Thursday, June 30, 2011

Your Baby or Toddler's Exposure to Toxic Flame Retardants by the Numbers

The young mother carefully positions her newborn on the nursing pillow in her lap. Being sure to latch the new baby on correctly, she begins breastfeeding. She is proud of herself for giving her baby the best food on the planet for human babies. She wants only what is best for this new little one. Unknown to her the pillow she has purchased for this most satisfying of mommy moments is covered with a toxic substance.

Far away in another city a mother lays her squirming 6 month old down to change his diaper. He has become adept at wriggling himself away from her at critical moments during the process. When he reaches out and pulls the corner of the changing pad into his mouth she breathes a sigh of relief hoping this will keep her active boy satisfied until she can finish. It never occurs to her he is ingesting a toxic chemical.

In a third town a busy mother of two is happy her toddler is keeping herself occupied scooting around on the floor while she is busy nursing the new baby and trying to get dinner. The little girl lays down on her tummy putting her face close to the rug on the floor so she can reach under a chair and pull out a forgotten toy. Her mother is completely unaware that her daughter is breathing in toxic dust.

These babies are all being exposed to flame retardants every day and so is yours. Flame retardant chemicals are put onto many products in your home; rugs, couches, drapes. They are also put on many baby products to meet fire safety standards. This was done without testing the consequences of long term exposure on humans. Here is the down and dirty info you need to know.

* 90% of Americans have flame retardants in their bodies

* 3 times higher levels of flame retardants are found in toddlers bodies than adults

* 80% of the baby products tested contained toxic or untested chemical flame retardants

* 3 products tested: car seats, changing pads and portable cribs

* 1/3 of products contained a chemical called chlorinated tris

* 40 years ago they stopped using chlorinated tris on kid's pajamas because of cancer concerns

* 1 more item included in the test: nursing pillows!

*10 times more retardant chemicals found in Americans' bodies than people in the European Union, which has banned the most common types of chemical flame retardants

*2 types of flame retardants have stopped being made due to health concerns

*2013 is the year manufacturers pledge to phase out other flame retardants

*Decades is how long these toxins will remain in most people's homes because they have been used on home furnishings. And Tris, the chemical removed from kids' sleepwear, is still commonly used in furniture foam.

For chemical free baby products visit EcoBambino in downtown SLO. Be sure to ask if the product is flame retardant free!

To read the whole story by Liz Szabo in USA Today.

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