Toxic Car Seat Chemicals a Hazard for ChildrenA new study suggests that "toxic" chemicals used in the materials to make car seats can put children in danger of developing health problems if ingested or inhaled.
'These chemicals can be associated with developmental disorders, learning impairment, liver disease, cancer, as well as other allergic type diseases.'—Jeff Gearhart, Ecology Center
The study, released Wednesday by the Michigan-based environmental group Ecology Center, provides analysis of more than 60 different car seat models for chemicals including bromine, chlorine and lead.
"These chemicals can be associated with developmental disorders, learning impairment, liver disease, cancer, as well as other allergic type diseases," said Jeff Gearhart, lead author of the report.
"This report shows that the same toxic chemicals that are used to make interior auto components are also used to make child car seats," the report said.
Car seat manufacturer Graco, whose TurboBooster Emily and TurboBooster SafeSeat were named in the report as having high concentrations of chemicals in the booster seat category, said they are currently examining the study's methodology and findings.
"At Graco, we take claims such as this very seriously," the company said in a statement. "Safety is always a top priority and nothing is more important than the well-being of the children who use our products."
The company Britax, whose Marathon Platinum seat was found to have the highest levels of chemicals in the convertible car seat category, did not return calls.
Michigan-based environmental group Ecology Center has released a study analyzing more than 60 different car seat models for chemicals including bromine, chlorine, and lead.
Health Canada, which evaluates the use and safety of chemicals used in products sold in Canada, said in a statement on car seat safety that the presence of a chemical does not necessarily mean it poses a health risk.
Gearhart recommends that owners of car seats that tested poorly should keep the window ajar when travelling in the car. He also says the seat should be kept out of direct sunlight and use of the product should be restricted to use in the car.
"We do recommend that you limit the time your child spends in the car seat," he said. "It should be used exclusively in the vehicle, and not used to transport your baby outside the vehicle."
The authors of the report caution that parents should always use a car seat, despite the presence of potentially harmful chemicals.
In March, the Ecology Center released a report saying that plastics and materials
used inside the car, from the steering wheel to the dashboard to the carpets — can expel gas or leach into the environment.