Cool Toys Pic of the day – HealthyStuff



I found out about this last weekend, after unknowingly working with
the one of the lead people behind the site for about a year. Oh. The
University of Michigan School of Public Health has this wonderful
program to facilitate boundaryspanning collaborations between campus
and off-campus (specifically individuals affiliated with a wide
variety of organizations and locations, from local to global!). The
program is called the Visiting Partners Program:

Visiting Partners Program in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety:

Last weekend they had a day and a half program with presentations from
the participants completing their year. I heard about this because I
was one of the team of librarians supporting the research projects. I
learned so much, and I expect to be sharing some of the new tools and
concepts I picked up here for probably weeks to come. I learned a LOT.
This is just the first installment from my gleanings at the VPP.

So, HealthyStuff is a project from the Ecology Center, which includes
a handful of people who are or have been affiliated with the
University of Michigan.

Ecology Center:

(That is one thing I wish HealthyStuff did better — acknowledge the
people working on the project on the actual site, rather than making
people go check out their sponsoring organizations to find who are the
experts behind the data.)

So HealthyStuff uses all kinds of nifty tech tools and science
techniques and partnerships to test a variety of consumer goods for
the presence of potentially dangerous chemicals. Then they make the
information available. You can browse, or search their website. They
have a mobile accessible site, to make it easier.

They provide reports that look in depth at types of products, like
their report from last winter about the presence of lead in the
plastic wrappings of the wires in holiday lights. The recommendation

a) don’t let your kids handle the lights, and
b) wash your hands after decorating the tree (or the walls, or
anywhere else you hang decorative lights).

You can dig into the reports with a fair amount of depth. I confess I
was impressed and surprised to find that Home Depot was selling
holiday lights that had NO lead in them, unlike most of the other
major store chains where these were being sold.

Identification of flame retardants in polyurethane foam collected from
baby products:…

Their next report is going to be very very interesting for the readers
of this blog, but I want to be able to blog it then and not scoop
myself now (not to mention that the data is still coming in, and we
want the data, right?). Suffice it to say they are looking into
electronic devices. There’s a world of them these days.

There is such a wealth of information on the site, I don’t even know
where to begin. The take home message is: “Go. Look. Learn. You’ll be
glad you did.”


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