Why I Choose Maple Landmark’s Schoolhouse Naturals Line for Wooden Toys

As a mother who has researched the toxicity found in wooden baby products, I was so happy when I discovered Maple Landmark. I reached out to the company and asked them my typical questions; and I was so pleased with the honest, detailed and prompt email responses that I received in return. This is a company that genuinely cares about the quality of the products that they sell and provides an honest explanation about any possible toxicity that may be present in their wood. Here is my initial email to the company:

Good afternoon,

I am interested in your sorting bench and block sets. I would appreciate if you could answer the following questions:

  1. Are the products made from certified sustainable wood or hardwood; or pressed or engineered wood?
  2. Does it come unfinished?
  3. Is it completely lead and phthalate free?  or does it contain little amounts?
  4. Is this toy binded with adhesive that contains formaldehyde; what type of glue is used?

Thank you so much and I appreciate your response!

I received this detailed email in response:

Sandra,

Jill passed your email on to me to respond. We thank you for your interest in our products. Any answers we supply are written in an attempt to give you the full, honest case as we know it.

So, for example, we do not claim that our wood is “lead-free”, which you would interpret to mean it has zero lead. We do not guarantee that since wood is a natural substance and lead is a naturally occurring background element. We have never had lead detected in our wood (and yes it has been tested for lead), but there are also limits to what can be detected. In this respect you will find that our wood is no different than any other domestic supplier.

You do have to know that virtually all Asian logs are chemically treated with insecticides and fungicides. They generally are not on the list of reportable chemicals at the consumer level. We recently had problems shipping our product into Asia because it was not chemically treated.

We source our wood locally and it is not chemically treated at any stage in the process. It is not sustainably certified, which doesn’t mean it is harvested with a lack of concern for sustainability. Our local / regional mills have been in business for generations and there is more forest land in Vermont than 100 years ago. https://www.maplelandmark.com/infocenter/responsibility/foresthealth.lasso

In our area, there is a lack of certified material readily available, the cost of certification is too great for smaller companies. I would rather deal locally than haul in lumber from hundreds of miles away.

We do use some plywood in our puzzles and other products that require wide, thin, flat pieces. It comes from the Baltic region of Europe and meets CARB II (California) standards, including no formaldehyde glue, etc.

There are no phthalates in our raw material. We have worked with our finish suppliers to reduce / eliminate phthalates in the rare cases where they might have been used. For the most, they are not part of our product. There are some chemicals that we buy where we have little or no control over the chemical makeup and there are no alternatives. In those cases we make sure the chemical levels are under federal and state standards.

As Jill mentioned, we developed our Schoolhouse Naturals line https://www.maplelandmark.com/schoolhousenaturals/sn.lasso to offer options for people who have the greatest chemical concerns. However, all of our children’s products meet federal standards and are regularly tested for compliance.

I hope this helps.

Mike Rainville
Maple Landmark Woodcraft
1297 Exchange St.
Middlebury, VT  05753
(802)388-0627 / Fax (802)388-0761
www.maplelandmark.com

I then responded with this email:

Thank you so much for the very detailed message; it was very helpful and I look forward to supporting your business! I am also interested in your puzzles.

  1. Are these puzzles made with hardwood, plywood, or fiberboard? Does it contain formaldehyde?
  2. What are the puzzles colored with? Does it have any VOC’s?
  3. I am also very interested in your Name Train products. What are you trains and tracks made from? (hardwood, plywood, fiberwood)
  4. What are the trains colored with? Does it have any VOC’s?
Thank you so much!

I received this email in response:

Sandra,

The puzzles are made from plywood. We do not use fiberboard for any product. As I said before, the plywood meets the CARB II standard regarding formaldehyde.

Our finishes are low or no VOCs. VOCs are how solvent based chemicals dry. There are exempt VOCs, which are not anthropogenic and non-exempt VCOs which are. Generally, where necessary, our finishes use exempt VOCs.

The water-borne dye stains on the NameTrain letters do contain some VOCs. The clear top-coat does not.

Our print inks (like the puzzles) are UV cured which, I believe, is non VOC.

Our track is solid hard maple.

Thanks,
Mike

I purchased some toys following these email exchanges and I am so pleased to say that my experiences with the products from Maple Landmark’s Schoolhouse Natural’s line have been exceptional. I have been buying wooden toys exclusively from Maple Landmark Schoolhouse Natural’s line because I love the quality of their products, the toys are affordable, and my son absolutely loves every item that I have ever purchased from there! If you are looking for a company that sells high quality wooden toys, I would highly recommend purchasing them from Maple Landmark.

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