Video: Groups call for ban on chemicals in children’s furnitureSource: Democrat & Chronicle
A consumer-advocacy group today called for major retailers in New York to stop selling children’s upholstered furniture that may contain harmful chemicals.
The Center for Environmental Health, a national group based in Oakland, released a report Wednesday that contended its tests found chemicals in children’s upholstered furniture. The chemicals are used to make the furniture flame retardant, but have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and other serious health issues, the group said.
Health advocates in New York urged lawmakers and state regulators to address the issue. They had a news conference at the Capitol, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl reports.
“We’ve found time and again that flame-retardant chemicals are showing up in products that are never going to be the source of ignition. My kids are not sitting and smoking cigarettes while using these chairs,” said Bobbi Chase Wilding, deputy director for Clean and Healthy New York, an Albany-based advocacy group.
The Center for Environmental Health said it tested 42 products across the country, including three bought in New York and found harmful chemicals called Firemaster 550, TCPP, and TDCPP. All three of the chemicals have been found to cause hormonal disruption, genetic damage, and cancer in children, the group said.
The three chairs sold in New York were the P’kolino Little Reader Chair sold at buybuy Baby, the Disney Minnie Mouse Rocker sold at Kmart, and the Disney Princess Chair sold at Babies “R” Us. There was no immediate comment from the stores or the companies.
Stephen Boese, executive director of the Learning Disabilities Association of New York, raised concerns about the health effects of the chemicals.
“We see a dramatically increasing rate of neurologically impairment, starting in utero and with young children, increasing rates of learning disabilities, and autism,” Boese said. “We also see a corresponding increase of chemicals in products that are known or suspected to cause neurological impairment.”
Laws across the country require chemicals in children’s furniture to meet flammability standards, but health advocates said children products are rarely a source of ignition for fires.
The JustGreen Partnership, a statewide colloboration of health and environmental groups, said the state Legislature should adopt the Child Safe Products Act, which passed in the state Assembly earlier this year. The bill, which didn’t pass the state Senate, would add new regulations to the use of toxic chemicals in children’s products.
“We can have perfectly safe children’s furniture and children’s products without being infused with really intensive amounts of toxic chemicals,” Boese said.