Toxic fire retardant chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and neurological and other health problems are prevalent in common baby products, according to a study released today by the national environmental group Friends of the Earth.

The study finds that these toxic chemicals, called halogenated fire retardants, appear in a high percentage of baby products, including portable cribs, strollers, car seats and infant carriers.

Due to their prevalence in common household products, these chemicals have been found in breast milk and in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to the health effects of these chemicals as they impact development at critical stages of growth, the group said.

Were poisoning our children, one crib at a time, said Russell Long, Vice-President of Friends of the Earth. Given the clear links to learning disorders and reproductive problems, this is beyond foolish. Fortunately, there are fire-safe alternatives, but the chemical industry is fighting hard to keep its profits at the expense of our kids.

Friends of the Earths Sara Schedler, the reports lead author said, We sampled a wide variety of childrens products, and what we found was alarming. Toxic chemicals are being put into products that children and babies interact with on a regular basis, endangering their health. The government must act now to limit these chemicals use, and companies should immediately phase them of their products.

The largest state in the nation may soon enact safeguards. A bill sponsored by California Assemblyman Mark Leno (AB 706) would end the use of these dangerous chemicals in many products and has already passed the California Assembly. Action is pending on the California Senate floor.

Kids shouldnt have to sleep on or play with toxic products that could cause long-term damage to their health, Leno said. Our bill would help ensure they dont. It creates smarter and improved fire-safety standards while protecting kids, workers, and others from toxic chemical exposure. Todays study from Friends of the Earth underscores the urgent need for the Senate to pass this legislation.

Friends of the Earth also announced today that it is working with organizations including MOMS: Making Our Milk Safe and to encourage baby and childrens product manufacturers to end the use of toxic fire retardant chemicals in their products.

The groups are approaching juvenile product company Graco first, encouraging hundreds of thousands of activists and consumers to contact Graco and request that it take the lead within its industry by dropping the use of these chemicals.

The findings in the "Killer Cribs report are based on a sample of 150 baby products and 350 pieces of household furniture from California stores and residences.