Flame Retardants

This article discusses some of the history regarding Flame retardants in our household and children’s products (unfortunately the whole article cannot be viewed without purchase).

What many don’t know is that flame retardants are now required by our government regulations in so many products that our children come in contact with. Avoiding them is very difficult, as it is not required to inform the consumer which chemical they have used, only that it is treated.

I have struggled with this through the years and wondered how to address it in my home. I have some items I am pretty careful with because they are within my control, (very important for my own sanity). I only buy my kids the tight fitting all cotton pajamas, since they sleep with these fabrics against their skin for 12 hours a night. This has however, been a struggle with my little girls, they want pretty nightgowns, which are not allowed to be sold without flame retardants. So, I have many times had homemade ones made, with all the ruffles I can find. I have also at times had them wear the cotton “long johns” under the pretty thin nightgown since it then doesn’t touch their skin. I can’t say that is the perfect solution, but I also don’t want my kids years from now telling me how I scared their childhood by withholding Disney princess nightgowns from them.

Flame retardants have been used for years, and we still have been unable to secure safety in regards to their use. Knowing this, I proceed cautiously with any new “fabric treatment”, and prefer not to by the “antimicrobial fabrics”, as I suspect they have just the same level of care in regards to testing for our children. Shoes are the most problematic, as your feet are very absorptive, and the number of different chemicals used in their manufacture is immense. It is impossible to regulate this. Especially when our kids were babies, I purchased all leather, often European made shoes, even if I had to purchase them used in order to afford them. I also do not allow my girls to wear foam flip flops, as these the vinyl foam is known for heavy metal contamination, and they will wear them barefoot, in the heat, making the perfect absorptive environment.

I wish I had better advice regarding this, but I hope you find this helpful to consider.




Sam Malik