Toxic chemicals found in kids' car seats: study

August 3, 2011

More than half of children's car seats sold in the United States contain hazardous chemicals, according to a study published Wednesday by a non-profit environmental group.

Sixty percent of 150 car seats tested by the Michigan-based Ecology Center were found to contain chemicals that can be harmful to human health such as bromine and chlorine, which points to the presence of polyvinyl chlorate (PVC).

Studies in lab animals have found that bromine-containing can permanently affect the developing brain, while PVC has been classified by the US Environmental Protection Administration as a known human carcinogen.

When PVC is burned or dumped in landfills, dioxins -- highly toxic chemicals that build up in the food chain and can cause cancer, as well as harm the immune and reproductive systems -- are released into the air and water.

"Heat and UV-ray exposure in cars can accelerate the breakdown of these chemicals and possibly increase their toxicity," the Ecology Center said in a statement.

"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."

Ecology Center researchers compiled a list of the best and worst in terms of the chemicals found in them, and posted it on the HealthyStuff.org website.

Levels of bromine varied between different models of the same make of car seat, with the source usually being a flame retardant used in the upholstery or cushioning, research team leader Jeff Gearhart told AFP.

The least toxic infant seats were Italian brand Chicco's KeyFit 30 in the Limonata color scheme, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay and Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche.

Two Graco infant seats with different upholstery -- the Snugride 35 in Edgemont Red/Black and Snugride 30 in Asprey -- were meanwhile among the most toxic.

Using an x-ray fluorescence machine, which identifies the make-up of materials in less than 60 seconds, the Ecology Center has conducted more than 20,000 tests for on some 7,000 consumer products since 1997.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.