Test: Banned endocrine disrupting phthalate found in baby sleeping bag

17. feb 2016

A new test from the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals reveals several unwanted substances in sleeping bags for babies. One sleeping bag contained a high dose of the endocrine disrupting phthalate DEHP.


Baby sleeping bags
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

A new test of 8 baby sleeping bags and 2 carrycots shows that babies are in risk of being in close contact with a number of problematic chemicals. The laboratory test has been published by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

4 sleeping bags in the test receive the lowest mark for content of phthalates, fluorinated substances or naphthalene – substances which are suspected to be either endocrine disrupting or carcinogenic. A sleeping bag of the brand Dania Oxford contained the phthalate DEHP, a plasticizer which can be endocrine disrupting and be detrimental to fertility.

“It is very unfortunate that we find a baby product with as high a concentration of DEHP as in this sleeping bag. DEHP has been banned in toys and baby items for many years, but sadly it is not the first time that we have seen the phthalate sneaking in to baby items where it most certainly does not belong,” says project manager in Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals, Stine Müller.

The Dania Oxford sleeping bag had a concentration of 22 percent of DEHP in the rubber on the outside of the sleeping bag. The permitted content is 0.1 percent. The test also showed that the sleeping bag had a content of 6 percent DEHP in a mixed sample of the fabric, zip fasteners and straps which the children can come into direct contact with in the bag.

The company responsible for the Dania Oxford sleeping bag has withdrawn the bag from the market and offers customers their money back.

Problematic fluorinated substances in proofing

Bugaboo – another sleeping bag in the test – showed a clear content of fluorinated substances in the fabric on the outside of the bag. The substances are presumably used for making the bag water- and grease-repelling.

Among the measured fluorinated substances was one of the most disputed, PFOA. This is a fluorinated substance which is suspected to be endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic and that accumulates in nature. PFOA is listed on the European Chemicals Agencys list of Substances of Very High Concern.

PFOA is not banned in baby items, but the concentration of PFOA is higher than, what is permitted in textiles in Norway. It is also above the limit, which was recently suggested as a future limit value in the EU.

Bugaboo writes in a mail that the company ‘strives to meet all applicable regulations and continually validate and test our products according to an ever-changing and growing list of requirements’.

High dose of possibly carcinogenic PAH substance

In three sleeping bags for babies the test revealed a high concentration of the PAH naphthalene. The substance was found on the outside of the bags in the slip-resistant rubber.

Naphthalene is classified as possibly carcinogenic, but is not banned in baby products. The findings of naphthalene were in Voksi Urban, Zero2four and Dania Oxford.

The retailer BabySam is responsible for the sleeping bag Zero2four. The company states that it is satisfied with the fact that no problematic chemicals were found in the parts which the child is in contact with when lying in the sleeping bag. The company will in corporation with the manufacturer make sure that naphthalene is removed from the slip-resistant rubber in its products.  

The company behind Voksi Urban states that it – after having seen the test results - will change the production in order to phase out naphthalene.

4 of the bags and the 2 carrycots did better in the test. Babytroldsposen LUX with Fleece, Phil & Teds Cocoon, Sleepbag.dk Babysovepose and Voksi Classic received an A label. Basson Soft Lift and Duniduo Dun received a B label for having minor traces of naphthalene and nonylphenolethoxylat respectively.


For more information:

Mrs Stine Müller, sm@fbr.dk, +45 41 94 79 06

Project Officer, Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals