December 31, 2012
Potentially Carcinogenic Flame Retardant Found In Baby Products
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
A chemical flame retardant that was removed from children's pajamas more than three decades ago because it had been linked to an increased risk of cancer has been discovered in multiple brands of baby mattresses, according to Chicago Tribune reports published on Saturday.
Laboratory tests conducted at the newspaper's request revealed that members of the chlorinated tris family of chemicals were found in 11 baby mattresses marketed under the Babies R Us, Foundations, and Angeles brand names, reporters Patricia Callahan and Michael Hawthorne revealed.
Similarly, a related form of the chemical was found in a pair of other mattresses made by Angeles, they added. A total of 27 mattresses were tested by the Tribune, and the paper reported that each of those testing positive for chlorinated tris had labels stating that they had been made or imported from China. No domestically made baby mattress contained "significant amounts" of the substance, Callahan and Hawthorne noted.
"These are bad chemicals, and we've known they've been bad for a long time," National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Director Linda Birnbaun said in response to the laboratory tests, according to UPI. "If these chemicals are in your child's mattress, they are going to be constantly exposed."
Earlier this month, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) "filed legal notices" reporting that several major retailers were in violation of California state law by not warning consumers about the presence of the same substance in such some products, Dr. Robin Wulffson of Examiner.com said. The products found to contain high levels of the flame retardant included nap mats, changing pads, crib mattress pads, and infant sleepers.
The CEH said that they sent samples of the baby goods for testing at an independent laboratory, and that a total of 16 products -- including five foam nap mat brands marketed to daycare facilities across the country, as well as three foam diaper changing pads, foam crib mattresses, bassinet pads, and more -- were found to exceed safety levels as mandated by the state. The substance has been scientifically linked to hormone disruption, developmental toxicity, cancer, and other harmful effects, the organization claims.
"Infants and young children, who are at critical stages of their development, should not be sleeping on products doused with these ticking chemical time bombs," Michael Green, Executive Director of the Center CEH, said in a statement. "It´s past time for companies to take steps towards eliminating these harmful chemicals from products for our children and families."