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Santa delivers toxins

Jakob Dailey, 4, and George Dailey, 2, got to open one gift before bed on Christmas Eve.

They ripped the wrapping paper off their gifts to each find a pair of superhero pajamas. Then their parents, Cmdr. James Dailey and Monica Dailey, helped them get into their pajamas and into bed.

Neither parent thought the pajamas they just snuggled their children into might cause them harm, but by morning, both boys had become lethargic, their skin was omitting a chemical smell, and they began to throw up.

“It was just like they were being poisoned,” Monica Dailey said. “I mean, they just weren’t right.”

Cases of toxic sleep-wear, or adverse reactions to chemicals added to children’s sleep-wear to make them fire retardant, are not uncommon.

Dailey, however, said she would never have considered the possibility that the pajamas had caused the boys’ sickness, but after she and her husband got the boys out of the pajamas and bathed them, they immediately began to improve.

“After we got them washed they were feeling better, and two hours later, they were doing fine,” she said.

Dailey said this caused her to go online and research toxic sleepwear to see if it was a relevant concern. To her surprise, she said she found a great deal of regulations, warnings and advice for toxic sleepwear, from alarming to precautionary information.

“All children’s sleep-wear is required by law to meet federal flammability standards. Most fabrics treated with flame-retardant chemicals continuously emit toxic formaldehyde gas,” one Internet source said. “Breathing formaldehyde gas above the levels of 0.1 parts per million for an extended period of time will cause many health problems, such as headaches, dizziness, scratchy eyes and throat, nasal congestion, coughing, and immune system abnormalities,” on Web site stated.

Another source stated: “Children are especially vulnerable to chemicals. Their immature immune and liver detoxification systems cause them to be much more sensitive than adults to such things as bleach, dyes, and toxic compounds ... When choosing the right fabrics for your children, many factors should be taken into account. In general, the less chemical processing and fewer dyes and finishes added to the fabric, the less likely the material is to cause an adverse/allergic reaction.”

Dailey said her husband had already returned the pajamas to Whidbey Island’s Navy Exchange, where she had purchased them, when she found this kind of information. Wanting to read the tags and get more information on the pajamas, Dailey said she went out and bought another pair of the same style of pajamas, although not the same ones because all the pajamas sporting Superman and Batman in their signature poses had sold out.

Dailey said she read the pajama tags but said the pajamas were labeled as not flame resistant. At this point, Dailey said she didn’t know where to go with her theory that the pajamas had made her boys sick, so she called the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Seattle field office and spoke with Marcus Morris, product safety investigator.

Morris asked Dailey to send the pajamas to the CPSC for lab testing and filed a case report from Dailey’s story.

“We are looking for any type of foreign substance or any element that shouldn’t be there,” Morris said.

Morris said if anything is found in the pajamas, the CPSC will inform the American Marketing Ent. Inc. (AME) based out of New York, which produces these pajamas in Cambodia, that the company needs to recall these pajamas or submit a corrective action plan. The company would also have to contact major media sources, as these pajamas are sent out to retail stores throughout the world.

Morris said because of the potential danger to children, CPSC will move very quickly on this case.

Sylvia Rice, Navy Exchange store manager, said she will do anything she can to get the recall information out to customers, if a recall is issued for the AME product. She wanted to ensure customers that the Navy Exchange only carries children’s sleep-wear that complies with the CPSC children’s sleep-wear regulations.

Morris said for anyone who wants to find out more about recalled products or children’s sleep-wear regulations, concerns or investigation cases, they should go to http://www.cpsc.gov. He said he should have the results for the lab testing of the Daileys’ sons’ pajamas and the case report in a few weeks.

Dailey said parents should watch their children in the evenings, after they are dressed for bed, or in the mornings to see if their children might have adverse reactions to their pajamas, especially those that were purchased pajamas from the Navy Exchange around Christmas time. If parents notice that their children are reacting to their pajamas, she said they should contact CPSC.

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