Carcinogens found in baby products sold at Chicago-area stores, consumer group says

October 3, 2012 (CHICAGO)

ABC7's Leah Hope has more on a new report from the Illinois Public Interest Research Group.

"Babies who are at higher risk because they are still developing are exposed to this chemical, and it's unnecessary," said Illinois PIRG's Hailey Witt.

Illinois PIRG bought common baby products at popular big box stores and had the items tested for chlorinated Tris -- that's the chemical used as a flame retardant. PIRG says the chemical can cause serious health problems and it was found in seven of the 10 items tested.

"We're exposing our kids to this chemical that is linked to neurological damage," Witt said. "It's linked to cancer, its linked to infertility, just a whole host of really terrible problems."

Some of the products that tested positive for chlorinated Tris had labels boasting of the fire safety. But some had no information about relating to fire retardants.

Kids in Danger is a local nonprofit that advocates for safer products for children. The organization's executive director, Nancy Cowles, hopes studies like this will encourage national safer standards for flame retardant chemicals.

"Just like for lead, you can't really test for it at home, you have to trust they are giving you a safe product, and that's why government regulations need to make sure that that's true," said Cowles.

The American Chemistry Council is an advocacy group for flame retardant producers and users. The council reports Tris is added to products to prevent and minimize fire.

The council says there is no health concern for consumers.

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