It wasn’t very long ago that I was working on one of the most important lists parents make before the birth of their child – a baby registry.
We spent Saturday afternoons test driving strollers and picking out baby monitors, along with diapers, bottles, bibs, blankets and all of the decisions that are made in preparation for a new baby. The choices are endless and can be overwhelming, but we confidently made a well-researched and thoroughly prepared list. Or so I thought.
Recently I received some shocking news. As part of a voluntary research study through the Duke Superfund Research Center, I submitted a sample from my son’s car seat for toxic chemical testing. The seat he rides in almost daily -- that is supposed to provide him with safety and security -- was found to contain the flame retardant Tris (chloropropyl) phosphate, or TCPP.
Studies have suggested that Tris is a neurotoxin, an endocrine disruptor and a reproductive toxicant. It has been linked to cancer in rats and is on California’s Proposition 65 list of substances known to cause cancer.
And yet – it is in my baby’s car seat?
And even more surprising – this is currently the ‘norm’ in children’s car seats. Healthystuff.org recently released their latest report on flame retardants in car seats and found that almost three quarters of the seats that were tested contained toxic flame retardants.
Toxic flame retardants are the norm, not the exception, in children’s car seats. Isn’t there some type of federal guideline that bans such harmful chemicals from being allowed in everyday items, especially for some of our most vulnerable – babies? Sadly, the answer is kind-of, sort-of but mostly no.
Reading the history of toxic chemical reform in our country is kind of like riding a roller coaster – some highs, some lows and can leave you feeling nauseated. There is currently no meaningful toxic chemical reform legislation at the federal level, so it up to us to make sure these toxic chemicals are forbidden in our state. Fortunately, in a bipartisan effort to ban toxic flame retardants in bedding at the state level in North Carolina, NC Rep. Chuck McGrady and Rep. Pricey Harrison have introduced House Bill 648, which is still up for consideration this session.
As a mom, I want to do something to make sure that the places where my child sleeps, where we read books and snuggle at bedtime are healthy and safe. That’s why I’m excited to invite you to join MomsRising this coming Tuesday, July 28, for a special (and free!) family movie night in Durham where we’ll be screening the documentary Toxic Hot Seat. This powerful film tells the story of toxic flame retardants and how they’ve gotten into our homes and bodies. (MomsRising will also be providing a free healthy dinner for the whole family plus fun crafts for the kids!)
The screening will be laid back, informal, and a lot of fun! Imagine watching a movie in your living room with friends. We’ll chat about the movie and the kids can play or craft nearby while you and other parents learn a thing or two about how toxins get into our homes without us even knowing about it.
Our partners from the NC Conservation Network will join us to share information on how we’re working together to keep our families safe from toxic chemicals.
Here are all the details:
When: Tuesday, July 28. We’ll open the doors at 6 p.m. so people can get dinner and get settled. The movie will start at 6:30.
Where: Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Rd, Durham, NC, in the community room. We’ll have signs out showing the way.
RSVP here: http://action.momsrising.org/signup/Durhamtoxichotseat/
We hope you can join us to learn more about how we can work together to keep our children safe and healthy.
Melea Rose-Waters is a Wake Forest moms of one and a Campaign Associate with MomsRising.org. MomsRising members share occasional posts on Go Ask Mom.