Toxic Shocker

   Have you ever wondered what your city’s parks are cleaned with? What would you say or do if you found out that groundskeepers routinely spray a toxic cleaner on the playground equipment that your children play on? Unfortunately, this frightening scenario became a reality for New Yorkers yesterday when the Daily News reported that Goof-Off, a toxic cleaner containing harmful chemicals linked to “birth defects and other reproductive harm”, is being used in a number of parks across the city while children are actually playing on the equipment.
    I was particularly appalled to hear about the use of this cleaner around children because, ironically enough, I used Goof-off myself just this past Sunday. The task was to scrub a really tough, sticky residue (a housewarming present left by a previous tenant) off the bottom of my bathtub. So on one of my weekly trips to The Home Depot I set out to find a cleaner to get rid of the gunk that has taunted me for the last 6 months (I’ve been renovating – for a while). Alas, I found Goof-off, “The Ultimate Remover!” right next to Goo Gone on an otherwise empty shelf. You’re probably asking yourself why I bought a toxic cleaner. And there is no good answer other than when I read the warning label (first at the store and then more carefully before I used it) I felt it read no differently than any other professional strength cleaner I’ve come across. I’ve regrettably gotten used to using powerful chemicals to get tough jobs done.Goof_off_lineup

    When I went to apply the Goof-Off I followed the ‘safety precautions’ and put on latex gloves, rolled my sleeves down, and protected my eyes and face from the aerosol mist that I began to eject from the can. But within a couple of seconds I held my breath, and, realizing how potent the fumes were, I stopped spraying and immediately left the room. practically gasping for fresh air. Hours later the air was still contaminated and just those few sprays of Goof-off left me feeling light headed. Then I got nauseas and stayed feeling sick for over 24 hours. I couldn’t sleep and I began to question why I chose this cleaner in the first place.
    Three days later I heard Goof-off made the news and I’m now both embarrassed that I was so naïve and worried that others will unintentionally follow my footsteps. If I was so quickly affected by this “ultimate cleaner” I can’t even image the impact it would have on the bodies of little kids who unknowingly breathe in the fumes and touch the surface it was just sprayed on. Relying on powerful, chemical-heavy cleaners like Goof-off to do the dirty work is just not worth the possible long-term effects.
    Read the story here and see how one parent spoke up and brought much-needed attention to a very serious and potentially harmful situation for our kids.

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  1. by AJ

    On June 15, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    We don’t play in the grass immediately surrounding playground equipment. I’ve seen too many mothers pull down diapers and let their kids pee in the grass.

  2. by Dayngr

    On June 15, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    This is frightening. You’d think that there would be some criteria for the things the city uses in areas where kids play. Makes you wonder about the schools too.

  3. by Amy H

    On June 16, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Oh, wow, Dayngr – I’ve never thought of THAT, either!
    Scary stuff.
    And don’t feel too bad, Taryn. I’m usually under the assumption that if they sell it, it can’t be too bad. Or, I was not too long ago anyway.

  4. by Izzy

    On June 18, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Geez…do those people have no conscience whatsoever? Or just no common sense? And what about the residue? Just because it dries doesn’t mean the toxic properties are gone. They should be using elbow grease instead of poison.

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    On March 31, 2013 at 11:34 am

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