Many people engage in home workouts that they believe are good for them, when the equipment they’re using may actually be toxic. Equipment such as yoga mats and dumbbells may contain certain toxic chemicals that put users’ health at risk.
Yoga Mat Toxins
Yoga mats may contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is potentially toxic. PVC releases numerous harmful chemicals, such as lead, dioxins, vinyl chloride, and cadmium. All of these chemicals appear on Proposition 65 labels that many products feature if they contain them. Chemicals appearing on the Proposition 65 list are those that have been shown to cause cancer or birth defects.
Instead of a PVC yoga mat, it’s best to seek a rubber mat, specifically one made from 100% natural rubber. Other potential alternatives are made from a vegetable fiber called jute, organic cotton, and cork.
Dumbbells and Kettlebells
While mishandling of dumbbells and kettlebells increases the chances of causing an accident, they may also contain toxic chemicals like yoga mats.
Similar to mats, dumbbells and kettlebells often feature PVC in their wrapping that presents certain health risks. In lieu of PVC-wrapped dumbbells and kettlebells, use equipment made with chrome, iron, or steel and which doesn’t come with any type of coating.
Many exercise balls are made from PVC, which manufacturers often claim helps make these balls bouncy and durable. Although some companies offer exercise balls made from thermoplastic rubber (TPR), very few studies reveal the health effects of this material. Instead, consider using a silicone-based ball or avoid this type of equipment entirely.
Another potentially harmful substance to keep in mind is ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), which is used in certain foam materials such as floor pads. Manufacturers tend to use EVA foam as an alternative to neoprene, natural rubber, and other materials. However, EVA releases a toxic chemical called formamide that’s responsible for keeping mats soft.
Studies have shown that EVA can cause certain reproductive harm, potentially leading to injuries and illnesses. To avoid this and other harmful chemicals in floor pads, opt for those made with natural rubber or choose a yoga mat made with other organic materials. It’s important to stay away from mats made with synthetic or recycled rubber, both of which contain certain harmful chemicals, including phthalates, that appear on the Proposition 65 list.
Taking the right steps to find the best equipment can make home workouts consistently safer. Using equipment that doesn’t contain PVC, EVA, or other harmful chemicals will make for healthier workouts and a healthier overall lifestyle.