Automotive security seats are designed to guard youngsters, however a lot of them comprise a hidden menace.
A brand new report from the Ecology Middle discovered that greater than half of automobile seats within the U.S. examined comprise poisonous flame retardants or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also referred to as ceaselessly chemical compounds for his or her tendency to persist within the surroundings.
“Dad and mom shouldn’t should strap their little one right into a automobile seat that exposes them to poisonous chemical compounds,” Arlene Blum, govt director of the Inexperienced Science Coverage Institute, stated in a press launch asserting the report. “Automotive seats are important for little one security, which makes this well being inequity particularly problematic. It’s pressing that the Transportation Division replace the ineffective commonplace that causes this downside.”
The chemical compounds discovered within the automobile seats are a priority as a result of they’ve been linked to a number of destructive well being outcomes. Flame retardants that comprise phosphorus and bromine have been related to most cancers, developmental issues, endocrine disruption and diabetes, The Guardian reported. PFAS, in the meantime, have been linked to numerous issues together with most cancers, thyroid and liver illnesses and immune suppression.
The chemical compounds find yourself in automobile seats for 2 causes. PFAS are used for stain-or water-resistance, whereas flame retardants are added to appease flammability requirements set by the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration’s (NHTSA) within the Nineteen Seventies, in keeping with the press launch.
The Ecology Middle stated the scenario had improved within the final 4 years. The middle examined greater than 600 elements from 25 automobile seats, three from Europe and 22 from the U.S. In addition they examined 4 strollers that had been offered with the automobile seats. They additional spoke with corporations and checked out their web sites to find out who was making an effort to promote seats with out the chemical compounds.
General, they discovered that 12 of the 22 U.S. automobile seats had flame retardants, or 55 p.c. 4 of the 19 automobile seats examined, or 21 p.c, seemingly contained PFAS, as did two of the strollers.
They discovered that the variety of flame-retardant-free automobile seats available on the market had elevated to greater than 40 fashions from eight corporations from simply eight fashions in 2018. Firms Britax and Maxi-Cosi promote flame-retardant- and PFAS-free seats for $200, whereas Maxi-Cosi simply launched a flame-retardant- and PFAS-free convertible automobile seat for $130. Nevertheless, it isn’t attainable to buy a automobile seat with none of those chemical compounds for underneath $100.
“Firms are saying, ‘That’s as little as we will go,’” Ecology Middle Inexperienced Residing Assets Director Melissa Cooper Sargent advised The Guardian.
To make it simpler for corporations to supply inexpensive, chemical-free automobile seats, the Ecology Middle is looking on the U.S. authorities to replace its flammability requirements, which it says had been meant to fight fires began by cigarettes and are actually outdated.
“In my 40 years on the Boston Hearth Division, I’ve responded to tons of of automobile fires and tons of of car accidents. In my expertise, supported by statistics, car fires seldom are began by cigarettes, and rarely begin in seating materials. Placing flame retardants in seating would seem to offer no significant security profit to an occupant and we’re unnecessarily exposing youngsters and firefighters to hazards,” Boston Hearth Division member Joseph (Jay) Fleming stated in a press launch.
The Ecology Middle despatched a letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigeig backed by 40 producers, public well being teams and little one security organizations asking him to both:
- Exempt youngsters’s car-seats from present requirements; and
- Create separate car-seat requirements which are nearer to youngsters’s-product requirements than vehicle-interior requirements; or
- Substitute the present open-flame commonplace with a smolder commonplace.
The Ecology Middle has additionally began a petition calling for revised requirements on Change.org.
“These adjustments will enable producers to provide secure, inexpensive automobile seats with out using added poisonous flame retardants. Inexpensive automobile seats ought to come with out chemical prices to youngsters!” the petition reads.