out in a recent study, most rubber boots contain numerous substances that are harmful to health, so caution is advised when buying rainproof footwear.
When testing 16 rubber boot models for children, almost all of the products did not meet the requirements of the consumer magazine "Ökotest". A single pair received the grade "sufficient", the remaining rubber boots scored "poor" or "insufficient". According to Ökotest, the reason for the poor rating of most rubber boots is the high level of pollutants. The children's rubber boots would have contained components of harmful dyes and carcinogenic chlorinated paraffins. Of the 15 rubber boots that did not meet the requirements of "Ökotest", three received the grade "poor" and twelve the grade "insufficient", reports the consumer magazine. According to the testers, a product was even rated as “not marketable” because the permissible limit values for the prohibited color block p-aminoazobenzene in the shoelace were significantly above the official limit value. Overall, given the content of harmful substances, none of the rubber boot models examined is recommended, according to the experts.
Harmful substances in children's rubber boots According to “Ökotest”, the chlorinated paraffins in particular are a not insignificant health risk, since they are considered to be an environmentally hazardous substance with high bioaccumulation potential. According to the experts, the pollutants accumulate in the adipose tissue, the kidneys and the liver, although the acute toxicity is relatively low, but chlorinated paraffins can be carcinogenic in the long term. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins have therefore been banned throughout Europe since 2002, for example in the metalworking industry and in leather processing. Excessive contact with the pollutants must be avoided urgently. However, this is not easy, since most manufacturers do not provide any information about the materials used in the production, explained "Ökotest". Rubber boots usually consist of synthetic rubber or a plastic mixture, which are made "waterproof and at the same time smooth" by a variety of chemical tricks, reports "Ökotest". Among other things, harmful plasticizers as well as plasticizer oils, which can also contain a lot of harmful substances, are used. However, the products made from natural rubber "experience has shown that they are not much better," according to the consumer magazine.
Rubber boots unsuitable for beginners According to “Ökotest”, the use of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and the so-called polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in the manufacture of children's rubber boots is also problematic. The consumer magazine sharply criticized the unwillingness of the manufacturers to reduce the pollution in the rubber boots. In addition, rubber boots are not for toddlers anyway, because "you don't have as good a hold in them as in sturdy shoes," explained the medical director of pediatric orthopedics and foot surgery at the University Hospital Freiburg, Dr. Ludwig Schwering. Wearing rubber boots is not a problem in principle for a healthy child's foot, "but beginners find it difficult to get started in the flexible boots," emphasized the expert. Therefore, according to the “Ökotest”, parents should in any case wait to buy rubber boots until the little ones “have a reasonably safe walk”. (fp)
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Image: Susanne Schmich / pixelio.de