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CPSC Answers Consumer Inquiries On TRIS

Release Date: February 10, 1977

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received many consumer inquiries in recent days concerning the chemical TRIS which is used to make some children's sleepwear, sizes 0-14, flame-resistant. The Commission has been asked by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a non-governmental, public interest group, to ban such use of TRIS alleging that it poses a cancer hazard.

This matter has highest priority consideration, and the Commission will continue to cooperate with the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) scientific experts to evaluate NCI's raw test data and estimate the risk potential of TRIS-treated garments. Washing new TRIS-treated sleepwear several times prior to use, in accordance with the garment care labeling instructions, should reduce the amount of TRIS on the pajamas and would be a useful precaution. Therefore, the Commission believes that TRIS-treated garments already in use and having been washed several times present little, if any, risk to consumers.

CPSC regulations require children's sleepwear, sizes 0-14, to be flame-resistant. Some fabrics are inherently flame-resistant, and some require the addition of chemicals to achieve the same effect. Manufacturers are required to meet the standards, but the law does not require them to label the type of flame-retardant chemical used or give that information to the government.

The Commission offers the following guidelines for the identification of TRIS-treated garments:

I. The following fabrics used in the manufacture of children's sleepwear, sizes 0-14, frequently require the addition of TRIS to achieve flame-resistancy:

100% Polyester;

II. The following types of fabric used in the manufacture of children's sleepwear are inherently flame-resistant and would, therefore, not require the addition of a chemical such as TRIS.

MODACRYLIC (brand names Verel, Dynel, SEF) and certain modacrylic blends;

"CORDELAN" (brand name for 50% polyvinyl chloride and 50% polyvinyl alcohol) and certain "cordelan" blends.

III. The following fabrics used in the manufacture of children's sleepwear, sizes 0-14, characteristically require the addition of a chemical other than TRIS to achieve flame-resistancy:

100% Cotton;
Nylon (Occasionally).

To find out if a particular children's sleepwear garment has been directly treated with TRIS, consumers should contact the manufacturers directly.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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