Science/Medicine
4:38 pm
Wed May 18, 2011

Flame retardant found in baby products

An environmental group says some baby products made of foam could contain toxic chemicals. It also says parents are likely not aware of the danger.

A study published in the journal of Environmental Science and Technology found 83 percent of baby items it tested in Michigan contained flame-retardant chemicals linked to adverse health effects or that the products had not been adequately tested.

The study looked at 18 products from Michigan; some were new and others were donated by parents. Fifteen of the 18 contained the flame-retardant chemicals.

The products included car seats, crib mattresses, nursing pads and changing  pads made of polyurethane foam, manufactured by Graco, Boppy, Dexbaby, Summer Infant, The First Years, Sassy and Especially for Baby.

Manufacturers of children's pajamas were banned from using one of the chemicals -- chlorinated tris -- in the 1970s because it had the potential to cause genetic mutations.

Rebecca Meuninck is with the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center. She says the flame-retardant chemicals are legal, although they've been linked to reduced IQ in children, impaired development, hormone disruption, thyroid and reproductive problems.

Meuninck says it's impossible to tell if a product contains the toxic chemicals just by looking.

"Indication by price or country of origin where it was manufactured is not a good way to find out whether or not these toxic flame retardants will be in the products," Meuninck says.

She advises parents to look for padded  baby products made of cotton instead of foam.

The Ecology Center is asking lawmakers to reform labeling laws to require disclosure of potentially dangerous chemicals.

To read the study: http://www.ecocenter.org/press-release/2011/toxic-chemicals-pervasive-baby-products-sold-michigan-0

Or visit: healthystuff.org