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08/03/2011 06:39 AM     print story email story  

Majority of Kid's Car Seats Test Positive for Toxic Chemicals

SustainableBusiness.com News

While some children's car seats are virtually free of the most dangerous chemicals used in consumer products, 60% tested positive for at least one those chemicals, according to a study conducted by the nonprofit Ecology Center.

The good news is that car seats are improving in terms of their toxicity levels. Since 2008, when the Ecology Center started this research, average car seat rankings have improved by 64%.

This year, they tested over 150, 2011-model car seats for bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers); lead; other heavy metals, and allergens.

These substances have been linked to allergies, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer. Heat and UV-ray exposure in cars can accelerate the breakdown of these chemicals and possibly increase their toxicity.

Babies are the most vulnerable population in terms of exposure, since their bodily systems are still developing and they spend many hours in their car seats.

The website, www.HealthyStuff.org, has comprehensive data on toxic chemicals in toys, cars, home improvement products and more, allows users to compare best- and worst-scoring car seats with respect to toxic chemical content.

Most Toxic 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Graco Snugride 35 in Edgemont Red/Black & Graco SnugRide 30 in Asprey
  • Convertible Seat: Britax Marathon 70 in Jet Set & Britax Marathon in Platinum
  • Booster Seat: Recaro Pro Booster in Blue Opal & Recaro ProSPORT Toddler in Misty

Least Toxic 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30 in Limonata, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay & Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche
  • Convertible Carseat: Graco Comfort Sport in Caleo, Graco MyRide 65 in Chandler and Streamer, Safety 1st OnSide Air in Clearwater, and Graco Nautilus Elite 3-in-1 in Gabe
  • Booster Seat: Graco Turbo Booster in Anders

Other brands tested in include: Alpha Sport, Baby Trend, Clek, Compass, Dorel Juvenile Group (Cosco, Eddie Bauer, Maxi-Cosi, Safety First), Evenflo, Fisher Price, Harmony Juvenile, Orbit Baby, Peg Perego, Sunshine Kids, Teutonia and The First Years.

"Car seats save lives. It's absolutely essential that parents put their children in them while driving, regardless of the rating a particular seat received at HealthyStuff.org," says Jeff Gearhart, the Ecology Center's Research Director. "However, our research shows that some car seats contain more harmful chemicals than others. HealthyStuff.org makes it easier for parents to research the best car seat for their child."

The Alliance for Toxic-Free Fire Safety and HealthyStuff.org are asking the largest car seat retailers, Graco and Evenflo, to disclose and phase out hazardous chemical flame retardant additives.

"This study is yet another example of how our country's major chemicals law - the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 - is flawed and fails to protect children from hazardous chemicals," says Andy Igrejas, Director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition. "Databases such as HealthyStuff.org can provide people with valuable information, but reforming our federal regulatory system so that harmful chemicals don't end up on the market in the first place is long overdue."

Since 1997, researchers at the Ecology Center have performed over 20,000 tests for toxic chemicals on 7,000 consumer products. To sample products they use a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, which identifies the elemental composition of materials in less than 60 seconds without destroying the product.

Website: www.healthystuff.org/departments/childrens-products/about.findings.php



Reader Comments (5)

Author:
kidsrcool

Date Posted:
08/03/11 01:32 PM

This is article is irresponsible. It is critical that parents always use car seats and using scare tactics to make an organization seem relevant is ludicrous. Simply stating there are harmful chemicals present without providing data is a joke. There are "harmful" chemicals in just about everything - but below a specified level they are irrelevant to the human body. People, please use your car seats, and until these "professionals" provide data to showing unsafe levels or chemicals, ignore this crap.

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Author:
Milk and Whimsy

Date Posted:
08/03/11 01:53 PM

To the previous poster: this article is not advocating that we not put our children in car seats. Please read before you make such an erroneous statement. This article is bringing attention to the toxicity in car seats and gives parents the information to make informed choices. Infants are the most vulnerable members of our society and need us to protect them: this article is helping us do that. I pity your children: your lackadaisical attitude to toxins and protecting children is alarming.

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Author:
kidsrcool

Date Posted:
08/03/11 04:34 PM

To Milk and Whimsy I read the article, several times. I never stated that it was "advocating that we not put our children in car seats". Please read my response before making such an erroneous statement. The article does state very clearly that these chemicals are harmful. It does not state at what level they are harmful and at what level they are safe. So what is the average parent supposed to conclude? Is my car seat safe? Scaring people into possibly not using their car seat because of potentially unwarranted fear is absolutely irresponsible. They need to provide the data to help me make an informed decision of the risks.

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Author:
TJM

Date Posted:
08/03/11 04:59 PM

So Of course I have one of the most Toxic ones which is the Britax Platinum so what now? I've had it for 2 years!

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Author:
Milk and Whimsy

Date Posted:
08/04/11 09:53 PM

kidsrcool: so sorry for my error. I must have misread. I hope that parents know that car seats must always be used, and it is better to use a toxic one than none at all.

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