It is real popular right now to chastise plastics and flame retardants as “unhealthy” and “dangerous,” especially in relation to children, baby products, and in general anything related to babies and flame retardants. But are flame retardants really harmful to babies? As adults, we are conditioned to believe that the ability to retard flames is a useful mechanism in virtually any device. We keep fire extinguishers positioned strategically around the workplace and sometimes the home. Most families have at least one fire extinguisher readily available even if they’ve never had to use it. For all the accolades the creation of fire has received throughout human history, modern man is far more equipped to neutralize a fire rather than purposefully ignite one organically.
Baby products are no exception and most are loaded with flame-retardants. Everything from car seats to crib mattresses, even carriers and strollers are outfitted with flame-retardant synthetics. Of course, that is a great feature of baby products, right? I remember a time back when I was a kid when it was completely common for babies to spontaneously burst into flames. There was no telling when it would happen. Therefore combining babies and flame retardants is a no-brainer, right?
Thankfully, we no longer have to live in fear that our small children will unexpectedly flare up and inadvertently ignite an inferno. Thankfully, we live in a time where babies no longer need to be extinguished. We are blessed to have the option of purchasing a myriad of baby accessories that come fully outfitted with flame-retardants. No longer will parents have to worry about the fortuitous conflagration of their children. With so many other concerns related to raising a child like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or remembering to feed it, it is a luxury to never have to worry that it might unintentionally erupt into flames.
However, the list of potential side effects or disorders related to exposure to flame retardant synthetics is lengthy and includes things like the slowing of child motor skills, neurodevelopment delay, undescended testicles, reduced testosterone, and neurological underdevelopment. More seriously, flame retardant exposure is directly related to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome which is likely a less-than-desirable condition for the majority of new parents.
Unfortunately, the great majority of flame-retardant materials use the chemical “Chlorinated Tris,” which is a known carcinogen. More troubling, is the difficulty in finding baby products (or anything made of plastic, really) that does not contain something harmful like Tris. It has become a near impossibility to conceal babies from toxics. While exposure to toxic synthetics likely won’t elicit an immediate decline in the health on a child, it is akin to being exposed low levels of nuclear radiation for years on end. The kind that you’ll never even know is present in your system until your wife mysteriously gives birth to a baby with three nipples and a tail.
Finding products that are certified organic and free of carcinogens is surprisingly difficult and more expensive. The fact that you have a child, however, basically proves that you don’t like money or personal utility anyway and therefore makes spending money on quality wares more acceptable. Your children will eventually be poisoned by a superficial and disgusting subculture so it makes all the more sense to protect them from actual toxins now, while they are still young and have a remote chance of being normal. While it may prevent you from contributing surplus monies to a potential college fund, take solace in the fact that more than two million students graduated from American universities in 2013 and a college education has become virtually irrelevant to individual success.
For anyone who actually intends to take this babies and flame retardants arguement seriously, see the following articles. The Washington Toxics Coalition is a great resource. Washington state is the vanguard of progressive “eco-friendliness” with regards to many things, not just babies and flame retardants.
Read more about the percentage of baby products that contain flame retardants.
Read more about flame retardants, legislation, and baby products.
Learn about chemical testing and the EPA.