Why It Matters
For decades, flame retardants have been needlessly used in everything from furniture to children’s products. These toxic chemicals — which have been linked to cancer, thyroid disruption, memory and learning problems, delayed mental and physical development, lower IQ, advanced puberty, hormone disruption and reduced fertility — migrate into household dust that is then ingested and inhaled by humans, pets, and wildlife. As a result, they are now ubiquitous in our households and workplaces and have steadily built up in the environment and in human bodies.
Children are particularly vulnerable to these toxic chemicals because their brains and reproductive organs are still developing. They come into greater contact with household dust than adults from crawling, playing on the floor and furniture, and putting their toys and hands in their mouths. Parents should not have to be detectives to find out whether there are toxic flame retardant chemicals in their children’s products, but getting clear answers from companies is not always easy.
What We’re Doing
To make your purchasing choices easier, CEH surveyed and rated major children’s product manufacturers based on their use of harmful flame-retardant chemicals in their products. Our free shopping guide — “Are your children safe from toxic flame retardant chemicals?” — will not only help you in finding kid’s products that are free of toxic flame-retardant chemicals, but also provides facts and simple steps to help you protect your children from toxic chemicals.
What You Can Do
To protect your health and the health of your children we recommend the following: avoid baby products made with polyurethane foam when possible and prefer products made with cotton, wool, other natural fibers, or polyester. Keep dust levels low by wet mopping and vacuuming regularly with a HEPA filter. Products labeled “This product meets the flammability requirements of Technical Bulletin 117” as these are older products likely to contain harmful flame-retardant chemicals and should be avoided. Wash your child’s hands frequently, especially before eating.
CEH Guide: Are Your Children Safe from Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals?
CEH Guide: Parent and Family Guide to Flame-Retardants in Baby Products
CEH Guide: Toxic Free Holidays
CEH Blog: The Good and Bad News About BPA
CEH Blog: Homemade Beauty Products
CEH Blog: Avoid Holiday Greenwash: Our Last Minute (Truly) Green Gift Guide
CEH Press Release: Governor Jerry Brown Signs Historic Toxic Flame-Retardant Ban
CEH Infographic: Tips: Reduce Your Exposure to Flame Retardant Chemicals
CEH Webinar: Chemicals of Concern in the Childcare Setting