My poor baby! I realized that I have exposed him to way too many flame retardants in his little life. I was buying products that I thought were good and little did I know that pretty much everything he was touching had flame retardants in it.
Some might say what is the big deal? Well, studies have shown in animals that flame retardants cause those animals to be more anxious, have reproductive issues, gain more weight, and enter puberty early. Other studies have shown that chemical flame retardants interfere with thyroid and sex hormones and in children can cause abnormal brain development, lower IQ and learning problems, behavior changes. In adults, it has been linked to difficulties getting pregnant. On a side note, I know quite a few people who are having to use fertility treatments to get pregnant. Is this the environmental link we have all been wondering about??
Fire retardants are not only absorbed through your skin but inhaled. They also accumulate in the dust on your floors then when you sweep or vacuum they can get in the air again. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter is important. Also mopping is a good alternative to sweeping.
Baby items I found in my home that have flame retardants:
– Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. I reached out to the company and they said the newer models do not contain flame retardants. You will have to check the tags under the mattress to find out for sure.
– Beco Gemini Organic Baby Carrier. This made me really sad. My first carrier smelled really toxic. I let it air out for 4 months in our basement and it still smelled. They exchanged it for me and I got a new one. It still kinda smelled but not as bad. I washed it and aired it out. Finally I emailed the company and they confirmed that they use flame retardants in their carriers. There is NO reason to do this.
– My Breastfriend Nursing Pillow
– Graco Pack N Play
– Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat. I will blog about car seats later but most have flame retardants. There are a few companies that don’t.
– Mattresses. The most important purchase you can make based on the amount of time your baby spends sleeping.
– My glider / rocker. I bought a Dutailier glider / rocker. The cushions have flame retardants. I sold my glider and am borrowing a wood rocker from my dad that was my grandma’s. I love the sentimental value of this rocker and I love that it doesn’t have any toxic chemicals.
WHERE TO CHECK FOR FLAME RETARDANTS IN YOUR HOUSE:
– PJ’s. CHECK the tags of your children’s PJ’s. They should say that they must be tight-fitting since they are not flame resistant. This only applies to PJ from 9 months to 14 years old. Under 9 months it is not required that flame retardants be added to PJs. You don’t want your child sleeping in flame retardants all night long! Also you will not find nightgowns in the USA that are made without flame retardants. All flame retardant free pjs must be snug fitting!
– Your furniture. Most likely all of it unless you have a couch or chair that was made before the mid 70’s. Or if you have a wood piece of furniture. It doesn’t matter if you bought a piece that said it was made with eco fibers, like soy, it still has fire retardants it in. Some furniture is now being made without flame retardants. You have to search for main stream retails that are moving this direction. Don’t be fooled by them saying the foam isn’t treated, somewhere else in the furniture might be to pass the standard. I love my organic, truly non-toxic, furniture from Ecobalanza. They offer my readers a 5% discount by telling them my blog name – Natural Baby Mama. Take the first step and get rid of your toxic furniture and mattresses and create a healthy home environment for you and your kids.
– Your mattress. Yes, you are sleeping on mattress filled with flame retardants and other chemicals. So are your kids. With the amount of time you are sleeping in your bed this should be your number one priority for changing in your home. Only buy certified organic mattresses. Soaring Heart is my favorite company. They make them locally in Seattle and everything is certified organic. You don’t want to spend money on an organic mattress and just hope for the best without certifications. A mattress that is “natural” means nothing, you want certified organic! I can not tell you how many times I’ve heard of people getting something natural or non-toxic and finding out later it’s actually not non-toxic and contains synthetics, chemicals or flame retardants. Soaring Heart offers this group 5% off – mention Natural Baby Mama.
– Crib mattress. See above!
– Car seats. ALL car seats have flame retardants. ALL of them. Even the ones that say they are non-toxic and don’t use brominated or chlorinated flame retardants. That means exactly that, they don’t use those flame retardants. There are countless numbers of flame retardants. If you want to help change legislation to remove flame retardants view my post about making change. Kids exposure to flame retardants are much great, their skin is thinner and their bodies can handle less.
How to tell which pieces have flame retardants:
– Check ALL the tags. If it says it complies with Technical Bulletin 117 then most likely it has flame retardants (especially if it is made with polyurethane). I say most likely because most of the time it does. There are a few exceptions though. For example, Bobby does not use flame retardants but does have the complies with Technical Bulletin 117 tag. I will do a post on baby products that are safe / don’t use fire retardants soon.
– Since 2013 a new law was passed that allowed flammability standards to be met by a different testing standard. This has removed flame retardants from a lot of baby products, but not all! It’s best to still reach out and find out if they are used. Also, don’t buy unless you know for certain it was manufactured after 2013 (meaning in 2014).
– PJ’s contain flame retardants unless it says otherwise. If the PJ’s say, must be worn tight-fitting then you know that there are no flame retardants.
Why are flame retardants added to everything?
You can thank California. Back in the 70’s they passed a bill to add flame retardants to furniture. They also have a bill that requires baby items to have flame retardants for children under 3 years old. Since California is so big most companies are not going to make two different products. So they just make all their products with flame retardants. There are many types of flame retardants. Most of which have not been studied before being used on products. Some have been banned and new ones have been developed. One type of fire retardants (tris) was banned in children’s pj’s in the 70’s because it was realized how toxic it was. However, this type of fire retardants is still used in furniture when spraying the foam. Our children sit on our couches. We sit on our couches. Tris has also been found in car seats that claim they do not use Tris (including my own child’s car seat that I tested!).
In 2013 a new flammability standard was passed and has allowed most baby items to no longer be required to have flame retardants. This does not apply to pajamas. You still need to check everything you are about to buy, do not assume something is flame retardant free. Everything I recommend I have verified it is flame retardant free (as well as heavy metal free).
Natural flame retardants:
Wool is a natural flame retardant. Studies have shown that wool or cotton burns just as slowly, if not slower, than foam that is sprayed with chemical flame retardants. It would be so nice if more furniture makers would make naturally flame retardant couches and chairs!
What to do?
I’ve slowly started changing out things I bought that had flame retardants in them. I get to really know the products I am about to buy. I email or call the companies directly to ask them about the chemicals they use. I specifically ask about flame retardants before I buy. I will always mention which products I have found that have chemicals in them so you don’t have to go through those steps. If you use a product I haven’t mentioned I would give the company a call or send them an email. I would love to hear about any other products you have found that have flame retardants.