Chemicals and kids - unhealthy home products

A new Greenpeace report claims that children are needlessly exposed to hazardous chemicals found in vinyl plastic childcare products and home furnishings. Independent laboratories analyzed items from vinyl mattress pads to vinyl flooring, and found a range of additives, primarily phthalates and organotins, but also lead, cadmium and bisphenol A. The chemicals found in the products have been shown to cause a variety of adverse health effects.

Some phthalates cause liver cancer, kidney damage and reproductive system impairment in animals. Organotins cause reproductive and developmental damage in animals and nervous and respiratory problems in humans. Most chemicals remain untested, meaning parents can't be sure whether these products are harmful to their children.
"We should not gamble with the health of children," said Mary- Elizabeth Harmon, PhD, Greenpeace toxics campaign scientist. "There are cheap, safer alternative products readily available to consumers."
Among other findings in the Greenpeace study:
Several products contained the phthalate, DEHP, a probable human carcinogen according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 1986, the Toy Manufacturers of America and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) agreed upon a voluntary limit of three percent DEHP in teething toys.
The product testing showed that the phthalate DINP continues to be used in children's products at levels up to 33 percent by weight. In 1999, the CPSC requested toy makers voluntarily eliminate DINP in teething toys.
A majority of the products contain a group of metals called organotins. Some of the highest levels of organotins were found in vinyl floor tiles, where small children can spend a lot of time crawling and playing.

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