Study: Toxic Chemicals Found in Children's Car Seats

The nonprofit Ecology Center has released its fourth annual report on toxic chemicals in children’s car seats, and the news is alarming.  Research shows that many of these products are made with dangerous chemicals that can lead to serious health risks for children.

The consumer-friendly site www.healthystuff.org, which also has comprehensive data on toxic chemicals in toys, cars and home improvement products, allows users to look up which car seats rank the best and worst in terms of toxic chemical content.  Anyone looking to buy a new car seat, or wondering if their child’s current car seat is safe, can visit this site and search by model, or comparison shop between different models or years.

Chemicals tested for include: bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers); lead; and heavy metal allergens.  Such chemicals have been linked to major health problems such as liver, thyroid and developmental problems in children.  Babies are the most vulnerable population in terms of exposure to chemical-laden dust and inhaling toxic fumes, since their systems are still developing. 

The Ecology Center tested more than 150 infant, convertible and booster car seats and found that while some are virtually free of the most dangerous chemicals, others are saturated.  To sample the car seats they used a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, which identifies the elemental composition of any material in less than 60 seconds.

Best and Worst Car Seats

Worst 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Graco Snugride 35 in Edgemont Red/Black & Graco SnugRide 30 in Asprey
  • Convertible Seat: Britax Marathon 70 in Jet Set & Britax Marathon in Platinum
  • Booster Seat: Recaro Pro Booster in Blue Opal & Recaro ProSPORT Toddler in Misty

Best 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30 in Limonata, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay & Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche
  • Convertible Carseat: Graco Comfort Sport in Caleo, Graco MyRide 65 in Chandler and Streamer, Safety 1st OnSide Air in Clearwater, and Graco Nautilus Elite 3-in-1 in Gabe
  • Booster Seat: Graco Turbo Booster in Anders

Download Center

  • Your Guide to Environmental Metrics that Drive Performance

    Translating sustainability into action starts with implementing the right metrics to assess your environmental risk and performance. Learn how to design metrics that improve your decision-making process and drive enterprise performance.

  • Unpacking ESG: 6 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

    Environmental and Sustainability experts from Arcadis and Cority answer 6 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about getting started with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

  • Streamline Your Air Emissions Management

    See how consolidating all your emissions management functions into one centralized system can help you streamline your operations, more easily maintain compliance, and achieve greater time and cost savings.

  • A Crash Course in Creating the Right Environmental Scoring System

    Learn how to develop the right environmental scoring system so you can easily benchmark performance across all your facilities and gain a holistic view of your environmental programs.

  • Industry Safe