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healthy alternatives to play sand

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
My 4-yr old dd loves to dig and play in sand but I just found out the play sand sold at hardware stores (quikrete brand) is silica which can cause silicosis, TB, cancer, etc. Bad stuff! So, we are not getting any this year. (we had some last year ) But, what to put in the sand box? Anyone have any creative ideas other than dirt? Dirt would be ok but the good thing about sand is that it is larger than dirt, less likely to grind into clothes. I was thinking bark would be too large and some bark is treated any way. But, some playgrounds have bark. Pebbles might be ok. Some playgrounds have pebbles.

What else can you do with a sand box other than put sand in it? Any other ideas?

I do know of a website called safesand.com but their sand is $185 for a 200 lb bag. The quikrete is only $64 for 200 lbs. Big cost difference! I am still not buying the quikrete but the safesand is too expensive.
post #2 of 28
I know someone who uses pea gravel in her sand box. She likes it because it's way less likely to get tracked in to the house. The kids all seem to like it just as well as sand. They can still dig and scoop, just not do the sand-castle, molding thing you can do with sand.
post #3 of 28
We get our sand from a landscaping company. We pay $20 for a 1/2 tonne truckload which is way more than what we need for our sandboxes.
post #4 of 28
I didn't know it was silica!!! Yikes.

On the off note, I hate sand. I bought some for the kids. Bad move. I've been vacuuming every day, at least twice a day and it's still in the house. :
post #5 of 28
Did the sand you were looking at clearly say "Play Sand" on the bags? Most sand sold in bags at hardware stores do indeed contain silica - but bags marked "Play Sand" do not. Ask specifically for "play sand"... the bags we find here in the northeast are green and orange and have line art of kids printed on the outside.

Hope that helps!
post #6 of 28
Ah... phew. I feel better, lol.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle1k View Post
Did the sand you were looking at clearly say "Play Sand" on the bags? Most sand sold in bags at hardware stores do indeed contain silica - but bags marked "Play Sand" do not. Ask specifically for "play sand"... the bags we find here in the northeast are green and orange and have line art of kids printed on the outside.

Hope that helps!
Sadly, you are wrong. This is the problem. Play sand is hazardous!

You are referring to the Quikrete play sand, the same kind sold at Lowes where I am. Visit the link below, download the MSDS documnet (a pdf file) and read about it:

"EMERGENCY OVERVIEW: Crystalline silica (quartz) Note: Keeping Play Sand damp eliminates the hazards associated with its dust. OSHA REGULATORY STATUS This material is considered hazardous under the OSHA Hazard Communications Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS: Inhalation: a. Silicosis Respirable crystalline silica (quartz) can cause silicosis, a fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs. Silicosis may be progressive; it may lead to disability and death. b. Lung Cancer Crystalline silica (quartz) inhaled from occupational sources is classified as carcinogenic to humans. c. Tuberculosis Silicosis increases the risk of tuberculosis."



http://www.quikrete.com/ProductLines...remiumPlay.asp


Pea gravel is a great idea. Thanks!
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowpansy View Post
"EMERGENCY OVERVIEW: Crystalline silica (quartz) Note: Keeping Play Sand damp eliminates the hazards associated with its dust. OSHA REGULATORY STATUS This material is considered hazardous under the OSHA Hazard Communications Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS: Inhalation: a. Silicosis Respirable crystalline silica (quartz) can cause silicosis, a fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs. Silicosis may be progressive; it may lead to disability and death. b. Lung Cancer Crystalline silica (quartz) inhaled from occupational sources is classified as carcinogenic to humans. c. Tuberculosis Silicosis increases the risk of tuberculosis."
Right, but the issue is only with dust. Any small inhalable particles are potentially bad for your lungs over lots of exposure. Construction work, sandblasting, some kinds of art material uses, might produce significant quantities of inhalable silica dust. But the proportion of the contents of any bag of sand small enough to inhale is likely to be extremely small. Damp sand, as the quote above points out, is no risk. I'm not knocking your decision, but I am also not worried about my ds playing in the sand.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Just does not seem worth the risk to me. We had this last summer and dd plays in it constantly, for hours a day. She always had dust on her. Seems like an easy one to protect her from. As the greenguide article below states, children breathe proportionately more air than adults. The greenguide article also states there are no known incidents of cancer in children known to be caused by sand but, again, it seems like an easy thing to protect kids from. This probably explains why parks increasingly don't have sand boxes. That and they get full of animal poop!

Some sand also contains asbestos!

More info:

http://www.checnet.org/healthehouse/...sp?Main_ID=949

http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/120/play
post #10 of 28
Don't you let your children play on beaches? Sea sand also contains silica...
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle1k View Post
Don't you let your children play on beaches? Sea sand also contains silica...
According to the checnet article referenced above, sea sand is different. Inland beach sand may be silica but not sand near the oceans. Inland beaches are usually near lakes, rivers, and streams and are usually wet at least part of the day. Large sea beaches are often quite dry but they are not silica so no big deal. Wetness keesp the dust down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand
post #12 of 28
I've heard that an alternative would be to use dry beans and rice. Does that sound bad?
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma2libby View Post
I've heard that an alternative would be to use dry beans and rice. Does that sound bad?

That would be a great idea for indoors if you don't have pets! I can just see my dog eating it all.


But, I was meaning for outdoors. I really think we will do the pea gravel. It just sounds perfect.
post #14 of 28
For inside play we used wheat or other grains at our preschool.
post #15 of 28
We have pea gravel in a 4x4 two foot deep box. NO SAND IN HOUSE, no cat poop in it.
post #16 of 28
flaxseed. it feels really cool and is silky/relaxing.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsBirdie View Post
flaxseed. it feels really cool and is silky/relaxing.
Boy, you guys are bound and determined to get my dog's poops really regular, aren't you?
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowpansy View Post
Sadly, you are wrong. This is the problem. Play sand is hazardous!

You are referring to the Quikrete play sand, the same kind sold at Lowes where I am. Visit the link below, download the MSDS documnet (a pdf file) and read about it:

"EMERGENCY OVERVIEW: Crystalline silica (quartz) Note: Keeping Play Sand damp eliminates the hazards associated with its dust. OSHA REGULATORY STATUS This material is considered hazardous under the OSHA Hazard Communications Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS: Inhalation: a. Silicosis Respirable crystalline silica (quartz) can cause silicosis, a fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs. Silicosis may be progressive; it may lead to disability and death. b. Lung Cancer Crystalline silica (quartz) inhaled from occupational sources is classified as carcinogenic to humans. c. Tuberculosis Silicosis increases the risk of tuberculosis."



http://www.quikrete.com/ProductLines...remiumPlay.asp


Pea gravel is a great idea. Thanks!
Wow, thanks for this thread. I am really scared now. We spend a month at the seaside, in front of a beach, which however, is washed away by the sea every winter. Regularly, the town municipality every summer refills the beach with some cheap sand that it transports on the site with huge trucks. It makes a lot, a lot of dust. What can I do to minimize the danger?
post #19 of 28
Go to the beach after the sand is nice and wet. Like after a rain or a high tide.

Really, I think I'd just keep the sand wet. Given all the documented measurable hazards out there, I refused to get stressed over the theoretical ones:
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravin View Post
Go to the beach after the sand is nice and wet. Like after a rain or a high tide.

Really, I think I'd just keep the sand wet. Given all the documented measurable hazards out there, I refused to get stressed over the theoretical ones:
We're just in front of the beach, and it is difficult to keep the kids away from it.. but, good suggestion, I'll try...
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