Press Releases

Testing finds toxic flame retardants are still used in some children’s nap mats


July 15, 2016

Contact: Kathryn Alcantar, 415-694-9596

Test results support the need for new California proposal to regulate flame retardants in nap mats

Oakland, CA-As California today announced a proposal to regulate certain flame retardants in children’s nap mats and other foam padded children’s sleeping products, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) released new testing showing that some nap mat companies are still using toxic and unnecessary flame retardant chemicals. Testing by CEH found high levels of flame retardants linked to cancer and neurodevelopmental problems in one nap mat made for Venture Products LLC and a flame retardant with unknown health effects in a second nap mat made by ECR 4 Kids.

“Flame retardant chemicals provide no safety benefit in children’s nap mats, but they potentially expose our children to an increased risk of cancer and other serious illnesses,” said Michael Green, CEO of CEH. “We support the direction California is taking to promote safer products, and we urge companies to move swiftly to eliminate toxic health threats from all of their products for our children and families.”

Today regulators in California announced the first proposed regulations for nap mats and other foam-padded children’s sleeping products, one of the “priority products” slated for regulation under the state’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program, part of the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative. Under the proposed new rules, companies that make nap mats or other foam filled children’s sleeping products containing two toxic flame retardant chemicals (TDCPP or TCEP) could either eliminate the chemical of concern from the product or evaluate and select a less toxic alternative chemical ingredient or alternative product design. Given that flame retardants do not provide a fire safety benefit in nap mats, CEH urges DTSC to require elimination of all flame retardant chemicals in these products.

CEH’s research and testing in 2013 first exposed the threat to children’s health from flame retardants in nap mats, and the nonprofit has also revealed the use of these toxic chemicals in other foam products for infants and children. The CEH investigation of flame retardants in nap mats and other foam sleeping products helped lead DTSC to prioritize these products for regulation under the SCP program.

Decades of experience show that current government regulations on toxic chemicals don’t protect children and families from harmful substances. California’s SCP program is a groundbreaking new way to approach chemical safety that will work better for consumers and for businesses. The SPC program is the first-ever state law to adopt a preventive approach to harmful chemicals in a broad range of consumer products, aiming to push manufacturers to replace substances that can cause cancer and other serious illnesses with safer alternatives in common, everyday products. Instead of taking years to regulate chemicals and then letting companies replace a regulated poison with a new untested substance that may be just as dangerous, the California approach looks at real-world consequences and asks, “How can we make safer products without the most harmful chemicals in the first place?”

The Center for Environmental Health has a nearly 20-year track record of protecting children and families from harmful chemicals in our air, water, food and in dozens of everyday products. CEH also works with major industries and leaders in green business to promote healthier alternatives to toxic products and practices. In 2010, the San Francisco Business Times bestowed its annual “Green Champion” award to CEH for its work to improve health and the environment in the Bay Area and beyond.