(NaturalNews) Are efforts to protect babies from fire exposing them to chemicals that could harm their health? A study published in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal, examined flame retardant chemicals found in dozens of baby products containing polyurethane foam: such as car seats, nursing pillows and changing pads. The findings showed that 80% of the products tested contained toxic chemicals: Bangor Daily News reports.
Researchers analyzed flame retardants from 102 samples, representing a broad spectrum of baby products from various locations around the country. The lead researcher, Dr. Heather Stapleton of Duke University, was surprised and concerned at the findings.
Four of the tested products contained a chemical PENTA, a neurotoxin banned in 12 U.S. states and 172 countries. Twenty-nine had chlorinated tris, a possible carcinogen which was banned from children's pajamas due to health concerns in the 1970s. Animal studies have linked this chemical with cancers of the liver, kidney and brain. Sixteen products contained flame retardants. The Environmental Protection Agency has expressed concerns regarding the toxicity of these substances.
Part of the problem is that flame retardant chemicals are emitted from the polyurethane foam into the air. This means that a baby lying on a foam pad will be exposed through the skin, as well as through the act of breathing.
Concern over the findings is being expressed not only from the study's authors, but from other quarters as well. Arlene Blum, Ph.D., a coauthor of the study, states that these chemicals are related to lower IQ, endocrine and thyroid disorders, and child development impairments. Dr. Linda Birnbaum, head of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, refers to the study as a wake up call. She explains that in addition to the cancer issue, the chemicals can also cause reproductive and neurological effects.
Some members of the business and industry community affected by the study have issued a response. One baby product manufacturer states that they use the chemicals to meet federal and state imposed flammability requirements. Chemical manufactures say the flame retardants are needed for fire safety benefits. This industry contends the study does not prove harm to babies because it fails to address exposure or risk.
Dr. Birnbaum concurs the investigation does not prove harm. She feels, however, that the focal issue should be to question why these chemicals are needed in baby products at all.
In the process of weighing fire safety against chemical exposure, Dr. Stapleton considers chemicals as the greater risk. According to Consumer Reports, Stapleton hopes that politicians and regulatory agencies will consider using alternative fillings or fabrics to provide fire resistant products without relying on these chemicals.
[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]
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