Study: Harmful Chemical Levels Down in Car Safety Seats

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Levels of bromine, which is used in flame retardant chemicals, in car safety seats have gone down in recent years, but some advocates say the levels are still too high, report news sources.

In a recent study evaluating the safety of 150 safety seats based on bromine, chlorine and lead levels, researchers found that overall chemical exposure from the child safety seats had decreased between 2008 and 2011, and that bromine levels had improved by 18 percent.

Children can become exposed to the chemicals through skin contact as well as orally through hand-to-mouth ingestion after touching a car seat. Exposure to the chemicals has been linked to impaired learning, allergies, liver toxicity, cancer and birth defects. Severe effects are rare, but children who have been exposed may have a greater chance of developing a disease.

X-rays were used to identify what chemicals were in a car seat, and because car safety seats are manufactured using a wide range of materials, 600 materials were investigated. Chemicals were found in several parts of the safety seats including the plastic seat base, upholstery, buckles and clips.

Advocates are quick to stress that, despite the presence of chemicals in child safety seats, parents and caretakers should still use the restraints as they are still essential tools in child vehicle safety.

As a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, I am moved to echo the statements extolling the use of child safety seats, and hope that eventually, the presence of harmful chemicals in car seats will be a thing of the past.