Health or Harm: What’s in Your Workout Bands?

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Workout bands have become an everyday necessity to the quarantine workout lifestyle. They are easy to use, lightweight, effective, and apparently, chemically toxic. Recent testing has shown that popular workout brands such as Adidas, Go Fit, and AmazonBasics have been selling products that have cancer-causing nitrosamines as a result of their latex processing. With the products’ increasing popularity, it is quite concerning that a tool oriented at helping your health could be harming you. 

Nitrosamines are by no means a “new” occurrence. Nitrosamine contamination of latex products is well known; for example, a 2019 study showed that latex gloves used posed significant exposure to nitrosamines. New testing, conducted by the Center for Environmental Health, found that these nine latex workout bands contain up to 6,000 times the levels allowed under California law without a warning. These chemicals have the potential to wreak havoc on your lungs, liver, kidney, bladder, stomach, esophagus, nasal sinuses, and even your brain. After this discovery, the Center for Environmental health filed notices against the corporations to remedy the situation or face legal action. 

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting families and communities from harmful chemicals. Emily Reder, the Research Manager at CEH who led the testing says, “as someone who uses resistance bands, this issue is personal. No one should be exposed to carcinogenic chemicals, especially from products marketed to help improve your health”. 

Given the dangerous potential of these products, it is imperative that companies disclose the chemical dangers to those purchasing. Under California’s Proposition 65, companies are required to warn consumers when they are facing such impactful health threats. The companies are then required to produce comprehensive labeling and disclosure to their customers. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, by holding companies accountable, Proposition 65 aims to incentivize corporations to limit the number of toxins throughout their products. The law serves as an alarm bell, triggering action on hazardous substances in our food, air, water, and the products we use every day.

Workout bands are just one example of the toxic exposure dangers all around us. Fortunately, Prop 65 provides a pathway for protection.