Flame retardants are my new passion! I am literally obsessed with trying to find out where they are, in what products in my home, for my children, everything and how to avoid them! These have been by far one of the most frustrating types of chemicals to avoid because they are SO prevalent! And companies are SO evasive about whether their products are treated, and if so what chemicals they use on their product.
Since California passed the CA Technical Bulletin 117 in 1975, the amount of chemicals in products has gone out the roof! This regulation requires all upholstered furniture to resist an open flame for 12 seconds. Because of this, companies have started dumping pounds and literal pounds of toxic chemicals into furniture, baby swings, high chairs, nursing pillows, strollers, and nearly everything you can think of that has fabric! The chemical companies claim that these laws have saved lives and decreased fires, but they ignore the fact that cigarettes and candles are not longer used to the extent in the homes that they used to be! Sprinklers and smoke detectors are much more widely used. Further, once the products DO catch fire that are treated with these chemicals, the smoke is MUCH more toxic! And over 80% of people who die in fires die from smoke inhalation…not from flames! This smoke is so toxic that even the firefighters, doctors, OB/GYNs, and UC scientists have joined the fight to have these chemicals removed. They know they are not saving lives by preventing fires, they are killing people with the toxic smoke…including the brave people fighting those fires.
So why is this law still in effect? Well, chemical companies have a LOT of money and spend a lot of money lobbying to prevent any changes which would affect their bottom line…and it is working! So now, because of this, our children are exposed to loads of toxic chemicals everyday, all day long, in their car seats, nursing pillows, pack and plays and more. Studies continue to show that babies have 3 to 4 times the amount in their bodies than their parents, and children are much more susceptible to the toxic effects of these chemicals. These are also much more dangerous to pregnant women. Effects of these chemicals include lowered IQs, lowered sperm counts, difficulty getting pregnant, adverse birth outcomes and impaired development. Chlorinated Tris are chemicals that were banned in children’s clothing in the 1970′s due to carcinogenic effects and now are used in nearly everything else your child comes into contact with instead! Some of the chemicals have never even been tested for safety so we have NO IDEA what they do!
What I find so frustrating in my job as an educator and a mom is finding safe products! Companies that do business in California will follow these laws since they are not going to have different products for different states. So this makes it almost impossible and in some cases, totally impossible, to avoid these chemicals in certain products. So here are Organic Baby University we want to start a series about what products are safe for your baby when it comes to toxic flame retardants. This subject has easily taken the most time to research and moms just don’t have time to fight for this information from every company they buy from! And remember that EVERY TIME YOU BUY A PRODUCT YOU ARE VOTING FOR THE PRODUCTS YOU APPROVE OF! If we change our buying as a group, the companies will change the way they make their products and choose safer options. It is all about the bottom line for them. Now you see BPA free on so many products because companies have figured out it sells. Let’ do that with fire retardants and protect our most vulnerable!
I also high recommend you read the SAFE KIDS BUYER’S GUIDE by the Green Science Policy Institute. It is a short pamphlet on what these chemicals are, how you are exposed, how to reduce your and your family’s exposure, and how to advocate against these chemicals.
You can CLICK HERE to read it now
This is the beginning of a series on flame retardants and the products where the are located and how to avoid them. Click below for each topic:
Baby Swings and Bouncers-COMING SOON
Activity Centers/ Play Mats-COMING SOON
Join us! We love any feedback or if you have a product that we missed that is safe! Send it along and we will add it to the list!
We at Organic Baby University also strongly encourage you to get active in preventing our children from being exposed to toxic chemicals. Join http://www.momsrising.org/ and get involved, or just sign a petition!
“Toxic Households: How Chemical Flame Retardants Compromise Californians’ Health (UPDATED) | Commentary | SoCal Focus | KCET.” KCET – Rethink TV. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2011. <http://www.kcet.org/updaily/socal_focus/commentary/32884-toxic-households-how-chemical-flame-retardants-compromise-our-health.html>.
“Hidden dangers in baby products? – CBS Evening News – CBS News.” Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News – CBS News. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2011. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/17/eveningnews/main20063756.shtml>.
Blum, Arlene. “Foam Flame Retardant Issues in California – The Urethane Blog.” The Urethane Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2011. <http://urethaneblog.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/05/foam-flame-retardant-issues-in-california.html>.
Danger in the Dust: Toxic Flame Retardants Lurking in Every Home? Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312641,00.html#ixzz1NaqW5sZe://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312641,00.html