(This is good info for all of us, especially those with young children and babies. We have to be vigilant and protect ourselves and our families! Peace,Beth.) Parents work hard to give their babies a safe and healthy start in life. Unfortunately, they don't always have the information they need. In a report released today, "The Right Start: The Need to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals From Baby Products," Environment California Research and Policy Center uncovered toxic chemicals in everyday teethers, sleep accessories, bath books and more. The chemicals found have been linked to increases in childhood obesity, early puberty, learning disabilities, birth defects and reproductive difficulties. Manufacturers are not required to label children's products as containing toxic chemicals, so please take a moment to complete our five minute survey and learn more about the products our testing found to be toxic. Then let us know whether there are additional products and brands we should consider testing in the future. And please share this information with your family and friends - particularly parents - by forwarding this email to them. To take the five minute survey, click on this link or paste it into your web browser: http://environmentcalifornia.org/envirocalif.asp?id2=19655 Background According to a new report released today by the Environment California Research and Policy Center, toxic chemicals can be found in common baby products. "The Right Start: The Need to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals from Baby Products" documents the presence of toxic chemicals - including phthalates and toxic flame retardants (or PBDEs) - in teethers, bath books, toys and sleep accessories. The report highlights the results of product testing on twenty-five children's products. Eighteen children's products, including teethers and toys, were tested for the presence of a set of chemicals known as phthalates, and seven infant sleep accessories, such as mattress pads and sleep wedges, were tested for the presence of PBDEs. Our study found: * Fifteen of the eighteen bath books, teethers, bath toys and other products tested for phthalates contained these chemicals in their materials. For example, a teether made by Gund contained DBP, a type of phthalate classified as both a reproductive toxin and carcinogen in the European Union, where it is banned from children's products. * Although one product - Sassy's "Who Loves Baby? Photo Book" - was labeled "phthalate-free," testing of this product revealed the presence of two types of phthalates, DEHP and DBP. The European Union has banned these two chemicals in children's products. * Three of the seven infant sleep accessories tested contained PBDEs. For example, the foam material in Leachco Sleep 'n Secure 3-in-1 Infant Sleep Positioner and the First Years' Air Flow Sleep Positioner contained these chemicals. Phthalates are a family of chemicals used in many plastic products to improve flexibility. These chemicals have been linked to premature birth, reproductive defects and early onset of puberty. Phthalates have been shown to leach from plastics, and sucking on the plastic, washing plastic with a harsh detergent or hot water, running plastic through the dishwasher, or microwaving plastic may speed up this process. The European Union has imposed a ban on three types of phthalates in all children's products and has banned three other types from use in mouthing products marketed for children under three. California is currently considering a similar ban. PBDEs are a set of chemicals used to slow the spread of fire that have been linked to a host of health concerns, including impaired learning and memory, reproductive defects, cancer and impaired immune systems. In 2003, Environment California led the effort to ban two types of PBDEs. California passed the ban, which will be effective June 1, 2006. In addition to providing helpful tips for parents, the Environment California Research and Policy Center report calls on California and the federal government to: * Phase out the use of most dangerous chemicals, particularly from children's products. * Reform chemicals policy to require chemical manufacturers to demonstrate that their chemicals are safe before they are allowed on the market and in consumer products. * Provide information to consumers by requiring the labeling of products that contain potentially hazardous chemicals. Please take a moment to complete a five minute survey and learn more about the products our testing found to be toxic. Then, share this information with your family and friends - particularly parents - by forwarding this email to them. To take the five minute survey, click on this link or paste it into your web browser: http://environmentcalifornia.org/envirocalif.asp?id2=19655 Sincerely, Dan Jacobson Environment California Legislative Director DanJ@environmentcalifornia.org http://www.EnvironmentCalifornia.org P.S. Thanks again for your support. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends.