As of February 10, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) banned the manufacture of child care articles and toys containing phthalates (pronounced “thalates”). Phthalates are plasticizer chemicals commonly used in crib mattresses and mattress pads: they soften PVC/vinyl to make it pliable so it can be used as a waterproof surface.
They’re also used in many kids’ toys.
Although we’ve never used phthalates in Naturepedic crib mattresses, they have been used for decades by just about every other crib mattress manufacturer out there.
So why the big hullabaloo over chemicals that have been used in baby and child products for decades? Because we now know (have for many years, actually) that phthalates leach out of vinyl over time where they can reach your baby or child. And that is dangerous with a capital D.
Research has linked phthalates to hormonal and endocrine system problems, especially in boys. In 1997, a study published in the International Journal of Cancer found a high risk of testicular cancer associated with exposure to PVC products.
Other research has also linked phthalates to other types of cancer, and to liver problems.
Numerous U.S. government agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The U.S. Department of Health, the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have issued public safety statements concerning the use of phthalates.
Also, a study done by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) concluded that phthalates are animal carcinogens and can cause fetal death, malformations and problems with the endocrine system. The AAP went on to say that the risk to children was even greater because their bodies and organ systems are still developing.
Phthalates have been banned in some European countries for 10 years – finally, the U.S. is catching up.
Read more about phthalates and the phthalates ban on our site.
Phthalates, by the way, are not just in crib mattresses. They can also be found in perfumes and fragrances, cosmetics, scented lotions, shampoos, aftershaves, nail polish, hair spray, toys, car interiors, medical devices like blood IV bags and tubing, vinyl flooring, vinyl wallpaper, and vinyl shower curtains – to name just a few of the most common types of products.
What can you do about? Get educated, get rid of crib mattresses and toys containing phthalates and, in general, get phthalates out of your life. An ounce of prevention ….