According to the Environmental Working Group, “exposure to minute doses of toxic fire retardants such as PBDEs at critical points in development can damage reproductive systems and cause deficits in motor skills, learning, memory and hearing, as well as changes in behavior.” Children are exposed to PBDEs not only from wearing flame resistant sleepwear, but also from mouthing the fabric putting them at increased risk.
Wal-Mart recently announced that it has banned PBDEs from all of its consumer goods and will be conducting tests to verify that suppliers are complying with their ban. Hopefully, more companies will follow Wal-Mart's lead. Until then, keep a careful eye on the labeling on children's sleepwear (where most of the PBDEs in children's clothing are used). Opt for pajamas made of natural fibers with tags stating “must be snug fitting” and “not flame resistant.”
No matter how cute the footsie pajamas, nothing justifies exposing children to the unsafe chemicals found in flame retardants.