If you've got a child under 10, chances are you've been to an indoor jump place. There are dozens of them in and around Houston.
Jason Conrad and his wife took their two kids to Monkey Joe's in Katy and Conrad literally slipped upon a troubling discovery on a slide.
"I got to the bottom and I looked at my hands and they were shiny, almost like they had baby oil on them," Conrad said.
When his wife went to tell employees there must have been a spill, she says they told her the slippery liquid was no accident. It's a product they apply to the inflatables to prevent rub burns called Auto Magic No. 62, a tire dressing made to give a shine to the tires on your car.
"That was pretty disturbing to me that that's what my kids were sliding around in," said Conrad.
Local 2 sent another mom back to Monkey Joe's with a hidden camera to confirm Conrad's story. Again an employee brought out a 5-gallon container of Auto Magic.
The product label reads, "For vinyl, rubber and plastic. Also used as an engine dressing."
According to the Material Safety Data Sheet for the water-based silicone dressing, the liquid may be irritating to the eyes, skin and the mouth, throat and stomach, if ingested.
"When the kids are playing on those things, they're rubbing their eyes," said Conrad. "They're putting their hands in their face and their nose."
Local 2 Consumer Expert Amy Davis went to Monkey Joe's with questions.
"Do you think it's safe to use for kids?" Davis asked the manager on duty who said his name was John.
"I just work here. I just use it on the jumps. I don't know anything about the safety about it or anything. I just use it," John said.
"It's an auto product," said Dr. Amitava Dasgupta, a toxicologist with the UT Health Medical School. "It's not really made for kids' use."
Dasgupta says Auto Magic has not been approved for use on children's products, so there is no information about its long-term effects on children. In the short term, he says parents should make sure kids wash their hands and bathe after exposure to the product.
"Make sure that you wash yourself so that you don't have to worry about it," he said.
The Monkey Joe's in Katy and another in Cypress are locally-owned franchises. The owner never called Local 2, but a spokesperson for Monkey Joe's corporate office emailed this statement:
"It has come to our attention that our franchisee in Houston, TX was using an AutoMagic 62 product, a water-based silicone dressing for all non-porous interior and exterior surfaces that is designed for vinyl, rubber and plaster surfaces. While it is a VOC Compliant product, it is not an approved Monkey Joe's product. Monkey Joe's and its local franchisees are required to use the industry standards, Hill Chemical Silicone Shield and Slide Slick. Going forward, the Houston locations have agreed that they will use only the approved products."
Conrad said, "In the long run, they don't know what that chemical does to someone, so why risk it?"
The manager at Monkey Joe's in Katy told Local 2 the company has been using Auto Magic for at least four years.