Dr Oz: Dangerous Chemicals In Kids’ Clothing
Chemicals are all around us, there’s no denying that. But they’re showing up in the most unexpected places, including children’s pajamas. Have you ever seen a label or tag on a pair of kids’ pajamas showing that they’re flame resistant? Dr Oz explained that, by law, children’s pajamas have to meet flammability standards to keep your kids safe from fires. So what exactly is in those pajamas to make them flame resistant? Investigative reporter Elisabeth Leamy set out to find out.
In the 1970’s, 42% of Americans smoked and smoke detectors weren’t required yet. Children were dying in fires, so in 1973 the government started requiring that children’s pajamas be flame-proof. Manufacturers used a potent chemical called tris to get the job done. Just four years later, scientist Arlene Blum showed tris was a carcinogen. The Consumer Products Safety Commission worked to ban tris from children’s pajamas, while many companies voluntarily removed it. So how have manufacturers found a way to make the pajamas flame resistant, without tris?
Elisabeth bought 28 brands and styles of kids’ pajamas and had them tested at a lab to find out exactly what was in the fabric.
Dr Oz: Chemicals In Clothing
Elisabeth Leamy then explained to Dr Oz that she asked the labs to look for chlorinated chemicals like tris, as well as brominated chemicals, including another form of tris. She also asked them to look for “everything but the kitchen sink” because clothing manufacturers don’t have to disclose what’s in their clothing. The good news is that Elisabeth didn’t find tris in any of the 28 clothes she sampled. Also, they didn’t find any related chemicals or flame retardants, which should be pretty comforting.
Dr Oz: Are Kids’ Pajamas Truly Flame Resistant?
When Elisabeth visited the Good Housekeeping textile lab to find out how safe flame resistant pajamas really are. She first saw how combustible regular fabric is, watching it melt within seconds. Polyester from a sleep-resistant pair of children’s pajamas, self-extinguished right away instead of burning. Polyester doesn’t need chemicals to make it flame resistant, because the structure of the polyester is flame resistant on its own.
When cotton pajamas were put to the test, it immediately burned. Elisabeth learned that the pajamas were allowed because they’re tight-fitting, which means less fabric to catch on fire and less oxygen around the body to keep the fire burning. Not all pajamas can pass that test though, which is why in 2015, the Consumer Products Safety Commission recalled 37 sets of pajamas for putting children at risk.
According to Elisabeth, children should only sleep in clothes that are specifically designed for sleeping. Next time you go pajama shopping for your kids, look for untreated, snug-fitting cotton or flame-resistant polyester.