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Toxic Fire Retardant Chemicals Found in Common Baby Products

Posted Nov. 19, 2008 / Posted by: admin

For Immediate Release:

For more information contact:
Russell Long, Friends of the Earth, 415-302-4824
Sara Schedler, Friends of the Earth, 510-384-4954
Shannan Velayas, Assemblyman Leno’s office, 916-271-2867

'Killer Cribs' study by Friends of the Earth finds babies and infants are at risk; group asks manufacturer Graco to halt use of toxic chemicals; Legislation advancing in California

SAN FRANCISCO—Toxic fire retardant chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and neurological and other health problems are prevalent in common baby products, according to a study released today by national environmental group Friends of the Earth.

The study, “Killer Cribs: Protecting Infants and Children from Toxic Exposure,” is part of a story that aired last night on the CBS Evening News. The study finds that these toxic chemicals, called halogenated fire retardants, appear in a high percentage of baby products, including portable cribs, strollers, car seats and infant carriers. Due to their prevalence in common household products, these chemicals have been found in breast milk and in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to the health effects of these chemicals as they impact development at critical stages of growth.

“We’re poisoning our children, one crib at a time,” said Russell Long, Vice-President of Friends of the Earth. “Given the clear links to learning disorders and reproductive problems, this is beyond foolish. Fortunately, there are fire-safe alternatives, but the chemical industry is fighting hard to keep its profits at the expense of our kids.”

Friends of the Earth’s Sara Schedler, the report’s lead author said, “We sampled a wide variety of children’s products, and what we found was alarming. Toxic chemicals are being put into products that children and babies interact with on a regular basis, endangering their health. The government must act now to limit these chemicals’ use, and companies should immediately phase them of their products.”

The largest state in the nation may soon enact safeguards. A bill sponsored by California Assemblyman Mark Leno (AB 706) would end the use of these dangerous chemicals in many products and has already passed the California Assembly. Action is pending on the California Senate floor.

“Kids shouldn’t have to sleep on or play with toxic products that could cause long-term damage to their health,” Leno said. “Our bill would help ensure they don’t. It creates smarter and improved fire-safety standards while protecting kids, workers, and others from toxic chemical exposure. Today’s study from Friends of the Earth underscores the urgent need for the Senate to pass this legislation.”

Friends of the Earth also announced today that it is working with organizations including MOMS: Making Our Milk Safe and MomsRising.org to encourage baby and children’s product manufacturers to end the use of toxic fire retardant chemicals in their products. The groups are approaching juvenile product company Graco first, encouraging hundreds of thousands of activists and consumers to contact Graco and request that it take the lead within its industry by dropping the use of these chemicals.

The findings in the "Killer Cribs” report released today are based on a sample of 150 baby products and 350 pieces of household furniture from California stores and residences. More information is available from Friends of the Earth at http://killercribs.org.

 

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Friends of the Earth (foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile efforts to create a more healthy, just world.

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