The Safety Of Children’s Nap Mats
SACRAMENTO – A new California regulation took effect this month requiring manufacturers of children’s foam-padded sleeping products, such as toddler nap mats with flame-retardant chemicals to look at ways of eliminating or finding safer alternatives to the potentially harmful chemicals.
This is the first Priority Product regulation under the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s pioneering Safer Consumer Products program, which challenges manufacturers to make their products safer.
“California’s green chemistry law emphasizes the benefits of product reformulation and the promise of DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Program for a healthier future for Californians,” said DTSC Director Barbara A. Lee.
The new rule focuses on children’s foam-padded sleeping products, such as toddler nap mats, that contain the flame retardants TDCPP or TCEP. DTSC determined that this product-chemical combination has the potential to cause significant adverse health impacts. Both TDCPP and TCEP are known to cause cancer and have been associated with endocrine disruption and reproductive and developmental toxicity.
Babies, toddlers, and young children spend hours daily sleeping on these toddler nap mats and exposure may occur through dermal absorption, inhalation, or ingestion of flame retardant-laden dust. These flame retardants have been found in dust sampled in homes, offices, and day care centers in California.
Manufacturers of these children’s toddler nap mats will be required to notify the Department within 60 days of the regulation effective date of July 1, 2017. The notifications can be submitted through the CalSAFER information management system and will start the process of finding safer alternatives or eliminating the use of these chemicals in these products altogether.
“We consider this a significant achievement for our program. Now we have the means to ensure that manufacturers take steps in California to reduce exposures to these harmful flame retardants,” said Meredith Williams, Ph.D., Safer Products and Workplaces Program Deputy Director.
The new regulation specifically governs polyurethane foam-padded sleeping products, including:
toddler nap mats and cots
Portable crib mattresses
Approximately 75 companies make or sell children’s foam-padded sleeping products in California. Children’s foam padded sleeping products containing TDCPP or TCEP is the first Priority Product to be regulated under California’s Safer Consumer Products regulations. Other products that have been proposed or that are under consideration for regulation are:
Spray Polyurethane Foam Systems containing unreacted methylene diphenyldiisocyanates. These products are used for home and building insulation, weatherization, sealing and roofing.
Paint Strippers Containing Methylene Chloride, a known carcinogen and neurotoxin.