Many baby products have toxic flame retardants, analysis finds

Posted Jan. 26, 2012, at 1:14 p.m.

Children’s health advocates are calling on state legislatures to ban flame retardants in baby’s products after testing found the toxic chemicals in 85 percent of items it tested.

The toxic retardants were found in nursing pillows, car seats and other popular baby products, according to a report released Monday by Maryland PIRG and Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States. The groups said the flame retardants are linked to cancer, hormone disruption and other health problems.

Children and families are exposed to the compounds, called Tris chemicals, when they escape from household items and contaminate house dust and indoor air, the groups said.

The report, Hidden Hazards In the Nursery, found toxic flame retardants in 85 percent, or 17 out of 20, new baby and children’s products tested. Bassinet pads, nursing pillows, changing pads, and car seats were among the items tested.

The most prevalent flame retardant found was chlorinated Tris (TDCPP), a chemical voluntarily removed from children’s pajamas in the 1970s when it was found to cause adverse health effects. Chlorinated Tris was present in 80 percent of the products, or 16 out of 20.

California recently classified chlorinated Tris as a carcinogen, and evidence links the chemical to neurotoxicity as well as hormone disruption, the groups said.

“Parents shouldn’t have to worry about hidden toxic chemicals in their child’s nursing pillow or car seat. Unfortunately, our testing shows many items contain toxic flame retardants that put our children’s health at risk,” Jenny Levin, Maryland PIRG State Advocate, said in a statement.

Delegate James Hubbard of Prince George’s County, Md., has introduced legislation banning flame retardants.

Some products didn’t have the retardants, including: the Eddie Bauer Pop-up Booster Seat, Balboa Nursing Pillow, and First Years Co-Sleeper. Other companies that are known to not use Tris flame retardants include Boppy, Orbit Baby and Baby Bjorn.

 

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