Since the enactment of Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in 2008, children’s products sold in the United States must meet certain product safety requirements, such as lead and phthalates, in order to protect children’s health and safety.
Currently, organohalogen and organophosphorous compounds are widely used in children’s cushioned products to meet various state flammability standards. However, these flame retardants are often toxic, and are associated with reduced IQ (similar to lead poisoning), hyperactivity, reduced fertility, birth defects, and hormonal changes. Some examples of the flame retardants are: Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP), Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBB).
Recent studies have shown that flame retardant chemicals in children’s cushioned products are unnecessary, in addition, these products contain small amounts of resilient filling material compared to adult upholstered furniture and thus do not present a significant fire hazard as a fuel source.
On Aug 1, 2013, a bill - H.R.2934 - was introduced in the US House of Representatives to amend the CPSIA by adding a new section to require the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to restrict flame retardant chemicals in resilient filling materials in certain cushioned children’s products.
This bill, titled “Decrease Unsafe Toxins Act”, targets flame retardant chemicals that are organohalogen or organophosphorous compounds. If enacted, children’s cushioned products manufactured on or after 1 year after the enactment date that contain more than 1000 parts per million (ppm) flame retardant chemical by weight in the filling material would be banned. Banning the use of flame retardant chemicals in children’s products would help reduce unnecessary health risks to children associated with exposure to chemicals that do not add a fire safety benefit.
Examples of children’s cushioned products are: high chairs, strollers, infant walkers, booster seats, car seats, changing pads, floor play mats, highchair pads, highchairs, infant swings, bassinets, infant seats, infant bouncers, nursing pads, play yards, playpen side pads, infant mattresses, infant mattress pads, and portable hook-on chairs.