Flame Retardants & Beyond- Childcare Center Resources

When it comes to exposure to toxic chemicals, young children are particularly vulnerable, more likely to have high levels of these chemicals in their bodies, and, the effects of chemicals are much more severe for young children because their brains and bodies are still developing.

It is critical that children have safe environments to live, learn and play, and as a childcare provider, we understand that your hands are full working to accomplish just that. At CEH we want to assist you in keeping the kids that you care for safe, so we have created several free resources.


Chemicals of Concern in the Childcare Setting


image002Are your children safe from toxic flame retardants? Find out in our new 2016 shopping guide.

CEH tested 12 nap mats from a variety of manufacturers and retailers for the presence of flame retardant chemicals. Check out the results.

The Good and the Bad News About BPA



Answers to frequently asked questions about toxic chemicals and children’s health.

Question:  How can I know if my furniture contains flame retardant chemicals?

Answer:  In many cases, there is no sure way to tell. Manufacturers are not required to disclose whether they use flame retardants or not, and few label their products. CEH is urging retailers and producers to label their products once TB 117-2013 comes into effect on January 1, so consumers can make an informed choice when they shop.  For older furniture, here are some guidelines: Furniture that does not contain polyurethane foam usually does not contain flame retardant chemicals. If your furniture contains polyurethane foam and you bought or reupholstered it between 1980-2016, or if it has a label stating it complies with TB 117, it probably contains a flame retardant chemical.The more recently you bought your couch, and/ or if it has a TB 117 label, the higher the likelihood that is has flame retardant chemicals.

Question:  Can my foam be tested for the presence of flame retardants?

Answer:  The Center for Environmental Health can test foam to detect the presence of elements in some major flame retardants. These results do not indicate which specific flame retardant your furniture contains or in what concentration, but if we find the elements we are looking for (chlorine and bromine) it is likely that the foam has been treated with these flame retardants.  For instructions on how to take a foam sample, follow these instructions and we will get results back to you in 4 weeks. (Include link)