London, UK (AP) – The delicate dance of parenthood isn’t always easy and protecting children from the hazards of everyday life rarely straightforward.
Now a report from a watchdog panel of MPs claims many parents are unaware of chemical pollution within their home.
Everything from prams to beds could be harming children because of the chemicals used to stop them being flammable.
These chemicals can be absorbed into the human body.
The report says it’s not just affecting adults, but unborn children and even mother’s breast milk.
Moms in the UK have some of the world’s highest concentrations of flame retardants in their breast milk.
Parliament’s green watchdog says the government must change the regulations on these chemicals.
“Well you already have enough worries while you’re pregnant and breastfeeding and having to deal with both, so yes it’s a shame that there’s no more care around those aspects because it’s already hard enough,” says one mother.
Another says: “As a mum you really want the best for your child. When you do your best to avoid all the obvious things but things like sofas and prams, you can’t avoid those. That’s everyday life.”
The impact of flame retardants on children is unknown but exposure to these chemicals has been linked to cancer.
The report says chemicals including flame retardants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and endocrine disruptors take years to break down naturally.
It says the chemicals are able to travel through the environment in air, soil and water and accumulate in living organisms.
Humans are frequently exposed through dust and food, with children amongst the most vulnerable group according to the committee report.
The chairwoman of the Parliamentary committee which published the report is MP Mary Creagh.
“We know that every home in the UK has around 40 kilos of these flame retardants. They in everything from our mattresses, our sofas, right the way through to babies high chairs, prams and baby changing mats. And we want them taken out particularly of children’s products as soon as possible,” says Creagh.
The UK government says it is responding and taking evidence so that any new measures also improve fire safety.
(This story was originally published on July 16, 2019)