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Toxic chemicals forever found in children’s clothes and bedding


Toxic “eternal chemicals” linked to a host of diseases and disorders have been found in every baby product sampled in a new study.

Lab tests commissioned by the Washington DC-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) have found perfluorinated and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) on toys, clothing, bibs and bedding.

PFAS are a common ingredient in clothing and other household items because they are durable and can repel grease, water, stains and heat.

But scientists have warned that they can sometimes dissipate as dust and then be inhaled by young people. They are also durable and can remain in the environment for long periods of time.

The chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, birth defects, autism and infertility.

Sydney Evans, an analyst at EWG and author of the study, told DailyMail.com that the risks they pose “far outweigh any type of stain protection”.

Researchers have found PFAS chemicals on many baby items, including clothes, shoes, bibs and bedding

The EWG, a Washington, DC-based advocacy organization, has mandated a series of independent laboratory tests on the products.

The research first looked at levels of fluorine in the items, a chemical element used to make plastics that can cause tooth decay, osteoporosis and damage to kidneys, bones, nerves and muscles.

The researchers then tested the 10 elements with the highest levels of fluoride for PFAS.

The 10 products were all children’s products which included Sealy and Graco bedding, bibs made by Bumkins and Hudson, UGG boots, a Columbia jacket, bucket hat and pajamas made by Carters and a snack bag also made by Bumkin.

There is no limit on PFAS chemicals in toys at the federal level, but limits have been put in place on its amounts in drinking water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended in guidelines issued in July that its levels not exceed 0.004 parts per trillion (ppt) in drinking water.

Several states, including Maine, have also moved to ban its use in products such as clothing and bedding.

In the study, the biggest offender was the Hudson’s Baby unisex waterproof baby bib, which contained 191.985 parts per billion (ppb) of the substance.

Other products ranged from 1ppt to 52ppt, with researchers warning that any contamination is dangerous.

Researchers warn that exposure to “everlasting chemicals” in young people can affect a child’s social and physical development and impact their behavior as they age.

A University of Texas study last year found that children exposed to PFAS in the womb were more likely to develop autism.

Long-term exposure can also put a person at higher risk for kidney, testicular, ovarian, prostate, thyroid, and bone marrow cancers when they reach adulthood.

The EPA limits PFAS to 0.004 ppt for drinking water. The metric measures the prevalence of particles in a swab sample.

EWG researchers found that fluoride in the 34 baby and infant products they tested

The top ten products in fluoride concentration were also tested for PFAS.  Each of them had detectable levels

EWG researchers found fluoride in all 34 baby and infant products they tested (left). The top ten products in fluoride concentration were also tested for PFAS.

What ARE ‘eternal chemicals’?

“Forever chemicals” are a class of common industrial compounds that do not break down when released into the environment.

Humans are exposed to these chemicals after coming into contact with food, soil, or water reservoirs.

These chemicals – known more specifically as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS – are added to cookware, carpets, textiles and other items to make them more water and stain repellent.

PFAS contamination has been detected in water near manufacturing facilities, as well as at military bases and firefighting training facilities where flame retardant foam is used.

The chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer and damage to the immune system, as well as birth defects, lower birth weights and reduced vaccine response in children.

Ms Evans explained that the high levels of PFAS in these products add to overall exposure in the household, spreading via dust particles that can be inhaled or ingested.

She warns that children in particular are at risk, as they are more likely to put their hands both on the ground and in their mouths – consuming pollutants.

Another bib, the Bumkins Waterproof SuperBib, was also found to contain the toxic chemical – with 3,482 ppb.

Sealy Baby Waterproof Toddler & Crib Mattress Pad contains 0.258 ppb of PFAS, while Sealy Baby – Stain Protection Waterproof Fitted Toddler & Baby Crib Mattress Pad Cover Protector contains 5.71 ppb.

Another bedding product, Graco’s Quick Connect Waterproof Playard Sheets, with 6,255 ppb.

Clothing products were also vulnerable to contamination.

UGG Kids T Mini Bailey Bow Fashion Unisex Boot was found to have 52,207ppb, was the most contaminated of all garments tested.

Other contaminated items include Columbia Boys Glennaker Rain Jacket (1,608 ppb detected), Carters Reversible Bucket Hat (24,029 ppb), and Carter’s Baby Boys Dinosaur Snug Fit 1-Piece Cotton Pajamas (1,016 ppb).

A snack bag tested by the researchers, Bumkins Reusable Food Safe Snack Cloth, was also contaminated with PFAS (7.159 ppb).

Each of the companies was approached for comment by DailyMail.com. None immediately responded.

Although not tested for PFAS, toys, changing mats, nursing pillows, pacifiers and play mats have all tested positive for fluoride.

EWG researchers believe they are also likely contaminated with PFAS.

Ms Evans explains that this harmful chemical is entirely synthetic and almost any level of exposure – no matter how small – carries some risk.

While parents who own a product included in the research may choose to throw it away, she warns that it will be much more difficult to protect the household against PFAS.

‘It’s really hard to shop your way though [PFAS exposure],’ she explained.

‘You can get rid of [one product]but the thing you replace it with will also have PFAS.’

Instead, she asks parents to make sure they’re vigilant when vacuuming and cleaning dust around the house.

She thinks solving the problem lies with regulators, who are responsible for protecting people from exposure to these chemicals.