Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

advice, news & freebies

All about Fire-Retardants September 4, 2008

Filed under: Baby & Toddler,Pregnancy — Rachel @ 3:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

People everywhere are growing concerned with chemical fire-retardant treatments.  And, rightly so.  Recent studies link fire-retardant chemical exposure to cancer, birth defects, autism, thyroid disorders, hyperactivity, learning disabilities such as ADD, and more.  Yikes, that’s a long list!

Sadly, fire-retardants are stored in our bodies and passed on to future generations via the placenta and through breastfeeding.  Virtually every American who has been tested has been found to have fire-retardants, with babies showing the highest levels (probably since their bedding, pajamas and toys are treated with fire-retardant chemicals).  In fact, when scientists examine North American women’s breast milk, they find that we have levels of fire-retardant chemicals at almost 10 times those found in European and Asian women’s breast milk.  Eeek!

So, what’s a parent to do?  We know that breastfeeding is best… so focus on reducing or removing your family’s exposures to fire-retardants and make it habit to buy products that don’t have these toxic chemicals.  Your buying power is the strongest way to send a message to big-business that they had better mend their ways. 

How do you know?  Manufacturers aren’t required to reveal whether their products are treated with fire retardants.  However, if a product boasts that it is flame-resistant or mentions flammability standards, take that as a big red flag that chemicals were used.  Wool is pretty much the only natural fire-retardant fiber.  That’s why wool mattresses and wool waterproof pads for baby’s bed are growing in popularity.  Innovative companies, like Haba Toys, are also finding that weaving polyester into cotton fabrics makes the cloth of their toys resistant to short-duration heat exposure.  Choose natural cotton pajamas for your children that fit close to the body.  Those are the only pajamas not required to undergo chemical treatments.   

The bottom line is – ask before you buy items such as soft furniture, carpets, mattresses, etc.  If a company is not able to answer your questions regarding the use of fire-retardant chemicals, consider taking your business elsewhere.  Fire safety should not come at the expense of poisoning our families and our environment, especially when safe, non-toxic alternatives exist!


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