Flame Retardants Found in Baby Products

Dear Green Science Policy Institute Supporter,

I’d like to share with you some great news. Our study with Heather Stapleton, Susan Klosterhaus, and Tom Webster finding halogenated flame retardants in 79% of baby products tested will go on line at Environmental Science & Technology tonight. http://pubs.acs.org/journal/esthag

Please tune into the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric at 5:30 PM Pacific Time for a short segment on flame retardants in baby products based on the study. It will be in the NY Times, USA Today etc.

We are hoping for a repeat of the response to our 1977 Science piece which received a great deal of press attention. . Parents across the US didn’t want toxic flame retardants in their children’s pajamas and the chemicals were removed. Fingers crossed for our baby products and couches

Our press release is attached. There will be a link to the article’s abstract on our home page at nine pm. Meanwhile here are a few of the findings.

Heather Stapleton from Duke tested the foam from 100 changing table pads, nursing pillows, car seats, and other baby products and found
• 36% of the baby products contained the same cancer-causing Tris my work helped remove from baby pajamas in 1977
• levels of Tris were up to 12% of the weight of the foam
• 79% of the products contained toxic or untested flame retardants
• some baby products contained three different flame retardants
• two new flame retardants were identified
The chemicals are semI-volatile and migrate from products to dust to children. Recent studies have show
• toddlers have four times the level of their moms
• California Latino children who have emigrated here have seven times the flame retardant level compared to children from the same village who are still in Mexico
• black girls have higher levels that Latina girls who have higher levels than white girls in one study.
• the chemicals are associated with adverse neurological and reproductive health effects in hundreds of animal studies ad currently a handful of human studies.
• these baby products do not pose a fire hazard
• and there is no data to show a fire safety form using them to meet the California flammability standard.

The TB117 standard, that has led to the use of these chemicals, tests bare foam’s resistance to a small flame. But the foam in furniture lies beneath a layer of fabric. The fabric will ignite first and by the time the flame reaches the foam, it is too large for the chemicals that meet TB117 to have an effect.

Thanks again for your kind support which has been so important for our work

Kind regards,

Arlene Blum PhD
Visiting Scholar, Chemistry
University of California, Berkeley
Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Telephone: 510 644-3164 Mobile: 510 919-6363
Web: www.greensciencepolicy.org, www.arleneblum.com