What are the health implications of the chemicals in the saddle identified by Stiftung Warentest?
The woom saddle meets all legal requirements of the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), one of the most stringent regulations on the planet. Stiftung Warentest confirms this in its current test report.
But, Stiftung Warentest also tests for other substances at its own discretion that are not covered by the current regulations. Among these substances is the phthalate plasticiser Di(2-propylheptyl) phthalate (DPHP), which Stiftung Warentest found in the woom saddle.
Some experts believe that this substance can be harmful to health if it gets into the digestive system. Specifically, Stiftung Warentest states that in animal testing, DPHP harms the thyroid and pituitary glands. Every potentially harmful effect was derived from findings of experiments on rats and guinea pigs.
At present, the effects of this substance on the human body have not been determined, which is why the substance is not yet covered by an EU-wide regulation (REACH or SVHC, short for Substance of Very High Concern).
The extent to which DPHP may be absorbed through the skin has not been subject to medical research. As far as we know, there are no studies on this issue. Be that as it may, wearing clothing prevents this substance being absorbed through the skin. The plasticiser in the saddle is considered harmless according to the current state of knowledge, as long as young cyclists don't make a habit of riding with their bare skin against the saddle. As a manufacturer, we follow the current legislation and latest research to ensure maximum safety for our customers. Our saddle also fulfilled these requirements.
However, we want to go above and beyond the legal requirements and, wherever possible, sell products that are completely free of potentially harmful substances. That is why we are already engaged in intensive discussions with our manufacturer aimed at removing this plasticiser from our saddle in the future. With new saddle suppliers, this issue will be addressed up front.