When most California residents think of the word formaldehyde, the image of a funeral home usually comes to mind. Usually associated with the embalming process, few parents know that this chemicals is actually being used in children's clothing and other products without their knowledge. Even more concerning is that the United States doesn't even have regulations against it.
In more than a dozen countries worldwide, this isn't the case. International standards are in place that limit the amount of formaldehyde in children's products to under 20 ppm. This is considered by some scientists to be the safest amount that should be allowed before they become dangerous children's products. But this does not appear to be the case for products made in the U.S.
A news station in Minnesota recently wanted to see just how much of this dangerous chemical was found in children's clothing. Of the 18 articles of clothing that were tested, two pairs of Old Navy leggings showed high levels of formaldehyde that exceeded the limits, while trace amounts turned up in four other clothing items. Although the results were reported in Minnesota, the clothing tested came from national brands like Old Navy, Oshkosh and Jumping Bean that are sold all over the U.S.
Most toddlers' reactions to the formaldehyde have been cases of contact dermatitis, which is quite treatable. But the concern among many parents stems from the fact that there is no current regulations or standards for the use of this chemical in children's products. And despite the fact that the government knows about these dangers, they have yet to come up with any recommendations as to how to prevent serious injuries from occurring in the future. As many California parents will agree, the government's refusal to regulate the use of this chemical could be a serious health risk to thousands of children nationwide.
Source: KARE 11 News, "Investigation uncovers formaldehyde in baby clothing," Lindsey Seavert, May 15, 2013