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Concerned about hazardous chemicals in homes, people’s bodies and the environment as well as a cleaner, healthier economy, the Workgroup for Safe Markets released “Flame Retardants Finally Fade — Crib Mattress Makers Respond to Chemical Concerns” on Oct. 15 at ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas.

The report reveals how U.S. infant crib mattress makers meet flammability standards, comparing current information to a report released two years ago: “The Mattress Matters – Protecting Babies from Toxic Chemicals While They Sleep.”

“Parents can take heart from what appears to be a dwindling use of chemical approaches to meeting infant crib mattress flammability standards,” said Bobbi Chase Wilding, deputy director, Clean and Healthy New York, which authored the report. “The new research shows that leaders in the crib mattress manufacturing field have figured out how to make them without flame retardant chemicals, many of which have been linked to serious health impacts.”

More companies are using barriers than two years ago, most often wool but also boric acid and fiberglass, rather than chemical additives in foam.

The report also found:

  • 18 percent or four of the manufacturers surveyed offer mattresses made without either flame retardant chemicals or barriers.
  •  91 percent or 20 crib mattress makers who responded now use a flame barrier, with 12 using wool.
  • Three manufacturers use the heavy metal antimony, and two of these use chlorinated or brominated chemicals to achieve flame retardancy.

The report also describes the level of transparency displayed by the different crib mattress makers and their willingness to disclose their product components and processes. It also assessed information on leading baby product retailers – buybuy BABY and Babies”R”Us.  This gives parents an idea of what they could find out about crib mattress makeup and non-toxicity without testing products themselves, just by relying on information provided by the manufacturer.

The report is the first in a series, and its release marks the formal launch of the Getting Ready for Baby Campaign as a key solution to the lack of disclosure and ongoing use of toxic chemicals in products made for and marketed to children. The reports will highlight children’s product makers that are leaders in producing non-toxic goods as well as laggards who have not yet made the shift.

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