A 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.’
3. 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.
4. 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?”
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.