Archive for April, 2012

Is Your Nursery Toxic? Check out this Experiment by Good Morning America and Greenguard Environmental Institute.

Monday, April 30th, 2012


non toxic nurseryA recent experiment conducted by Good Morning America and Greenguard Environmental Institute, a nursery was set up with indoor-pollution monitoring equipment, then furnished and decorated. Within a week, the equipment found 300 different chemicals in the room – some of which are known to cause allergies, hormonal disruption, and even cancer.

Some of the products were particularly volatile. According to the results: “the rocker contained seven times California’s recommended level of formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause cancer, and the crib mattress gave off more than 100 different chemicals, including industrial solvents and alcohols. The paint used on the nursery’s walls contained chemical gases at five times the recommended limit.”

Can this be normal? Is that what every nursery is like? Did they go out of their way to find products that were suspect? No, they just furnished the room the way any parent would.

It’s hard enough for adult bodies to process that kind of pollution, but it’s particularly hard for babies!

How do you outfit a nursery so that it is safe for your baby? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are a few tips:

• Get wooden furniture, rather than plastic, and go for brands that use non-toxic materials in the manufacturing of their products. Check online – they’re not hard to find.

• Instead of carpeting or laminate floors, used natural products like wood or cork, and, as with the furniture, ensure they aren’t manufactured or applied to the floor with toxic chemicals. Several different companies offer flooring that doesn’t emit VOCs. Check Debra’s List for a list. Search ‘flooring.’

• Use low- or no-VOCs paints. Several name brands now offer these kinds of paints. They may be a little more expensive than others, but not much, and they are well worth it.

• Get a Naturepedic organic crib mattress. Our mattresses are GREENGUARD certified to the highest standard, and they are certified organic by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) – the only certification that guarantees a truly organic product. See more about this in our blog “Is Your Crib Mattress Really Organic?

• Textiles – bedding, throw rugs, curtains – should be made with organic cotton, linen or silk. If you are going to use non-organic cotton or other natural materials, make sure you don’t get something that’s wrinkle-resistant, wash and wear, or no-iron. Wrinkle-free products are made that way with formaldehyde.

• Cleaning products and laundry detergents should also be natural and free of fragrance, phthalates or other chemicals. They’re available in health food stores but, for cleaning, vinegar, water and baking soda works on just about anything.

• To give the room a boost and help clean the air, try plants. See our blog “Cleaning Baby’s Nursery Air with House Plants”, for a list of the specific plants that are most beneficial.

Give your baby a good start in life by eliminating any chemicals they have to cope with as they try to develop into healthy children and adults.

Is Your Crib Mattress Really Organic? And How About Your Food?

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


Have you ever seen the word ‘organic’ on a product you bought only to find out later that it is not actually organic? I’ve had that happen plenty of times. The label says organic, I read the ingredients or materials list – if there is one – and see that it contains a certain amount of organic materials but, otherwise, is basically the same as any other product I could have bought for half the price.

Sometimes the label correctly reflects the ingredients and is not misleading; and at other times the manufacturers are trying to take advantage of the selling potential of organic products by making things look a little more organic than they actually are – this is known as ‘greenwashing.’

Figuring out whether or not a manufacturer is greenwashing can take quite a bit of research. But even with those manufacturers who are right up front about their products, we can still be confused. That’s because we don’t actually know the definitions and legalities of labeling terminology or the various certifications required by different types of products.

To make a very long story short, here are the basic labeling requirements for food and other agricultural products:

If something contains less than 70% organic ingredients, it cannot be labeled organic.

Products containing between 70% and 95% organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients.”

If the ingredients are 95% to 99.99% organic, they can be labeled “USDA Organic”

If everything in a product is organic, the label can state “100% USDA Organic”

However, both the USDA Organic and 100% USDA Organic seals only apply to agricultural products in a relatively raw state. When cotton is harvested, cleaned and formed into cotton balls, it’s still considered an agricultural product. But to turn that cotton into fabric, various processes are used that are beyond the USDA certification limitations.

That’s where a different type of certification comes into play – Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

So, with a Naturepedic crib mattress, for example, the USDA organic certification would apply to the cotton interior, but not to the steel used for the springs or the food-grade polyethylene used for the waterproof covering, and so on.

Truth be told, both USDA and GOTS certification standards are full of a lot of little details we don’t really need to know – like whether or not it’s necessary to sew a product using organic cotton thread. Suffice it to say that if you’re talking about crib mattresses, the only certification that really says organic is GOTS.

Naturepedic is proud to display the GOTS seal. And, I must say, we are on a very, very short list of manufacturers who can say the same.