Eternal chemicals found in children’s products, including those labeled as environmentally friendly

(ORDO NEWS) — The analysis showed that products that the seller advertised as moisture or stain resistant were more likely to contain fluoride and have high concentrations of it—and were often labeled as eco-friendly.

Many children’s products, including those with an environmental certificate (a document confirming environmental safety), contain the so-called eternal chemicals – PFAS, although they are not listed on the labels. This is reported in a new study by scientists from the Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts (USA).

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of more than nine thousand compounds, many of which are used in industrial and commercial applications throughout the world.

They are found in firefighting foams, paints, non-stick cookware, food packaging, cookware, textiles, carpets, cosmetics, and electronic devices. Still “eternal chemicals” (they have a long half-life and accumulate in the environment) can be found in sources of drinking water, air, blood and tissues of our body.

Although blood levels of some of these long-chain compounds are declining in countries that have phased out their use in production, recent studies have found increased concentrations of shorter-chain PFAS in breast milk.

Thus, their effects on the human body persist and are associated with numerous adverse effects, including cancer, thyroid disease, elevated cholesterol levels, low birth weight in newborns, ulcerative colitis, preeclampsia (complication of pregnancy), and immunotoxicity.

A few years ago, scientists concluded that children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of PFAS: they are at risk of dyslipidemia (an abnormal ratio of blood fats), a reduced response to vaccination, changes in kidney function, asthma, and a delay in the onset of the first menstruation in girls.

According to experts, minors are more exposed to PFAS due to frequent hand-to-mouth contact, and they also “interact” more with carpets and dust.

The authors of the new work purchased and tested 93 different popular products online – bed linen, furniture and clothing designed for children and adolescents: in particular, school uniform shirts and trousers, face masks, upholstered chairs, mattress covers, cribs, rugs, etc. Further.

They were dirt-resistant and / or water-repellent / moisture-resistant, “green”, “non-toxic” (had one property or a combination of several). There were five groups of markings in total.

“We tested all products for total fluorine content and analyzed solvent extracts from a subset (61) for 36 PFAS target analytes and from a smaller subset (30) for perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA),” the scientists write.

Eternal chemicals found in childrens products including those labeled as environmentally friendly
A plate showing the level of PFAS in each product group

A rapid fluoride screening method showed that 54 commodities contained detectable levels (above 10 ppm) of this PFAS marker. The highest concentrations were found in clothing, especially school uniform shirts, and furniture upholstery, while the lowest concentrations were found in rugs and sheets.

Twenty-eight of those 54 foods had total fluoride levels greater than 100 ppm, and 13 had levels greater than 1,000 ppm. Items that the seller advertised as being water or stain resistant were more likely to contain fluoride, and at particularly high concentrations. Often they were labeled as eco-friendly.

When scientists tested some samples for the presence of 36 PFAS target analytes, they were found only in products labeled as moisture and stain resistant.

Banned in the United States of America, perfluorooctanoic acid (along with perfluorooctane sulfonate, it is the most harmful chemical of the PFAS group) was found in various products tested, including “green”. Most of them were made in China.

The researchers are urging authorities to take a closer look at the products they certify because such safety documents vary in their standards and do not always cover the same list of chemicals.

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