Rockabye Baby, in the Flame Retardant Foam

Image by egg on stilts, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/eggonstilts/109899765/sizes/m/in/photostream/">via Flickr</a>.

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Children are still coming into contact with a carcinogenic chemical eliminated from pajamas 30 years ago—through mattresses, high chairs, and car seats, among other baby products still on the market today. Eighty percent of the products tested contained flame-retardant chemicals, according to research published today in Environmental Science & Technology, meaning that wee ones are still surrounded by substances long ago deemed too dangerous.

The researchers tested 101 baby products and found that the vast majority “contained a known and identifiable flame retardant.” Many of them contained chemicals that have been flagged as carcinogens. The products they tested included changing table pads, infant sleep positioners, portable crib mattresses, nursery rocking chairs, baby walkers, baby carriers, and children’s bathroom items.

Thirty-six percent of the samples contained the chemical TDCPP, also known as chlorinated Tris, which was the substance removed from pajamas due to concerns about cancer back in the 1970s. Both the EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have flagged the chemical. Five of the samples showed evidence that they contained PentaBDE, a substance so toxic that 172 countries and 12 states have banned it. Fifteen products contained TCEP, another flame retardant cited for cancer risks. Some of the chemicals have also been cited as causing tumors, reproductive problems, and hormone disruption.

The consumer advocacy group Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families points to the report as the latest evidence that our federal chemical policy needs to be overhauled; while hazardous, these chemicals aren’t regulated under the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act that governs our federal policy. Companies that manufacture these products don’t even have to disclose that they’re using them. Many times, the companies that actually sell the products may not even know. As the study’s authors write, “Many of the chemical ingredients in flame retardant mixtures are proprietary and are not disclosed by the chemical manufacturers, even to manufacturers using these chemicals in their final end products (e.g., furniture).”

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate