UPDATE: 12/12/2017

A reader alerted me to the fact that South Korean news was reporting that Cream Haus tested positive for dimethylacetamide (DMAc) at around 200+ ppm. I immediately contacted Brian, who is the US distributor for Cream Haus play mats, to find out more. This is his response:

[Editor’s note: I have made some minor edits and removed private. industry information, at the distributor’s request.]

Thanks for reaching out to me.

I’m aware of this issue in Korea and this is due to false claims/rumors. I will try my best to clarify as this is a bit complicated and hard to explain. And, of course, feel free to ask any questions and I will be more than happy to get some answers from Korea for you.

I think you need to understand the background on this first. Recently, there’s been a few serious incidents in Korea with big companies:

1) OXY – toxic humidifier disinfectant that even led to many deaths

2) Borny Korea – baby items that contained toxic chemicals causing skin rashes to babies and there’s been some blame towards the government for not stopping these companies from selling those products to public

These incidents caused everyone in Korea to become scared of hearing the word “chemical” because everyone’s relating it to toxicity.

CreamHaus had recently (back in July 2017) been approved to use the Eco-Friendly Label certified by the Korean Ministry of Environment. The Ministry was alerted that our mats contained this chemical called DMaC and asked to cancel the certification. There’s nothing wrong with other companies reporting if our mats do contain some toxic chemicals that can harm babies and children. However, the issue was that because there was no guideline on DMaC, the lab followed the testing method suggested by that party and this is where it went wrong.

First of all, DMaC is not one of the chemicals being used to make the materials for our mats. It was used to clean the machine producing the PU leather fabric and the claim is that there’s some left over chemicals on the surface of the PU leather.

The proper way to test the material is to check the undiluted solution and it was proven that no DMaC was found in the solution itself. If there’s any left over DMaC on the surface of the fabric, it wouldn’t be evenly spread out (since it’s not in the solution itself) so it needs to be checked in multiple spots and averaged out to see the actual value.

In our case, they should have checked at least 17 spots for the sample size they tested but they only checked 4 spots and did not average them out.

Based on the attached test results provided by the lab, they found 157ppm and 243ppm and 2 spots for less than minimum detectable amount. They cancelled the Eco Friendly Mark because 2 spots were found to be more than their suggested limit of 100ppm. (Note that 100ppm limit only applies if the chemical is being used in the solution itself.)

Our claim is that if they properly tested the play mat, there would not have been DMaC found and even if it was found on the surface, it would be much less than their suggested limit.

Additionally, OEKO-TEX and NORDIC ECO-LABEL, known for the highest testing standards, are among the only labs who have any guidelines regarding DMaC and even they list their limit as 500ppm and 1000ppm for baby products. (We are now in the process of getting OEKO-TEX certification with the same fabric.)

However, once the lab cancelled our Eco-Friendly Label, the news media started publishing about CreamHaus mats containing toxic chemicals and it got out of hand because it’s such an easy storyline for the reporters that feed into the public fear.

Since then, CreamHaus has filed a lawsuit against the lab within the Ministry of Environment over mistakenly/falsely cancelling the Eco-label and the court made the decision last week that we can continue to use the Eco-label and that the cancellation is not valid until the final trial. We’ve also filed complaints against some reporters who didn’t do proper fact checking and published that our mats contained toxic materials (a lot of these articles has disappeared in a week, though) and there have since been more balanced articles being published in the last few days now that the court has sided with us for the time being. [https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.mk.co.kr%2FnewsRead.php%3Fyear%3D2017%26no%3D822311&edit-text=&act=url]

When I started this business in the US, I knew that any false advertisement/claims could possibly lead to multiple lawsuits and that’s why I checked thoroughly to make sure there’s no safety issue, especially with baby products. There’s been no company like CreamHaus that controls the quality and safety of the materials they use. Therefore, there’s no change in my belief that our mats are completely safe despite these false claims/advertisements.

In fact, I think this incident will actually help us in the end because even the attached test report is showing a perfect result. The handwritten notes on the right side is the suggested limit but every toxic chemical is showing as the minimum detectable amount except for DMaC.

I know there’s a lot to digest and my explanation is probably very confusing but, like I said, I will get any info you need to help you understand and to prove that there’s nothing wrong with our mats and that there should be no concern about the safety.

I want to add that I did verify that Oeko-Tex Standard 100, an internationally respected textile testing agency, sets limits for DMAc at 1000ppm, which you can see here. Additionally, Oeko-Tex has an option for even stricter standards which sets limits for DMAc at 500ppm, see here. Both of these limits are significantly higher than the amount of DMAc that was found on the surface of the play mat and would pass Oeko-Tex standards.

Finally, Brian informed me that Cream Haus, due to the controversy, already ceased using DMAc as a solvent to clean the machines used in producing its polyurethane fabric.

At this time, based on his statement, the limits set by Oeko-Tex Standard 100, and the fact that the processes have already been changed, I am comfortable with leaving this play mat in my non-toxic guide. Of course, I welcome further discussion on this if anyone disagrees.

I know that many readers purchased Cream Haus play mats due to my recommendations. This is a responsibility that I take very seriously. If you still have any concerns, please contact Cream Haus directly at: [email protected]