Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The smoke screen of hidden flame retardants

The following was originally posted on the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families blog:

BritaxRoundaboutWhen my children were babies, their health and safety were high priorities for me as their mother. They still are. I made sure I breastfed my children as long as possible and made sure I bought them car seats with the highest safety ratings.

As a mom, I take pride in making sure that I am doing everything I can for their well being. I expect that children's products available on the market are safe and contain nothing to expose their young, growing bodies to hazardous chemicals. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.

A report released on Wednesday from Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States shows that children and families are exposed to chemical flame retardants in children's products. These toxic flame retardants were found in 85% of the products tested, ranging from nursing pillows, changing pads to car seats. The most prevalent flame retardant found was chlorinated Tris (TDCPP), a chemical that was voluntarily removed from children’s pajamas in the 1970s when it was found to cause adverse health effects. In fact, California recently classified chlorinated Tris as a carcinogen, and evidence links the chemical to neurotoxicity as well as hormone disruption. It's a chemical that should not be anywhere near our children.

So, that nursing pillow from My Brest Friend that I received as a gift and used with both my kids when they were tiny? Two different kinds of toxic flame retardants. The co-sleeper my babies slept in by Arm's Reach? Five different kinds of toxic flame retardants. The Babies R Us Changing Pad that we used for at least three years? Three different kinds of toxic flame retardants. And the Graco SnugRide Infant Car Seat and Britax Roundabout car seats that got years and years of use? All contain chlorinated Tris.

To say this makes me irate is an understatement. Without research like this, how would consumers even know what kind of toxic exposures our children are being subjected to? And, furthermore, this illustrates the fact that there are probably far more undiscovered toxins lurking in the many household products that are surrounding us.

To read the rest of this post and find out how you can avoid flame retardants in your kid's products, please visit the original article here on the Safer Chemicals blog.

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jesslynnwarren said...

Ugh! Our breastfeeding pillows?! This just made me wonder about so many other baby things...activity mats, swings, etc.

Erica/Northwest Edible Life said...

I'm with Jess....The Breast Friend! Not My Breast Friend pillow, noooo....

Shit man, it's always something.

Greenpa said...

I understand why it makes you irate, all right. How can they be so dumb? So uncaring?


I contend we actually know the answer to those questions, but it's one we really don't like to talk about. The root of all dumbness and uncaring is- profits.

While the health of our children is certainly something most of us would agree is truly "sacred" - across all religions and philosophies- the conflict comes from the fact that in current Western Civilization, "profit" is also sacred. Literally.

"Business has the RIGHT to make (a reasonable) profit!" is a core belief, across nearly all our strata.

In the large business scales we now have, it's easy and common for a "profit driver", aka bean counter, to be completely isolated from other concerns; and push events in the profit direction, without thought or regard for any other consequences. Repeatedly. "Flame retardant!" sells more product? Go for it. And does anybody check on that decision? Nope; profits are up.

This is not going to be easy to fix.

Anonymous said...

The most annoying thing is trying to find alternatives! I have yet to find a natural and affordable alternative to the freaking Arms Reach co-sleeper...

Sustainable Eats said...

I've been making positioning equipment for infants with reflux for 8 years now - including feeding wedges (my reflux wedge is licensed by My Best Friend). I lobbied in Olympia for 3 years to get these laws changed. It's amazing to watch the machine. It was a group of us rag tag citizens and activists with babes in arms waiting literally all day for a legislative break. As soon as they broke the slick willy lobbyists swooped in, whispered in their ears and tied them up until they went back into chambers after a few short minutes. Until this system changes we don't stand a chance. Because one idiot fell asleep breastfeeding with a cigarette in her mouth all your furniture (including that crib mattress and that couch you're nursing on) are treated with flame retardants.

Anonymous said...

This makes me so mad. My son was diagnosed with leukemia at five. (Not looking for sympathy - he's doing well - it's just relevant), and we are all told that there are no known causes for this cancer. I breastfed, provide only organic food, cleaning products, sheets etc, yet my son was surrounded by things that could have triggered the cancer...made for him as a baby!!! Not to panic anyone...this cancer is said to be in the child fro birth, and something can bring it out...just seems the baby toys and products could have been the culprit. Now that my kids are in grade school, I have time to make these discoveries and look up other options...just a tad too late! Love that you posted this. Will spread the word!

Anonymous said...

Arm's Reach stopped using flame retardants in some of their co-sleepers this past summer. If you order directly from them or from Target (which fills orders directly from them) then you can request a newer model in the colors that don't have the flame retardant. If you buy from Amazon, Babies R' Us, etc, the stock might be older.