Found in furniture and electronics, the chemicals can reach infants via breast milk or even in the womb. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

London - Babies are at risk of being "pre-polluted" by toxins in everyday household items.

Found in furniture and electronics, the chemicals can reach infants via breast milk or even in the womb.

British MPs warned that the potential impact on health was frightening. They said breast milk in Britain had the world’s second highest levels of flame retardants, which can cause cancer and disrupt hormones.

The committee heard three months of evidence from experts and received 64 written submissions for an inquiry into chemicals in everyday use.

Its chairperson, Labour MP Mary Creagh, said: "People are breathing in these toxic chemicals every day in their own homes where they expect to feel safe.

"It’s a frightening situation when there is growing evidence about the risks some flame retardants pose to human health. Most people assume that they aren’t at risk from toxic chemicals but the reality is different. Mums in the UK have some of the world’s highest concentrations of flame retardants in their breast milk, some of which have now been banned.

"Chemical flame retardants are still being widely used in our furnishings from children’s mattresses to sofas."

Daily Mail