Research carried out by a university in the US has identified a number of carcinogens in baby products.
Dr Heather Stapleton, of North Carolina’s Duke University, led a team of researchers who discovered the presence of penta, TCEP (Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate) and chlorinated tris in changing mats, car seats and baby carriers. Although the chemicals are used as flame-retardants in products to meet fire safety regulations, the study suggests babies and children may be at risk of suffering serious illness.
Testing 101 popular baby products, including pushchairs, mattresses and rocking chairs, the study found penta in five products, TCEP is nine and chlorinated tris in thirty six. Penta is a neurotoxin that has been banned in eight US states. TCEP is listed as a human carcinogen by the state of California, while chlorinated tris is described as a probable carcinogen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Explaining how the carcinogenic toxins might be inhaled or absorbed through the skin, Dr Stapleton said: “I became concerned when we were finding chemicals that were shown to be suspected carcinogens or known carcinogens.”
Dr Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of medical negligence Health Sciences, added: “To me, Dr Stapleton’s paper is a wake-up call. I am concerned about not only cancer, but reproductive or neurological effects as well – the developing brain.”
Although the study did not name specific brands of product found to contain the carcinogens, CBS News reported that car seat manufacturer, Evenflo, was involved. Responding to the allegation, Evenflo published a statement that read: “Protecting children is Evenflo’s number one priority. Evenflo uses the same types of fire retardant materials to meet strict mandatory federal and state flammability requirements as do automobile and other baby and juvenile products manufacturers.”
A statement released by North American Flame Retardant Alliance of the American Chemistry Council (NAFRA), read: “Flame retardants are well-studied and provide important fire safety benefits in homes, cars and public areas… our member companies are on the forefront of innovating new flame retardants, which undergo extensive testing by manufacturers and the safety data are scrutinised by government in the US and abroad.”