Even Safer Car Seats
What Britax plans to change
Britax announced two days ago that they stand by their previous promise to reduce and/or eliminate hazardous flame retardants and PVC from their car seats by the end of the year. Until now, Britax has been in the line of fire by the Ecology Center's project HealthyStuff.org since a handful of their car seats were categorized by HealthyStuff.org in the Most Toxic Car Seat Guide for 2011. Britax emailed the Ecology Center two days ago with the following statement:
"Britax stands by its commitments to expand its specifications to focus on reducing and/or eliminating the usage of all chemicals containing bromine or chlorine to all components, not just those that are in close or direct contact with children. This new specification has several challenges, but we fully expect that all suppliers will be compliant by the end of 2012. At Britax we committed and continually strive to provide the safest children's products."
Orbit Baby leads the non-toxic revolution
Orbit Baby is the first company to market a car seat free of hazardous flame retardants and PVC. They also certify all their seat fabrics under strict third-party standards established under the Oeko-Tex Standard 100. Orbit Baby has a statement on their website regarding the chemical safety of their car seats.
"All Orbit Baby products comply with the government's requirements for flame retardancy without the use of toxic brominated and chlorinated chemicals, like PBB's and PBDE's… We go above and beyond to certify that there are no dangerous flame retardant chemicals in our fabrics."
What will change?
Decreasing or eliminating brominated and chlorinated fire retardants
Britax and Orbit Baby are phasing out brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, which are typically added to plastics. According to HealthyStuff.org, brominated fire retardants (BFR's) and chlorinated fire retardants (CFR's) have been associated with multiple health problems ranging from thyroid to behavior.
Decreasing or eliminating chlorine
Both companies are also phasing out the chlorine, which is associated with PVC -- a toxin widely known for its environmental and health hazards.
Complying with government safety and eliminating toxins
Jeff Gearhart, founder of HealthyStuff.org and Research Director at the Ecology Center says, "Orbit Baby and Britax prove that it is possible to comply with government fire-safety standards and make a product that does not cause harm to children's health… We thank all of the parents who have expressed concern about toxic chemicals in children's car seats, and these two companies for leading the way to safer products."
The good news is, since the Ecology Center first started researching and testing car seats in 2008, they have found that on average, car seats have improved their toxic levels by 64 percent.