Posted by Deborah Pujoue on August 26, 2011
I am astounded at all of the things in this world today that have the potential to hurt or maim my 2-year-old daughter, even when they claim to be “made for kids.” Now it has been discovered that even the car seat that I trust to keep my baby safe while on the go is covered in toxic chemicals. I’m using my most sarcastic tone when I respond to this by saying… Really?
According to a recent study that was published Wednesday by a non-profit environmental group, 60 percent of the 150 car seats that were tested by the Michigan-based Ecology Center were discovered to contain chemicals that can harm humans. Some of those chemicals included bromine and chlorine. This means that it is possible that the car sears contain polyvinyl chlorate (PVC), which has been classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The lab studies were conducted on animals (which I don’t really approve of) and showed that bromine-containing flame retardants have the potential to cause permanent damage to a child’s developing brain.
If you want to get a better perspective of just how dangerous PVC is, let me explain. When PVC is burned or dumped in landfills, extremely toxic chemicals called dioxins can build up in the food chain and can cause cancer when the chemicals become airborne or reach the water supply. It can also cause damage to your reproductive system and your immune system. With it being summer, the excessive heat can speed up the breakdown of the chemicals and even make them more toxic.
“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 Ecology Center says.
While all of this sounds terrifying, the Ecology Center researchers have created a list of the best car seats that don’t use as many chemicals. They have also included a list of the worse car seats to use. Frustratingly, different models of the same car seat can contain different levels of bromine, says Jeff Gearhart, research team leader. He also states that it was the flame retardant chemicals used in the upholstery or cushioning that likely causes it.
The least-toxic car seats seem to be the Italian brand Chicco’s KeyFit 30 in the Limonata color, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay and Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche. Oddly enough, two of the Graco infant seats that use a different upholstery (the Snugride 35 Edgemeont Red/Black and Snugride 30 in Asprey) turned out to be the most toxic. If you are using a car seat that was mentioned on this list or if you aren’t sure if your child’s car seat is toxic, you may want to check out the list for yourself.