We recently delved into toxic flame retardants used in foam in part 2 of our series on the topic. And now a new study confirms that we are literally surrounded by these chemicals, from cushions to pillows, strollers, nursing pillows and rocking chairs.
The study authors raised concerns that babies are at risk of greater exposure than anyone else:
Exposure to chemical additives in baby products is of even greater concern for infants, who are in intimate contact with these products for long periods of time, at very critical stages of development.
Based on exposure estimates conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), we predict that infants may receive greater exposure to TDCPP from these products compared to the average child or adult from upholstered furniture, all of which are higher than acceptable daily intake levels of TDCPP set by the CPSC.
80 of the 101 polyurethane foam samples tested contained at least one flame retardant, with all but one being either chlorinated or brominated – the two most toxic types in use today. And shockingly, some products had levels of the chemicals that made up as much as 12.5 percent of the foam’s weight!
How Do Parents Know Which Products to Avoid?
We don't. Once again, parents are left wandering the aisles of baby stores just hoping to locate a safe product for their little ones. We count ourselves lucky if we're able to run into the rare label indicating what materials and treatments are used in the products we buy.
And that's not acceptable when we're looking at a laundry list of health risks like cancer, damage to the liver, kidney, brain and testes, immune suppression, altered sexual development, delayed brain development, lower IQ, and behavioral problems.
The Good News
Not all baby gear manufacturers use toxic flame retardants in their foam parts. Top-notch companies like OrbitBaby and Naturepedic provide safer products by using alternative fill materials (such as flame retardant-free polyester) or non-halogenated flame retardants.