The arrival of a new baby signals a buying frenzy by parents and relatives, but a recently released study reveals that 80 percent of those changing pads, portable cribs, and car seats contain untested or toxic chemical flame retardants. Published in Environmental Science and Technology, the study found flame retardant, TCEP, a known carcinogen, in nursing pillows, along with the chemical tris, which was phased out of children’s pajamas in the 1970s because of concerns about cancer.
The flame retardants are used by overseas manufacturers eager to comply with California’s strict fire prevention standards. Both the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have expressed concern about tris and its link to cancer, reproductive problems, developmental problems, and other health problems.
Only four brands say they meet the California standard for safety, the toughest in the land – BabyLuxe Organic, Baby Bjorn, Orbit Baby and Boppy. Companies are not required to label whether or not their product contains a flame retardant.
Toddlers are found to have flame retardants at three times the amount in adults, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), largely because they spend so much time on the floor and frequently put their fingers in their mouth and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found flame retardants in 90 percent of American’s bodies.
While the goal is to prevent the spread of fires, flame retardants are likely causing more harm than they prevent, contributing billions in childhood illness, learning disabilities, asthma, and cancers.
Ultimately, it is consumers who decide whether or not they want to purchase items with these added chemicals. Buying power is the only thing that every changes a trend. Unfortunately, we cannot rely on our EPA to corral the 80,000 chemicals that have been given a green light and introduced into the environment with no prior testing required of manufacturers under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.
Sources: http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/19/baby-products-contain-toxic-or-untested-chemicals-are-they-a-danger/, http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-family/babies/story/2011/05/Toxic-flame-retardants-found-in-80-of-baby-products/47268922/1, http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/04/environmental-toxins-cost-billions-in-childhood-disease/ and http://babies411.com/infant-news/news/the-american-academy-of-pediatrics-endorses-safer-chemicals.html