Flame Retardants in Car Seats—Do We Need Them?

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Photo for Car Seat BlogCar seats are essential to protecting children in cars. Due to a federal motor vehicle flammability standard, many materials in automobiles, including car seats, contain harmful flame retardants. There is no evidence showing this standard increases fire safety for children, but the standard results in exposure to chemicals that have been associated with cancer, endocrine disruption, and neurological and reproductive impairment. In a study by the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit, three quarters of car seats tested were found to contain hazardous flame retardants. (This small study analyzed 2014 model car seats from a number of manufacturers.) Based on its findings, the Ecology Center urges regulators to consider exempting child car seats from regulations that do not increase safety but do lead to the use of harmful chemicals.

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