For those of you that know us, you already know that Josh and I are trying our hardest to live as organic and natural as possible. I just don’t want chemicals in my body, on it, or around us. Not too much to ask…right? Well it is more difficult than I want it to be. Living without chemicals and pollutants in this day, is impossible, but we are doing what we can to slowly eliminate toxins and educate ourselves on alternatives of conventional food, products and clothing to try and reduce exposure. In this quest to live more cleanly, I have come across many things that have completely shocked me. How about some sex hormones or prednisone in your drinking water? Yum (Article).
There are contaminates and toxins everywhere and the small…very small…hippie part of me wants to scream when I find one more thing that could possibly be a danger to my family and me.
Enter Lucia’s pajamas.
This week’s shocker happened when I glanced unassumingly at the tag of my daughters PJ’s. The label read “flame resistant.” Oh man. I know from research I have done on mattresses, car seats and furniture, of the potential dangers of flame retardant treatments, so I was not pumped.
Maybe some of you know this…but I didn’t…so here is the skinny.
Kids pajamas from ages 9-months and up are required by law to meet flammability requirements, which means they are treated with flame retardants to make them resistant to fires. This happened initially in the early 1970s. TheUS Department of Commerce declared it mandatory so manufactures began treating.
Sounds good right? Well not really.
The chemicals they were using initially were very untested...one chemical in particular....Tris-BP. After four years of adding it to children's pajamas, it was banned. The National Cancer Institution found it to be one hundred times more powerful than the carcinogens in cigarette smoke. Fabulous. Slowly some of the other retardants being used have been eliminated...but slowly is a key word here friends. You all know how this works...if cost is going to go up for manufacturers in anyway, most will fight tooth and nail to avoid it.
Back to the dangers....Aside from Tris-BP, flame retardants, still in use, have been linked to serious health risks like cancer, birth defects, neurodevelopment delays in children, hormone and thyroid issues and more. Do any simple search online and you will find tons of studies and articles about the dangers. Here is one here and here and here and here.
Chemicals used on the fabrics include chlorinated and brominated flame retardants, inorganic flame retardants such as antimony oxides, and phosphate-based compounds (link)
In one of the articles I came across, a Yale University publication, a professor of chemistry at Duke University, Heather Stapleton, said, “A high proportion of infants are in physical contact with products treated with these chemicals almost 24 hours a day. Some of these chemicals are either known or suspected carcinogens. During the first year of life, infants are still developing, particularly their brain. And some of these flame retardant chemicals have chemical structures similar to known developmental neurotoxicants (e.g. organophosphate pesticides).”
The publications also links low baby birth weight to a high amount of flame retardants in the mothers blood.
But aren’t fires a large concern too? Yes of course. But is it necessary for flame retardants to be in kids PJ’s? That is up to you to decide, but here is a little additional info. This blog gives an example of some stats from the CPSC that shows the majority of children hurt or killed in fire incidents between 2004 and 2005 were wearing daytime clothing. There were incidences that did happen at night but the study shows that a dozen or so of those children were wearing flame retardant pajamas and still suffered injuries. None of the incidents involved children wearing 100% cotton tight fitting pajamas or infant garments size 9 months or smaller (which aren’t treated with flame retardants). In general…aside from this study there are very low incidences of burn injuries in pajamas overall....and as one reader pointed out, most fire deaths are from smoke injuries (link).
So we decided putting Lucia in the treated PJ's was a risk we are not going to take....because there is a much better option. Two piece sets like the one you see on Lucia here.
These do not have to be treated because they are tight fitting pajamas. The tags on them say “wear snug fitting" or "not flame resistant.” So these are a great option. But they MUST be tight fitting. Opting for cotton or wool and avoiding synthetic materials like polyester and nylon will help you avoid the retardants. Most of these unnatural fibers will contain chemicals, either woven into the fabric or put on after. Look for the key words on the tags “must be snug fitting” and “not flame resistant.”
So what to do with the ones we already have?
There were several articles (here and here) that I came across that said if the PJ's that are 100% polyester, during manufacturing they chemically insert fire retardants, and because they are part of the polyester's molecular composition, they are "stable and not likely to harm children...." Not likely? Hmm
Some say you can wash out the flame resistant chemicals with things like de-greasing soap, baking soda or vinegar, but again from the research I have done, I can't find any solid proof of this and it just seems like these "tricks" will deactivate the flame retardant qualities on treated ones and not actually take the chemicals out (especially if they have been woven into the fabric) potentially making the PJ’s more dangerous.
Yes, there are a lot more things to worry about than Lucia's PJs ...like where will we move if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton gets elected...But why take a health risk if you don't have to? So the Duvall’s will now stick with natural fibers and tight fitting sleepers…and I hope you guys do as well.
Hello friends! I am Lisa. Lover of Christ and family, a former television reporter, and a wife and mom who strives to live a healthy, toxic free lifestyle.