Toxics in Baby’s Bed
65 Organizations Launch “Getting Ready for Baby” Campaign
New Infant Crib Mattress Report Unveiled at Annual ABC Kids Expo
(Las Vegas, NV) A report entitled Flame Retardants Finally Fade — Crib Mattress Makers Respond to Chemical Concerns was released today by the Workgroup for Safe Markets, a growing collaboration of organizations united by a common concern about hazardous chemicals in our homes, our bodies and our environment; and a common vision of a cleaner, healthier economy. The report reveals how U.S. infant crib mattress makers meet flammability standards, comparing current information to a report released two years ago entitledThe Mattress Matters – Protecting Babies from Toxic Chemicals While They Sleep.
“Parents can take heart from what appears to be a dwindling use of chemical approaches to meeting infant crib mattress flammability standards,” said Bobbi Chase Wilding, Deputy Director of Clean and Healthy New York, which authored the report. “But too often, they’re in the dark about which products are safer and which contain chemicals or materials they might want to avoid,” she added. “It’s time for buybuy BABY and Babies”R”Us to use their market clout to protect the health of their young customer base.”
The new research shows that leaders in the crib mattress manufacturing field have figured out how to make them without flame retardant chemicals, many of which have been linked to serious health impacts. More companies are using barriers than two years ago, most often wool, but also boric acid and fiberglass, rather than chemical additives in foam.
Specifically, the report found:
· 18% – or four of the manufacturers surveyed offer mattresses made without either flame retardant chemicals or barriers.
· 91% – or 20 crib mattress makers who responded now use a flame barrier; 13 use wool.
· Three manufacturers use the heavy metal antimony, and two of these use chlorinated or brominated chemicals to achieve flame retardancy.
The report also describes the level of transparency displayed by the different crib mattress makers, and their willingness to disclose their product components and processes. It also assessed information on leading baby product retailers buybuy BABY and Babies”R”Us. This gives parents an idea of what they could find out about crib mattress makeup and non-toxicity without testing products themselves, just by relying on information provided by the manufacturer.
“As nurses, we are often asked by expectant parents which products will be safe for their new babies. Without readily available information, it can be challenging to provide guidance to our patients,” said Katie Huffling, RN, CNM, and Director of Programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. “This report is important to guide manufacturers and businesses so we and our patients have the information we need to purchase products that are safe for our children,” Huffling added.
When it comes to disclosure, the report found:
· Only 13 of the 31 crib makers – 42% – provide details on achieving flammability standards on their website.
· Neither Babies”R”Us nor Buy Buy BABY provide detailed information about how mattresses meet flammability standards on their customer websites.
The report is the first in a series, and its release marks the formal launch of the Getting Ready for Baby Campaign, as a key solution to the lack of disclosure and ongoing use of toxic chemicals in products made for and marketed to children. The reports will highlight children’s product makers that are leaders in producing non-toxic goods, as well as laggards who have not yet made the shift. The Campaign is also targeting the two major domestic retailers of products for children aged newborn through toddler – buybuy BABY and Babies”R”Us – urging them to require their suppliers to disclose whether they use a list of chemicals called the Hazardous 100 +, and to stop carrying products for infants and children that contain these chemicals.
Bev Thorpe, with Clean Production Action and Safemarkets.org, says, “More and more manufacturers and retailers are realizing how important it is to know what’s in the materials they use to make their products. Since our regulations on chemicals are a broken system, it is even more incumbent on the business owner to make sure their products are safe. Company leaders are assessing all the chemicals in their product lines and disclosing this information to buyers. This report is a wake-up call for all retailers and product manufacturers to eliminate hazardous ingredients with safer alternatives.
The report released today also highlights where each brand of infant crib mattress is sold at the two major chains, and what, if any information stores provide about them, either on their website or at the store location. Overall, buybuy BABY provided much less information than did Babies”R”Us.
“Achieving fire safety is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mike Schade, Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) and co-coordinator of the Workgroup for Safe Markets. “There are many other harmful chemicals used in children’s products such as PVC, the poison plastic. That’s why we’re encouraging buybuy BABY and Babies”R”Us to do the right thing for our children by developing a comprehensive chemicals plan, just like Walmart and Target have begun to do.”
The report and copies of the letters sent to Babies”R”Us and buybuy BABY is available at http://www.