Halogenated flame retardants are some of the most dangerous chemicals on the market, yet a peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Science & Technology Journal found that they’re pervasive in products made for babies and toddlers: car seats, breast feeding pillows, changing pads, crib wedges, bassinet mattresses and other items made with polyurethane foam.
Throughout 2010 and 2011, volunteers from 13 states sent cubic-inch pieces of polyurethane foam cut from 101 baby products to a Duke University research laboratory. More than 80 percent of the samples contained hazardous or untested chemical flame retardants. Four products contained penta-BDE, a substance so toxic it is banned in 172 countries and 12 U.S. states. Twenty-nine products contained TDCPP or chlorinated Tris, a possible human carcinogen that was removed from children’s pajamas because of health concerns in the late 1970s. Fourteen products contained TCEP, a carcinogenic flame retardant that has been shown to reduce fertility and cause hyperactivity.
“These are the worst kind of chemicals, and they are a potent symbol of the complete breakdown in chemical management in this country,” says Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families director Andy Igrejas. “You bring them into your home hidden in consumer products that seem benign. But they get out of products and into your bloodstream, where they begin to damage your health.” Flame retardants bio-accumulate, and they may contribute to hyperactivity and affect developing reproductive organs and hormone systems.
That sounds scary–but it doesn’t have to be. Dr. Frank Lipman, M.D. and I just published 7 Steps to a Safe, Nurturing Nursery, an e-book full of tips and resources to help you create a healthy, nontoxic nursery for your baby. Simply being aware of and avoiding products that could contain harmful chemicals is the first step, and choosing from an abundance of nontoxic furnishings and baby products is the next. The good news is, it’s easier than ever to find chemical-free, natural, nontoxic products and materials for our homes–and they’re often far superior to their counterparts. With 11 Resource and Buying Guides, 7 Steps to a Safe, Nurturing Nursery is the only book you’ll need to create the safest, healthiest and best bedroom for your baby–without stress.