Sunday, January 14, 2007

Flame retardant clothing

I thought I would devote a post to some of the information I have discovered on flame retardant clothing. I only very recently learned about the problems with this thanks to the smart mamas on MDC.

Here is a link to an article from on Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs). Here is a little information from that site:

Animal studies have linked PBDEs to neurodevelopmental and behavioral deficits, thyroid hormone disruption, and possibly cancer. PBDEs are used more heavily in the U.S. and Canada than anywhere else in the world.

PBDEs may impair the brain function and motor skills of children. All PBDEs disrupt thyroid hormone balance because the chemical structure of PBDEs closely resembles thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormone function is critical to proper brain development both in the womb and after birth.

Apparently these PBDEs are in just about everything. Not only in our children's clothing, but in our furniture, carpeting, bedding, the list goes on. Most alarmingly, PDBEs are being found in mother's breastmilk, so you can see how scary this can be.

I just wanted to provide this as my own little PSA. Like I said, I only very recently learned about this stuff, so we have a ways to go to start phasing some of it out of our lives.

Interesting, another thing I learned on MDC, is that flame retardant clothing doesn't burn, but it does melt. Wearing close fitting, cotton clothing is going to be your best bet for safety, in my (and many other's) opinion. I am not sure about other clothing manufacturers, but my daughter's fleece Carter's pajamas have a tag hidden down on the side of them that says "to retain flame resistance . . . " so you may want to check your own child's clothing for these kinds of tags. They aren't warning tags, but rather information on how to maintain the flame resistance. It is thought that frequent washing might help break this stuff down, but you don't really know. At any rate, buying these products just sort of continues the cycle.

Iris lives in Carter's fleece pajamas. Luckily she is outgrowing them, and they have been washed about eight million times, so I will just let it go until they head for the garbage. I just bought Eloise several pairs of these pajamas and am just kicking myself for it. I mentioned in my last post that Hanna Andersson makes organic cotton pajamas with no flame retardants on it. Plus, they are super cute. See these and these. Are they expensive? Yes, very. I can get four pairs of Carter's fleece pajamas on sale for the price of one pair of Hanna Andersson pajamas on sale. I don't know this from personal experience, but I have heard they hold up really, really well and I have seen them have amazing re-sale value on E-Bay. Something to think about. Also, snug fitting pajamas like those sold at Old Navy and Gap aren't treated with flame retardants and are a bit cheaper.

As with everything, it is my opinion that parents should do their own research and come to their own conclusions about these kinds of issues. I just have heard from so many parents that they didn't even know these kinds of things existed.


  1. I will say the expense up front for Hannas does seem expensive (watch for good sales and ebay, though!) BUT I can tell you from experience, after washing our Hannas a HUNDRED times- they retain their size, color, feel, etc and still look new. Seriously! I never had that happen with the cheaper ones! Also, Hannas have a great re-sell value on ebay!! ; )

  2. Thanks for the info! We love Hannas as well. Ebay is a good place, or a Hanna OUTLET!!! During big sales, I have gotten Hanna Zipper Sleepers for $5!!!!!!!! WOW!!!! And then you can pick-up a few extras and sale them on EBAY for a profit! I think there is also a Hanna For Sale or Trade Site through Yahoo as well. Just search it at Yahoo. I just love the colors as well as how they are made.


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