Children’s sleepwear is always saturated with fire retardant in this country, just in case your two-year old is playing with a lighter after bedtime.
Seriously, though, this practice began as a way to avoid those loose sparks from a fireplace from igniting little ones in loose pajamas. Loose pajamas have also been known to drag into a candle flame and catch fire. I have to think these types of accidents were more common a century or more ago, but we have been brainwashed with the legacy now enforced through chemical treatment of children’s pajamas through size 12.
The flame retardant chemical Tris was banned in the 1970s for toxicity, but the industry just switched to PBDEs, flourocarbons, and other toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, these chemicals, which are supposed to stay in the clothes for up to 50 washes, have been linked with lower IQ, neurodevelopmental problems, hormone disruption and impaired fertility.
The Chicago Tribune published an investigative series in 2012 about the inner workings of the flame retardant chemical industry.
The Tribune’s Playing With Fire series, published in May, revealed how flame retardants are commonly found in American homes as a result of a decades-long campaign of deception by the tobacco and chemical industries. Among other things, the leading manufacturers of flame retardants created a phony consumer group that stoked the public’s fear of fire to protect and expand the use of their chemicals in furniture, electronics and other products.
What more can we learn about the tobacco and chemical industries to illustrate their motto of greed over health? It’s appalling.
What can you do to lower your kids’ exposure to these toxic flame retardant chemicals in their pajamas?
1. Choose organic cotton pajamas. But read the label, because if it says “flame resistant”, it likely has been treated with chemicals anyway.
2. Use secondhand pajamas. The chemicals are likely all washed out by the time they get to the second wearer.
3. Soak new pajamas in a solution of 50/50 white vinegar and water for a day or two before wearing, and then wash in soap, not detergent. You’ll only have to do this once.