Seattle, WA – Makers of children’s products have reported widespread use of harmful chemicals under a reporting requirement of the landmark Washington state 2008 Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA). “What’s on Your List? Toxic Chemicals in Your Shopping Cart,” reveals the prevalence of chemicals that can cause cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental problems in products readily available for purchase at many of the country’s largest retailers, including toxic flame retardants.
Among the total 4,605 reports of toxic chemicals in children’s products are reports of car seats and toys containing toxic flame retardants linked to cancer, learning disabilities and fertility problems. Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC), along with doctors, nurses, disability rights advocates, firefighters, and environmental groups, are urging the legislature to pass the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act (ESHB 1294/SB 6048) that will ban six toxic flame retardants appearing on the “Chemicals of High Concern to Children” and help prevent manufacturers from substituting them with flame retardants that are just as bad or more harmful.
These reports of “Chemicals of High Concern to Children” being used in children’s toys, clothing, safety products and bedding were reported by manufacturers between March and September 2013.
Among the findings:
- Four different toxic flame retardants were reported in toys or car seats.
- Antimony trioxide, a carcinogen, was reported in toy vehicles.
- The Tris flame retardant TCEP was reported in baby car seats. It is a carcinogen and reproductive toxicant.
- TBBPA, linked to developmental and reproductive problems, was reported in toys, jewelry, and craft materials.
- The PBDE flame retardant deca-BDE was reported in the plastic of baby car and booster seats. In 2007, Washington passed legislation banning deca-BDE for certain uses.
“The information we are getting from this reporting is critical, but it’s not going to protect the health of our kids,” said Laurie Valeriano, Executive Director of the Washington Toxics Coalition.. “We are asking for swift action on the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act by the Washington State Senate that will ban the use of these toxic flame retardants and help prevent manufacturers from switching to equally bad or worse chemicals.”
The bill (ESHB 1294) passed the House with broad bi-partisan support (72-25). A stripped down measure (SB 6540) banning only two TRIS flame retardants had a hearing in the Senate on Tuesday, February 5th. Advocates are concerned that this much weaker version that does not protect kids will move through the Senate.
“It is clear that the biggest concern about the bill in the Senate is there is no provision that establishes an open, public, transparent process to ban other toxic flame retardants in the future,” added Valeriano. “The significant bi-partisan vote in the House demonstrates faith in this proposed process..”
The CSPA is the first of its kind in the United States and has been lauded for shedding light on the use of harmful chemicals in children’s products. For the first time under the 2008 law, medium-sized manufacturers with gross sales of $100 million or more were required to disclose whether they were using any of the 66 “Chemicals of High Concern to Children” in children
The chemicals being reported are linked to cancer, hormone disruption and atypical reproductive development, like early puberty. Among the chemicals reported are: flame retardants, formaldehyde, bisphenol A (BPA), parabens, phthalates, heavy metals and industrial solvents.