Sunday, October 29, 2017

San Francisco Bans Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals in Children's Items and All Furniture- What this Means Even if you Don't Live in San Fran

Soon some parents will not have to worry that their children's furniture
could be exposing them to toxic flame retardant chemicals 

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors  quietly passed a major law his past week.  They banned  the sale of all upholstered furniture and children’s products "made with or containing an added flame retardant chemical" (well - to be exact banned the sale of products containing flame retardant chemicals at a level above 1,000 parts per million)

The law goes into effect in January 2019, giving retailers a year to move their inventory.

What if I don't live in San Francisco?
It still is pretty major news.  The reality is that if this trickles down to the rest of the state of California it might just automatically trickle down to the rest of the US because California is the biggest market in the US and most companies will not produce two products (one with flame retardant chemicals for the rest of the US and one without for California and Maine - who recently passed a similar ban).   

Also, if you are looking for a children's product (or furniture) without flame retardant chemicals you can always purchase it from a local San Francisco store!  

What does the ban include?

All upholstered furniture that currently use flame retardant chemicals( furniture that contain polyurethane foam) as well as children's products including products " designed for residential use by infants and children under 12 years of age, including but not limited to:
 a bassinet
booster seat
changing pad
floor play mat
highchair pad
infant bouncer
infant carrier
infant seat
infant swing
infant walker
nursing pad
nursing pillow
playpen side pad
portable hook-on chair
 children’s nap mat."  

Not included in this ban?  Car seats.

why are flame retardant chemicals bad for me?

Flame retardants chemicals have been linked to issues including hormone disruption, lower IQ, attention problems, reproductive problems and cancer.  

Babies are the most vulnerable population in terms of exposure to these chemical, since their bodies are still developing, however a 2011 Duke University-led study revealed that foam in 80% of tested baby products contained toxic or potentially harmful flame retardant chemicals and another 2010 study found that children living in California have some of the highest documented blood PBDE  (a toxic flame retardant chemical) concentrations of any population studied.

Firefighters  (whoe backed the law) experience higher rates of cancer and flame retardant toxins are found in their blood.

The problem with flame retardant chemicals is that they do not stick/ bind very well to the product they are used on.... thus, they are released over time. Mostly into dust particles and air

and then

Infants, toddlers and children (as well as adults and pets) are exposed to these chemicals through inhalation, ingestion and dermal (skin) absorption.


The longer your furniture sits in your home, the more exposed your family will be to these chemicals.  Electronics also contain flame retardant chemicals.

But, if these chemicals can save my child in a fire- then isn't that more important?

If the answer were yes, this debate would be quite different. The reality is that fires move so fast that these fire retardants are no longer considered to be of any help retarding flames in real life scenarios- especially when the chemicals are placed in the foam and covered by fabric.

Curious about the only flame retardant chemical free car seat in the market?  Read 

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