Does polyurethane foam give off toxic fumes?What you've undoubtedly heard about polyurethane foam is that it's toxic, can cause cancer and can harm a child's development. Is this really true, you might ask, or is it just hocus-pocus? Surely companies wouldn't make dangerous baby products. Selling it to the public? This might be a bit naive. Let's not forget that the tobacco industry has covered up the damage their products have done so they don't lose profits. Who can you trust and should you buy baby products that contain this questionable foam?
It's not too difficult to find out the proven dangers of polyurethane foam and its toxicity. Many of the chemicals you use are on various lists of toxic substances. Yet somehow, baby products containing the foam meet U.S. safety standards.
If you use . Are a new parentIt's only natural that you want what's best for your baby. You work hard to provide the right things, and you do everything in your power to give them the best life possible. Safety suddenly becomes a priority when you have a family. Hazards that you did not know before can be discovered everywhere. Everyday life suddenly becomes fraught with danger.
One safety concern that fills parents' minds is the effect chemicals can have on babies. After each new study is completed, the hazards uncovered make headlines. We have been concerned about pesticide sprays, food additives, car fumes, and also the harm that polyurethane foam can do. The facts can sometimes be distorted when reported. Then, of course, manufacturers will release their side of the argument and let everyone know that their products are indeed perfectly safe. Knowing what to believe is difficult.
Let's take a look at some facts: What is polyurethane foam?
Polyurethane was developed as a replacement for rubber, a material that was hard to come by during wartime. It was first invented in 1937. Has been around for more than 80 years. Polyurethane is a type of plastic made by combining methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and toluene diisocyanate (TDI) with polyols. This mixture is processed in a variety of ways to create different products that are used regularly. When heated and sprayed and mixed with carbon dioxide, it produces a foam.
Where polyurethane foam is most commonly used?
Foam is used in a variety of places, some are hidden so many of us don't know they are there. Polyurethane foam is used to insulate refrigerators, insulate walls, in athletic shoes, around cushion furniture and it is also in most modern mattresses. Foam mattresses, including memory foam mattresses, have become extremely popular due to their affordability and softness. There are few homes in the country that do not have polyurethane foam in them somewhere.
When it comes to baby products, polyurethane foam can be found in crib mattresses, play mats, changing pads and baby car seats. Whether it should be used so freely in baby products is up for debate, but there are strong arguments against it.
What are the dangers of polyurethane foam?
With so much foam in all of our homes, you would think it would be a proven safe product. When the material was first invented, it was considered a miracle product with unlimited uses. However, when it became widely used in household furniture, deaths caused by fires increased. The fact that the foam was highly flammable was at the root of these fire tragedies.
In response to these horrific deaths, safety standards for furniture have been introduced. At that time, flame retardant chemicals were added to the foam or covers to prevent the furniture from burning so violently. This move dramatically reduced fire deaths, which was considered a triumph at the time. But shortly after these changes, people began to notice that they were suffering from health problems they had not experienced before. Those concerned felt this was related to their furniture, and studies were initiated on the toxicity of foam. Various studies Over the years, concerns about the health. The toxicity of polyurethane foam studied. Common chemicals used in fire retardants were shown to actually be carcinogens, meaning they contribute to the development of many different types of cancer. It's quite concerning to hear as you sit on your sofa at home. In fact, many of the components found in polyurethane foam furniture are on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) list. Others are on the agenda for hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) as well as listing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It is well documented that these substances are harmful to humans and the environment.
Chemicals used are believed to cause respiratory problems, affect the nervous system, damage the liver and kidneys, damage cells and affect hormones, as well as a host of other short-term effects. The following is commonly found in foam mattresses:
– Benzene products can damage cell DNA and are linked to breast and lymph cancers and leukemia. – Chlorine is believed to be linked to bladder and colon cancer. – PFOS can affect brain development as well as the reproductive, endocrine and immune systems – Formaldehyde can cause cancer and affect the immune, nervous and respiratory systems. – Solvents are believed to damage the reproductive system, liver and kidneys. – VOCs can damage the eyes, respiratory system, kidneys, liver, nervous system, and cause cancer – Flame retardants are associated with learning disabilities, lower IQs, reproductive and nervous system damage, thyroid and other hormone disorders.
These chemicals don't always stay in the foam, but are believed to gradually contaminate the entire room. The air we breathe likely contains some of these chemicals at night if you have a foam mattress.
Polyurethane hazards and baby products
The thought of such a potentially hazardous material filling our furniture or insulating the walls of our homes is not a good one. But when it comes to having polyurethane foam close to your precious baby's skin, these facts seem very alarming. An eye-opening study was conducted by the American Chemical Society called "Identification of Flame Retardants in Polyurethane Foam from Baby Products" completed. They found a high amount of harmful additives in many products.
Using a direct and easy to understand quote from the study, it was concluded that:
"Flame retardant additives can leach from products over time, accumulate in dust and are a major route of exposure to humans. (10-13) Exposure to children is a particular concern because of their frequent hand-to-mouth behavior. Exposure to chemical additives in baby products is of even greater concern for infants who are in close contact with these products for long periods of time during very critical stages of their development. "
In short, the study found that innocently putting babies' fingers in their mouths exposes them to greater danger. And the toxins they come in contact with can damage their development. It makes compelling reading.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted an update in 2015. They found that changes and additions to the chemicals used in polyurethane foam were constantly changing. This makes it incredibly difficult for regulators to keep track of what might be dangerous and what might be safer. What chance does the average parent have admitting that it's difficult for those in charge to stay informed? It makes choosing the best baby products for your child almost impossible.
The findings give pause for thought. There are labels on baby products, and they often say they meet various regulations and safety standards, including fire resistance, but at what cost? Do you really have any idea what is best for your baby when purchasing? It is very difficult to know what to trust.
Why is polyurethane used in the first place if it's so dangerous?
When there are numerous studies all highlighting the dangers of the material, you may wonder why polyurethane is used at all. Manufacturers will tell you it's safe on site. They agree that there can be hazards during production – and this is evidenced by the safety measures they must take at various stages of manufacturing – but once it's in your home, all is well. They state that it is innate. But can you trust it? Polyurethane is very cheap to make. This is always a compelling argument. It can be made into any shape or size and does not deteriorate easily, which is an advantage if you want the product to last a long time. It's a global, multi-billion dollar industry. Unfortunately, these factors together will make it difficult to find out the truth about safety and health ies. Untruths, cover-ups and conspiracy theories will cloud the ies at every turn. What you have to ask yourself is whether you are willing to take the risk to your health? Would you like to wait and see if it affects your newborn baby?
Concerned about the dangers of polyurethane foam?
It is understandable that parents are concerned. It's not easy to decipher the information and make a good choice for your baby. There is much to consider, including of course the price of the items. Very convincing wording is used to sell baby products, but should you fall for the hype? Is it just the expensive stuff that is safe, or can you get quality for less?
Baby products that do not use polyurethane foam
If you feel let down by the use of toxic polyurethane foam in baby products or are just not willing to take the risk, There are alternatives. No wonder parents are exploring products without polyurethane foam and those that don't use dangerous flame retardants. Many of these were made by manufacturers who care hand-in-hand about health and the environment. Non-toxic mattresses and non-toxic crib mattresses Are you out there, you just need to know what to look for.
Natural materials are often fully fire resistant without the need for additives to meet safety regulations. Fire resistance is measured by the time it takes a product to burn. Very little is actually fireproof, but resistance is sought to an item that simply bursts into flames.
Animal wool is probably the most flame resistant natural material you can find. It simply does not ignite easily. It's also a renewable source, as sheep continuously grow their fleeces. Wool is breathable and won't overheat a sleeping baby. This soft and bouncy material is a good filling for mattresses without added chemicals.
Organic cotton has some degree of natural fire resistance. Check the label to make sure it has not been mixed with chemicals. In some fillings improves a mixture of wool. Cotton the fire protection without the use of additives. Look for GOTS certified organic cotton.
Coconut coconut is increasingly used in baby crib mattresses. Covered in organic cotton, no fire retardant additives are needed to ensure safety.
Sugar cane fiber
Sugar cane fiber is also used in non-toxic mattresses. Again, this is a natural product that is plentiful. The use of cane is environmentally friendly as it is a byproduct of the sugar industry.
For natural changing pads, there are some amazing alternatives to foam-filled mats. Pretty, flat baskets are available that are made from sea grass in a variety of patterns. The low sides keep baby from rolling away during diaper changes. If you like to think green, this specially designed basket has many other uses after the baby has grown. It is always great to extend the life of a product.
Natural latex is often free of chemicals, but again it is important to check the labeling. Latex reflects body heat and so some people and babies get overheated when they lie on it. And it is important to know that some people are allergic to latex.
Natural wool or cotton coverings offer some level of fire protection without additives. Look for furniture with this type of top layer. Additional chemicals are applied to some baby products. However, if these are kept to a minimum, the hazardous effects will be reduced, which is another option. For products with additives, look for VOC-free and HAP-free labels or low-VOC labels to reduce the harm factor.
Is second hand safe?
When it comes to transfers, a whole new debate opens up. There is an argument to be made that older foam is safer. It was time to lose its toxicity from fumes long derived from the foam. However, this would depend primarily on the chemicals used. With ever-changing safety standards, who knows what was originally in the foam. And as polyurethane foam dissolves over time, more dust can build up as the material ages.
Heirlooms are always special, but when it comes to foams or plastics in general, be careful. Check labels if there are any still visible and avoid anything labeled TB 117 best hand-me-downs are made of natural materials like wood, cotton and wool. Fortunately, really old and antique items were often carefully handcrafted from nothing but honest materials. These are usually safe, although you need to be wary of old lead paint!
The bottom line
It's your choice. There are alternatives to polyurethane foam.
The arguments against choosing baby products that contain polyurethane foam due to their toxicity are strong. You could say there is a reason to stop using this material all together. If you think about it, a foam made from a petroleum byproduct sounds risky. Especially if you are considering placing an innocent newborn on it before bedtime.
Fortunately, there are manufacturers who make responsible baby products. You've worked hard to give parents what they want – a product that is free or very low in chemicals and that is also comfortable and supportive. Whether they've designed a crib mattress from natural materials or a swaddle mattress Basket Woven from seaweed, there's a product that eliminates anxiety. Buy products with no worries – there's nothing like it.
Even if you're not convinced the foam is as dangerous as some believe, you're safe enough to put your baby's health at risk? Isn't it a better idea to turn to the safer option for all cases? These products are not inferior. No less attractive. Non-toxic alternatives work just as well, but there are no worries about possible harmful fumes or dust particles.
It doesn't have to cost you much more to provide safe products for your little ones. Often all it takes is a little research to find what you want. Ask other parents, read labels carefully, and understand what standards really mean. Don't take the manufacturer's word without doing a little learning yourself.
If you do it right as a parent, it feels great. There is no better feeling than knowing you did your best for your family. Make informed decisions about your purchases. You will find the right products for your baby. You have.