Friday, March 7, 2008

Sandbagged

OK, this totally falls in the category of things that ought to be easier to do. I'm talking about buying safe sand for our kids' sandboxes.

I've heard before that there are dangerous types of sandbox sand, in fact, I've successfully bought washed river sand before because it's supposed to be safer (you know, the smaller bags of sand, the ones that cost 4x as much, and get snapped up in the first day they're put out?). But we had a few fabulous sunny days last week, and my kids are now addicted to being out on our patio playing in the 'box, so I thought I would run in quickly and grab some fresh sand before the waves of Asian Tiger mosquitos hit. It's early, right? It's not like I am trying in August so I should have a stab at a couple of the 14 bag-supply due to hit the DC area. After hitting up one hardware store and two garden supply stores, I am left with a resounding sense of frustration and it's not that I didn't let my fingers do the walking.

Can anyone please tell me why it is acceptable to have this warning label on a product labeled Play Sand? Marketed to children?

"This product contains small amounts of crystalline silica (CAS 148 08-60-7), a common mineral found in natural sands and stones. Excessive inhalation of respirate silica dust may cause cancer and lung disease. Avoid breathing dust. Wear appropriate respirator in dusty areas. First aid: move to fresh air." (emphasis mine)


The Green Guide basically says to keep your kids out of the sandbox (and off the asbestos laden pressure treated wood playsets for that matter). I can't do that. I mean, I survived sitting in the back of my parents' wood-paneled station wagon (the one with the rusted-out bottom floor we used to poke our feet through to run in place, Flintstones-style, at stoplights). So obviously I cannot deprive my children of the basic pleasure of sand. I just want either the sand manufacturers or the various sand-selling establishments in our area to wake up and realize there's a supply and demand issue here with the Safe Sand. (And a shout out to Strosnider's Hardware -- they don't have any safe sand but the manager actually thanked me for raising the issue).

The Berkeley Parents' Network has helpful archives, as always, on the subject, but we're still playing in the maze of tree roots in our former-fish-pond-of-a-sandbox (hey, you have a magnet of a drowning hazard in your backyard, you make lemonade).

Anyone know where to purchase safe sand?

11 comments:

wrekehavoc said...

good question. i'm going to go look at the bags of sand sitting outside waiting for me to refill the sandbox. i have a feeling i don't have safe sand, though the sand *in* our sandbox is probably not very safe now anyway since one of the kids left the lid off and the cats have converted it into a toilet. sigh.

Laura said...

Hey Mamabird -- Safe Sand has a 50lb bag for $60. Free Shipping.
2,000lbs is $998. Wow.

Alas, my kiddies are too big for the sandbox. Now, I spend all that money trying to feed them ...

MamaBird said...

wreke - sorry bout the cat poop. somehow the kiddie pool I threw on top of the sandbox isn't animal proof either. blecch.

and thanks, center down laura, for the tip. like the free shipping (altho having sand shipped makes even my light green heart skip a beat) and, um, well, golly that is some expensive SAND! sigh...

MamaBird said...

Hey folks, if you're in DC you can special order safe sand from Johnson's flower supply (244-6106) - talk to Mark Zimmerman. It's $7.99 for a 50-lb bag.

The Not Quite Crunchy Parent said...

Silica? Yikes.

Yet another treasure of childhood bites the dust.

I worry about the beach sand near our home...who knows what gets washed up there.

Melanie said...

The "Play Sand" from Home Depot is atrocious. We purchased it last year but ultimately didn't use it for the sand table.

Thanks for talking about this.

Anonymous said...

is safesand.com the only place to get safe sand? have many people bought from johnson's flower supply?

MamaBird said...

Safesand is the only place I could find in DC - Johnson's ordered some but when it came, we mutually decided their supplier had not provided silica-free sand based on the product labelling. Strosnider's in Bethesda also tried pretty hard to come up with silica-free sand and failed. American Plant Food might be worth a try since I didn't get very far with them (unlike at J's and S's where I called back and forth with a manager). If I do find any I will post.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone had any luck? I got a sandbox for our one-year old over a month ago, and am so hesitant to fill it up. I went to American Plant and theirs had the warning label about crystalline silica, and they said that was all they carry. Safesand.com is just so expensive!

MamaBird said...

No luck here either...I bought some with the warning at Strosnider's (I couldn't face the cost or the carbon tax of shipping *sand*). I read somewhere that if you keep it wetted down slightly it's better (ie keep the dust down). So the May rain's just the thing! Let us know if you track it down, though....

Shawn said...

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on the safety of play sands. I got some play sand from HD (brand name = pavestone) and it's the dustiest play sand that I've seen. There is no way I will let my son breath in that! But I guess no one had any luck finding 'safe' play sand in DC metro area.