Flame retardant clothing – Bad for children?

October 1, 2008 by  
Filed under At Home, Childrens Health

I wasn’t sure why this would be the case, but a warning put out on one of my natural news networks has confirmed that there are many hidden chemical dangers in even children’s clothing. I was reading about an 18-month old baby with sky-high levels of chemical flame retardants in her blood – two or three times the amount that’s known to cause major nerve damage in lab rats – and she had absorbed these chemicals through her skin. In the USA and the UK there are regulations in force relating to children’s nightwear and I am not suggesting you disregard them, but I do think it’s important to bear in mind the effect such chemicals have, particularly on infants and small children.

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group in the USA looked at 20 families and found that ALL the childen under school age had a level of chemical fire retardants in their blood that was an average of three times higher than their parents.

The chemicals in question are known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Unlike the flame retardant antimony, which is generally the kind used to make clothing fire-resistant. Its found in every conceivable household item you can imagine: mattresses, TVs, computers, remote controls, and more.

Like antimony, PBDEs have been known to cause brain damage in animals, but now doctors are concerned that the possible effects on human children could range from hyperactivity to damage to hormone systems and reproductive organs.

Fortunately we are not so insistent on the high levels of fire retardant chemicals in clothing as they are in the USA, but it might be worth considering switching to natural, untreated, cotton garments and maintaining sensible fire precautions in the home – particularly if the child is sensitive to allergens or has a compromised immune system.