Monday, May 16, 2016

Baby Bedding Analysis for Phosphorus, Arsenic, and Antimony

Results of analysis of baby bedding acquired in New Zealand

Compounds of the elements phosphorus, arsenic and antimony are very frequently present in bedding. In some instances they are added as part of the manufacturing process (e.g. for fire retardant or plasticising purposes). In other instances they occur naturally (e.g. in sheepskins, kapok and tree bark).
Action of household fungus on these compounds can produce extremely toxic nerve gases. These are, respectively, phosphines from compounds of phosphorus, arsines from compounds of arsenic, and stibines from compounds of antimony. These gases shut down the central nervous system, resulting in cessation of heart and breathing function, and thereby causing death.
A wide selection of items of baby bedding acquired in New Zealand was analyzed for the presence of phosphorus, arsenic and antimony by Rooney Laboratories Ltd, Basingstoke, England. (See our list of sources of phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony found in common household and baby items below.)
Analysis showed that all three elements were present, phosphorus being especially prevalent. Sheepskins were shown to contain all three elements.

MfrNew productsphosphorusarsenicantimony

AWaterproof wool mattress cover+++--
ABassinet mattress (polyester inner)++-+++
ABassinet mattress (foam inner)---
BImported PVC cot sheet+++--
CPVC-lined cotton mattress protector++--
DAcrylic underblanket+--
ESheepskin baby rug++++++++
FLambskin rug+++++++++
GTi-tree bark bassinet mattress+++--
HInnersprung cot mattress++--
IVentilated cot mattress++-++++
KInnersprung cot mattress++++-++++
LImported innersprung mattress+++-+

No.Used productsphosphorusarsenicantimony

1Sheepskin baby rug+++++++++
2Bassinet mattress++++--
3Innersprung mattress+++++--
4Foam mattress++++--
5Foam mattress+++++--
6Innersprung mattress+++++-+
7Coconut fibre+++++++-
8Foam mattress++--
9Reconstituted foam mattress+++++--
10Innersprung mattress++++-+
11Innersprung mattress++++-+
12Innersprung mattress+++++-+++
13Innersprung mattress++++--
14Innersprung mattress+++--
15Innersprung mattress+++++--

No.Cot death baby beddingphosphorusarsenicantimony

CD1Pillow cover++--
CD1Pillow polyester inner+-+++
CD2Mattress cover+++--
CD2Mattress foam++++-
CD3Mattress cover+++--
CD3Mattress foam++++-
CD3Sheepskin rug+++++++++++
CD4Mattress cover+++--
CD4Mattress foam---
CD5Mattress foam+--
CD5Mattress cover+++++--
CD5Sheepfleece underlay+++--
CD5Sheepskin rug+++++++++
CD5Wool blanket++--

-=not detected(<10mg/kg)
+=10 ~50mg/kg
++=51 ~100mg/kg
+++=101 ~200mg/kg
++++=201 ~500mg/kg
+++++=501 ~1000mg/kg

Sources of Phosphorus, Arsenic, and Antimony

  • Compounds of one or more of these elements are present in virtually all crib mattresses (except in UK) as well as adult mattresses and sofas/couches 
  • The chemicals occur in various natural fibres
  • Phosphorus compounds are frequently used as plasticisers in flexible polyvinyl chloride
  • Antimony is present in virtually all commercial PVC
  • Antimony is used in the polymerisation of PVC and polyester, and as an additive to fire retardants
  • Arsenic is sometimes used in fungicide chemicals (eg OBPA) in mattresses, and is often present as an impurity in commercial antimony
  • All three elements are usually present in sheepskins

Common Household Items with these Elements:

  1. Infant car seat cushions. Abandon the fairly new practice of carrying your baby around in his infant seat from stop to stop. The more often your baby is in it, sweating, urinating, spitting up, the more dangerous the seat becomes. Wash the padding frequently to prevent fungus from growing inside the padding which leads to toxic gases.
  2. Infant swing padding. Same as above. Wash frequently or don't use.
  3. Padded furniture such as a couch. Never sleep with baby on a couch/sofa.
  4. Pillows. Polyester or other synthetic filled pillows are horrible!
  5. Your bed. Just like baby mattresses, in the US, all beds are mandated to be fire retardant and also often contain polyester. Organic cotton mattresses are available with a doctor's prescription. Never sleep baby on your bed. Use a co-sleeper instead.
  6. Polyester fleece or poly filled comforters or quilts. Do not use any synthetic bedding for baby whatsoever.

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