New Study Reveals Toxic Chemicals in Most Children’s Car Seats

December 2018

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Good news: Three Companies Now Produce Car Seats Without Toxic Flame Retardants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 3, 2018

Contact: Fawn Pattison, Communications Director

Today, Ecology Center’s ‘Healthy Stuff’ program released test results and product ratings in their new 2018 report, Hidden Hazards:Flame Retardants and PFAS in Children’s Car Seats. Ecology Center collaborated with researchers from Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame to incorporate detailed analytical results into the Healthy Stuff report as well as for publication, released today, in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Related research conducted at Duke University has also found toxic flame retardants are widespread in car safety seats and other children’s products.

Important note: Child car seats are mandatory safety devices that save lives. Regardless of any chemical concerns, parents should always properly install and use a children’s car seat.

View car seat test results and rankings and download report infographics here.

Testing also confirmed that three companies now offer a car seat that does not contain added toxic flame retardant chemicals, which include: UPPAbaby MESA – Jordan and Henry models (infant), Clek Fllo – Mammoth (convertible), and Nuna Pipa Lite – Fog (infant). “UPPAbaby developed the first naturally fire retardant car seat because our passionate consumer base wanted a natural alternative. So, I challenged our R&D team to come up with something that had never been done before,” says Bob Monahan, CEO of UPPAbaby. “I believe that through innovation, businesses can be a driver to provide parents with options and healthier safer products.”

“We sincerely applaud the market advances of these three companies,” says Fawn Pattison of NC Child. “But not all families can afford the price tag on flame retardant-free seats. Only a change in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s outdated standards can ensure that all young children can ride safely, and without exposure to toxic flame retardants.”

Public health groups from across the country, including NC Child, are united in a national effort to update the government’s decades-old flammability standards, by publicly calling for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to update their flammability standards.

Toxic flame retardant chemicals used in children’s car seats can harm major systems in the body, including the hormone, developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune systems. These chemicals pose the greatest risk to babies while their organs are still developing (prenatal and postnatal). Exposures to toxic flame retardants have been associated with an array of negative health effects including reduced IQ, developmental delays, autism, hormone disruption, reproductive harm, obesity and cancer.

“The entire class of PFAS chemicals are very persistent in the environment. Studies have shown them to be hazardous chemicals that should not be used in children’s products,” says Graham Peaslee, Researcher and Professor of Experimental Nuclear Physics at the University of Notre Dame. “There are safer alternatives available. Not only are children in close contact with these seat fabrics when they are young, but also when these seat covers are discarded. 100% of these PFASs are going to be released into our environment and could end up in drinking water later.”