How to Protect Your Baby From Carcinogenic Flame Retardants

[ 0 ] July 1, 2012 |

This baby c
ould be exposed to carcinogenic flame retardants through her car seat – or even breast milk. genConnect expert Rachel Sarnoff has the latest on protecting your baby from harmful chemicals…

I never thought much about where we spend most of our leisure time – in bed, or on the couch – until I started learning the frightening truth about dangerously toxic flame retardants.

Can Governor Brown Snuff Out Flame Retardants?

Apparently, California Gov. Jerry Brown’s pretty scared, too. Brown recently spoke out in favor of revising California’s furniture flammability standards.

Related: Protect Your Baby From These Dangerous Products

Because the state represents such a large market, California’s standards have become a national standard, essentially forcing furniture and baby product manufacturers throughout North America to add chemical flame retardants to their products.

“Toxic flame retardants are found in everything from high chairs to couches and a growing body of evidence suggests that these chemicals harm human health and the environment,” Gov. Brown said. “We must find better ways to meet fire safety standards by reducing and eliminating – wherever possible – dangerous chemicals.”

Rachel Sarnoff

Related: Rachel Sarnoff’s Steps To Protecting Your Baby

Recently, there’s been a veritable blitz of media supporting flame retardants opposition, including a Chicago Tribune multi-part series, which I predict will win a Pulitzer.

The bottom line is that the ubiquitous use of flame retardants in this country is a direct result of a campaign by the tobacco industry: More than 80 percent of furniture sold in the United States contains foam treated with flame retardant chemicals, and Americans record levels as much as 100 times higher than Europeans.

Flame retardants don’t protect us from fires, and the chemicals – which are transmitted through dust to our lungs, blood and even breast milk – are linked to cancer, as well as neurological, developmental and fertility problems.

Related: Pregnant? Be Wary of Tuna and Big Fish

But the tide seems to be turning: In addition to Gov. Brown doing the right thing, the Green Science Policy Institute announced recently that it had successfully prevented an international standard that would have required flame retardants in television cases. The move thwarted a decade-long promotion from the chemical industry, reduces flame retardant exposures, and will allow the cases to be recycled.

Here’s what you can do…

  • Make your voice heard by signing Sara Snow’s petition to eliminate flame retardants from Graco’s products.
  • Wash your hands! According to Discovery News, “workers who washed hands more than four times a day had a threefold reduction in blood levels of certain PBDE flame retardants.”

Related: Happiest Baby Guru Dr. Harvey Karp Can Help You, Too

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Category: Family, Parenting, Relationships

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About Rachel Sarnoff: Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff blogs as, founded, appeared on “Today” and “CNN,” is the former Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World & was Editor-in-Chief of Children magazine—before she had kids. She lives in [...]
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