Consumer products throughout our economy, including children's car seats, contain potentially harmful chemicals that are linked to reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, hormone disruptions, and cancer.
Over 150 2011-model car seats were sampled from retail locations in Michigan using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF). This is a follow-up study to car seats sampled in 2008 (131) and 2009 (58).
Brands tested include: Alpha Sport, Baby Trend, Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Compass, Dorel Juvenile Group (Cosco, Eddie Bauer, Maxi-Cosi, Safety First), Evenflo, Fisher Price, Graco, Harmony Juvenile, Orbit Baby, Peg Perego, Recaro, Sunshine Kids, Teutonia, The First Years.
Based on detection of bromine, we concluded that brominated flame retardant (BFR) chemicals that are either deemed toxic or that lack adequate health safety data were detected in 44% percent of the 2011 car seats tested.
Over half (60%) of car seats contained one or more hazardous chemicals tested for (including PVC, brominated chemicals, and heavy metals).
Overall, car seats appeared to be improving. Between 2008 and 2011:
average seat ranking improved by 64% (1.5 - 2009 to 0.9 - 2011);
number of car seats with BFRs declined by 18% (63% 2009 to 44% in 2011)
However, as of 2011, some companies continue to use more potentially hazardous BFRs in their products than others in the industry. These include Baby Trend (100%), Recaro (100%), and Britax (84%).