Peer-reviewed publication: PFAS treatments in children's car seats

Published on January 27, 2021

The Ecology Center has analyzed children's car seats for a variety of chemical hazards for over ten years.  Recently, we began investigating the use and potential impact of PFAS in children's products, including car seats.

The newly published peer-reviewed study, "Side-chain Fluorotelomer based Polymers in Children Car Seats" was published in the journal Environmental Pollution.  Highlights of the study include:

  • Half of the tested car seats (purchased in 2018) had PFAS-treated fabrics. The fabrics were treated with fluorotelomer-based polymers, a type of PFAS.
  • PFAS chemicals may migrate from fabric into sweat. Exposing the fabric samples to synthetic sweat caused PFAS chemicals to migrate, suggesting a potential dermal route of exposure.
  • UV light may cause a breakdown of fluorotelomer-based polymers, leading to concerns about sunlight. After exposure to UV light, the seat fabrics showed significant increases in levels of two PFAS chemicals. Breakdown due to UV light is a particular concern because child car seats may be frequently exposed to sunlight. 
  • Degradation of PFAS polymers on other types of fabrics and apparel could contribute to contamination of the environment. Fluorotelomer-based PFAS polymers are produced in large volumes worldwide. 
  • Further research is needed to understand and quantify dermal exposures.

For more information contact Jeff Gearhart at [email protected]