From BPA to phthalates, there’s no end to the unsettling headlines featuring toxic plastics these days. So it’s no surprise that as temperatures rise and summer dawns, parents have questions about the safety of the plastics used to make kiddie pools.
Many of these hot weather havens are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This is less than desirable. PVC is known as the “poison plastic” thanks to its remarkably toxic production and disposal processes as well as the fact that it contaminates both people and the environment with the endocrine-disrupting phthalates, which easily leach out of it. Since phthalate leaching increases when PVC is exposed to heat, this is clearly a concern for pools sitting for hours in the sun.
When shopping for a kiddie pool, look for those made from hard plastic, specifically types #2 or #4. Take a pass on any pool model made from #3 plastic—the recycling symbol for PVC. If you can’t locate an arrow on the bottom of the pool, keep in mind that inflatable kiddie pools are virtually always made from PVC and should be avoided.
That said some items—including kiddie pools—can be hard to find in PVC-free versions. If your only option is a PVC plastic pool model, you can greatly reduce phthalate exposure by frequently changing the water and preventing the pool from overheating in the sun. The benefits that come from having a wading spot are worth the effort. There’s plenty of learning and development that occurs when children engage in water play, not to mention the exercise and fresh air they get, and of course, the ability to cool off on a hot day.
If you are having a hard time finding a PVC-free pool, call or email manufacturers and let them know you’d like one. Picking up the phone and voting with your dollars are the best ways to let pool makers know you’d prefer your kid to have non-toxic aquatic adventures.
- Be Careful About Chlorine In Pools
- Practice Safer Sunscreening
- Avoid Phthalates: Find Phthalate-free Products Instead
Special thanks to Janelle Sorensen, who wrote the original June 2008 post from which this has been adapted.