What are Fire Retardants?

What are Fire Retardants?

You may have noticed some changes around here: a few brands and popular items that we don't sell anymore. Well, the reason for this is we, as a company, are taking a progressive step to remove all products from our site that contain toxic chemical fire retardants (FRs). We took a deep dive into investigating these chemicals, and while they aren't against the standards of "safe" manufacturing laws (yet), we made the difficult decision to stop selling these products.

Initially, lowtox living had been a passion of ours, but it was only personal interest. It wasn’t until breaking research emerged that dove into testing the adverse effects caused by FR exposure. In this study, they tested 16,162 US citizens to see if exposure to fire retardants increased their risk of death and concluded YES... yes it does.

So what does this mean for the baby industry specifically? 

You'll find FRs in many items that have the potential to catch on fire: building materials, furniture, upholstry, cars parts, etc. The most unsettling part of this study was the fact that many small children have more exposure to these chemicals than their own parents do. HOW? Well, to meet the ASTM standards to pass into the US market, you have to meet their flammability standard. Baby products, especially, must meet it.

Unfortunately, instead of opting for the safe, but more expensive, naturally fire-resistant options, some companies cut costs and use cheaper materials that they then spray with toxic chemicals in order to meet the standard by coating car seats, foam mats, crib mattresses...even baby pajamas and clothes.

It was absolutely wild to find out that these chemicals are even present on some GREENGUARD Gold Certified products. The reason for this is GREENGUARD Gold tests for chemical emissions, but it isn't focusing on the actual components. So, as long as the fire retardant-soaked foam in a mattress is covered with chemical-free fabric and remains untorn, "you're great" - certified safe. They even state to "Keep existing infant car seats, foam mattress pads and furniture cushions completely encased in protective fabric that is not treated with flame retardants, as torn and exposed foam allows the chemicals to escape more quickly." We are not on board with this.

In order to gain a fire retardant free badge in our collection, the product must be completely clear and free of these unsafe chemicals. 


Shop Fire Retardant Free Car SeatsShop Fire Retardant Free StrollersShop Fire Retardant Free MattressesShop Fire Retardant Free Bassinets


Further Reading

  • CT.gov "Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection's Flame Retardant Fact Sheet"
  • CNN.com "Flame retardants found in thousands of consumer products linked to cancer in people for first time"
  • GreenSciencePolicy.org "Flame Retardants - Do they save lives or cause harm?"
  • NYtimes.com "The Harmful Chemical Lurking in Your Children’s Toys"