Top Tips for Avoiding toxic flame retardants

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning consumers, especially pregnant women and young children, to avoid kids’ products, electronics, mattresses, and home furniture that contain certain toxic flame retardants, known as organohalogens. Continue reading 

Ever wonder what taxi drivers and pregnant women have in common? Both were the subjects of fascinating research discussed at the Brominated Flame Retardant (BFR) conference in York, England last month, where I had the good fortune to be present. Disturbingly, new research is showing that increased use of a new generation of flame retardants is serious cause for concern.

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Gearing up for a newborn? We’ve got tips for safer baby essentials that will help you navigate the must-haves with an eye toward healthier products for your little one.

1. From crib to sheets, make a healthy bed for your baby.

Start with a solid wood crib, unfinished or finished with low-toxic paint or sealer. When choosing a crib mattress, look for materials such as wool, cotton, and natural latex—avoid polyurethane foam, PVC/vinyl, and antibacterial treatments. Protect your mattress with wool puddle pads, or mattress pads made from cotton with a polyethylene layer. Again, avoid PVC/vinyl waterproofing materials along with antibacterial or stain treatments. For sheets, choose natural fibers and steer clear of “no-iron” permanent press bedding which may emit formaldehyde.

2. Use fewer baby personal care products.

Most babies don’t need suds or lotion on a regular basis, and plain water is effective for washing. When you do use soap or shampoo, look for fragrance-free and dye-free products, and skip anti-bacterial ingredients. If you use baby oil, choose plant-based oils. Avoid baby powders which can easily be inhaled and irritate lungs. For laundry care, use fragrance-free and dye-free detergents.

3. Green your diaper bag.

  • Use less toxic chlorine-free and fragrance-free disposable diapers, or better yet choose cloth diapers.
  • Choose PVC-free diaper covers made of wool, PUL fabric (polyurethane laminate), PEVA plastic, or nylon.
  • Making your own baby wipes can be as simple as a damp washcloth, or use fragrance-free disposables.
  • Choose a changing pad without polyurethane foam or PVC/vinyl; instead, look for wool, cotton, or polyester fill materials, and a polyethylene or PUL surface. Or, forgo a changing pad and use a washable towel.

4. Choose a nursing pillow without toxic flame retardants.

Look for fill materials like cotton, wool, buckwheat, or polyester instead of polyurethane foam. Avoid pillows labeled as meeting California flame retardant standard TB117.

5. Use safer options for teethers.

For teething, go plastic-free with teethers made from unfinished wood or use a frozen washcloth.

6. Shop for secondhand clothing, and choose certified organic clothes when possible.

Welcome the hand-me downs, and wash new clothes at least once before your baby wears them.

7. Choose a solid wood or hard plastic highchair or booster seat.

Look for models with a simple washable fabric seat. Avoid antimicrobial or stain-resistant treatments, polyurethane foam, and PVC/vinyl in any seat cushion.

8. Stroll safely by avoiding foam padding in strollers, and fabrics with stain resistant or antimicrobial treatments.

Most plastic stroller rain covers are PVC, so avoid as much as possible. Safer all-weather cover materials include TPU clear plastic.

9. Choose glass baby bottles to avoid concerns about chemicals leaching from plastic, and use clear silicone nipples.

If feeding baby with formula, choose powdered; avoid ready-made formula in metal cans.

10. Join our campaign!

We need your help to protect kids from toxic chemicals. Join us, take action!

Any parent knows that when you have a new baby, you can accumulate a lot of baby gear—car seat, bassinet, changing pad, swing, and more. But new gear isn’t the only thing accumulating in the house. Researchers have found that the baby gets not just comfort from all that gear, but also cancer-causing flame retardants that escape from the foam and wind up in their bodies. Continue reading 

Just as many parents have long mused, Swedish researchers have confirmed that the sludge toddlers expel into their diapers IS, in fact, full of toxic waste.

We wish this was something from “The Onion”, but unfortunately it is real science, which should cause parents and lawmakers real concerns. Continue reading 

It’s always gratifying to see something you planted bearing fruit, isn’t it? That’s how we’re feeling at WTC these days. After being an instrumental part in passing Washington state’s landmark Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA), as well as a toxics-in-packaging law, we’re beginning to see just what is in the children’s products and packaging we bring into our homes. Continue reading 

After our recent study, Hidden Hazards In The Nursery, was released, we had many people contact us about one item in particular- the My Brest Friend nursing pillow. The My Brest Friend website stated that they did not use fire retardants in their foam, but the pillow we tested contained two flame retardants, TDCPP and TCPP. We are confident that our results are accurate. Continue reading