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Manufacturer faces lawsuit over allegedly deceptive marketing of children's products: 'If you're exposed as an infant … then it is in your body'

The likelihood of children ingesting the chemicals is high.

The likelihood of children ingesting the chemicals is high.

Photo Credit: iStock

A lawsuit in California alleges that popular baby and toddler bibs are exposing kids to dangerous PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), otherwise known as forever chemicals, while falsely labeling the product. The company labels claim that the product is "safety tested to meet or exceed all regulations," the Guardian reported.

What's happening?

According to the news outlet, the suit alleges that Bumkins Marvel and DC comic-themed bibs violate California's Proposition 65, which requires companies to provide warnings about "significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm."

The suit contends that the bibs contain PFOA, a highly toxic PFAS compound that the U.S. began to phase out of production nearly 20 years ago, per the Environmental Protection Agency. It can still be found in products that are imported. The lawsuit alleges that the bibs were made in China, which has imposed regulations on some PFAS but has been hesitant to impose complete bans.

Why is this concerning?

PFAS have been linked to cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, increased risk of asthma, and negative effects on the immune system, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. 

PFAS are suspected of causing multiple cancer deaths among former Philadelphia Phillies players who played on the artificial turf at Veterans Stadium, per the news outlet. Even the NFL Players Association has voiced concerns about players being exposed to these dangerous chemicals at the 14 NFL stadiums that use artificial turf.

And those are adult professional athletes in top physical shape. The lawsuit in California is looking to protect babies and young children whose immune systems are still forming.

The suit's lead attorney, Vineet Dubey, said, "If you're exposed as an infant … then it is in your body, causing trouble, causing cancer, causing reproductive harm for the first 30 to 40 years."

The likelihood of children ingesting the chemicals is high. How often do babies rub their hands in food that has fallen onto their bib then put their hands in their mouth? How often do parents scoop up food that's fallen onto the bib and feed it to their child? The bibs are also designed with pockets to catch food that can then be fed to the child. All of these scenarios expose children to these dangerous chemicals.

What's being done about this?

Besides the lawsuit in California, there are organizations like Food & Water Watch that keep tabs on PFAS and giant chemical companies that spend millions trying to suppress legislation that would restrict their use, which would benefit countless people.

To protect yourself and your family, among other things, avoid non-stick pans, and avoid fabric and furniture with stain-repellent treatments. PFAS are present in things we use every day, so be vigilant and learn about the products you use. 

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