Remove Unnecessary Toxic Chemicals from Children's Car Seats!

Remove Unnecessary Toxic Chemicals from Children's Car Seats!

July 2, 2016
Petition Closed
This petition had 715 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Natural Baby Mama

Toxic chemicals are being used in children's car seats that are linked to health issues including cancer.  You don't have an option to buy a car seat without these toxic flame retardants even though regulators admit that there is no evidence of a safety benefit.  A federal bill was recently introduced that would allow car seats to be made without toxic chemicals (which would be similar to a recent change in California's flammability standards).  Lawmakers have the ability to change this now.  Signing this petition will show your support for the proposed bill.  Please sign!  More detailed information is below. 

I am a mother of two young children, and I am asking you to help me pass this important legislation to ban toxic chemicals from children’s car seats.  

Due to an outdated 1972 federal flammability regulation, children’s car seats in the United States today are filled with unnecessary toxic chemical flame retardants.  This must change.

Car seats are required by law in all 50 states.  However, there is not a single car seat on the market that does not contain chemical flame retardants.  Many flame retardants are associated with cancer. They have also been linked to abnormal brain development, lower IQ, learning problems (including ADD / ADHD), behavior changes, and they can interfere with thyroid and sex hormones.   Children are most vulnerable, and their long-term effects from these chemicals are much greater because their brains and bodies are developing.  

Regulators admit that there is no evidence of a safety benefit from the use of these chemical flame retardants in car seats; yet parents cannot currently purchase a car seat without added flame retardants.  

Fire scientists like Dr. Vyto Babrauskas contend that once the fabric in a car seat is ignited, the flame retardants used in the foam of a car seat are irrelevant for fire safety because the flame from the burning fabric would be too large for flame retardants in the foam to be effective.  Babrauskas, formerly the head of furniture fire research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, also says that, unless a fire is ignited inside the car seat foam itself, real world car fires flames are too big for retardants to provide any significant benefit.  

Julie Watts of KPIX-CBS reported on a side by side test of car seat covers to see if flame retardants provided an additional benefit in a fire.  Two car seat cover samples were lit on fire.  The first car seat sample was taken directly from a current car seat as sold in stores today.  It was tested and confirmed to have chemical flame retardants in the foam.  The second car seat cover was an after market car seat cover made of organic wool and organic cotton with no flame retardants.  The flame retardant free sample performed better than the car seat that had flame retardants in it.  

Even some of the greenest car seat companies, who claimed to not use the extremely toxic flame retardant TDCPP, were found to contain TDCPP in their car seats (including a sample taken from my child's car seat).  TDCPP was removed from children's pajamas in the 1970's after it was linked to cancer.  However, it is still being found in our children's car seats today! 

H.R.5359 was introduced into the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and would modernize car seat flammability regulations by:

“Requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to update its flammability test for children’s car seats from an “open flame” to a “smolder” test. California made a similar shift for furniture sold in the state, in part because of concerns regarding toxic flame retardant chemicals. This smolder test is a more appropriate standard, and can be met without the use of dangerous chemicals.”

“Car seats are designed to protect infants and children when they ride in a car, and they do that job admirably,” said Rep. Huffman. “Unfortunately, they also unnecessarily expose children to harmful chemicals for no apparent safety benefit. Just as California has modernized standards to reduce exposure to flame retardant chemicals in furniture, my legislation will reduce children’s needless exposure to toxic chemicals, while still ensuring the highest level of health and safety protections.”

Through my blog Natural Baby Mama, I have found that many parents are seeking a non-toxic car seat.  The proposed bill will protect our children from toxic chemicals and open the door for car seat manufacturers to sell a truly non-toxic car seat.

NHTSA says it is beginning research into improving the flammability standard, but it admits “the important work” will take at least two years! That is unnecessary, and at the expense of our children, when a safe alternative is available right now.  

The federal government needs to stop exposing our children to unnecessary toxic chemicals in their car seats.  For the health and sake of our children, let's revise this extremely outdated, 44 year old, law now!  

We are asking lawmakers to protect our kids!

The legislation already has support from the car seat manufactures as well as the leading environmental health advocates: The Green Science Policy Institute,  Ecology Center, and Environmental Working Group.

We are asking the members of the House Commerce Committee to co-sponsor and pass Rep. Jared Huffman’s (D-CA) bill, H.R. 5359. This important legislation needs congressional cosponsors!

We are asking Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Vice Chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to support this bill and bring it up for a vote during this session of Congress.

Additionally, we are petitioning members of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, to introduce and pass companion legislation to H.R. 5359 in the U.S. Senate.

Members of all three committees should support this bill and force NHTSA to make the changes within the next 12 months.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has the power to bring this bill up for a vote.  

***(The republican members of the committee are in the majority and have the power right now to bring this bill up for a vote. There is  list with contact information below.)

Members of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure also have oversight of NHTSA and can co-sponsor the bill.

Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation to introduce and fast-track companion legislation in the senate.     



Sources cited:

Natural Baby Mama Blog

“Toxic Safety” - Reporter Julie Watts’ KPIX-CBS  Investigation & Blog

Arlene Blum -  Founder of the Green Science Policy Institute  

Rep. Jared Huffman, US Congressman, California’s 2nd District     



In addition to signing this petition, please:


Click the link below for a list of members and contact information for each state


**(The republican majority members of this committee currently have the power to bring this bill up for a vote.)


Click the links below for a list of members and contact information

House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure 

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation

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Decision Makers

  • Marsha BlackburnSenator
  • House Energy & Commerce Committee
  • Senate Commerce Science & Transportation Committee
  • Fred UptonRepresentative
  • Marsha BlackburnRepresentative