Archive for the ‘clean air’ Category

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 Indoor Air Quality at School Affecting Your Child’s Health or Performance?

Friday, November 19th, 2010


indoor air quality in schools endangers healthIf you’ve diligent about indoor air quality at home and are concerned about the air quality at your child’s school, the American Lung Association has teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give you the tools you need to help clean it up.

Why is indoor air quality an issue? According to the EPA:

“Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a critical component of providing a healthy and comfortable learning environment. Indoor air pollutants may cause or contribute to short- and long-term health problems including asthma, respiratory tract infection and disease, allergic reactions, headaches, nasal congestion, eye and skin irritations, coughing, sneezing, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. In addition, indoor air pollutants and extremes in temperature and humidity may cause discomfort, which can affect students’ ability to concentrate and learn.”

Obviously, indoor air quality can have a serious effect on your child’s health, as well as their school performance.

In fact, it makes you wonder how many learning disability diagnoses might actually be attributed to toxins in the air at school. The same would also apply, of course, to the home.

If you suspect the air quality of the school because of problems with your child, or even if you’re just trying to protect your child’s health, find out from the school principal if they are involved in an indoor air quality program and precisely what measures they’re taking to ensure the air is safe. If they are not currently active in such a program, guide them to the American Lung Association website to read about the indoor air quality programs, plans, checklists and other materials they provide to help schools.

And, of course, follow up on it. They might even appreciate your help!

Are Bedroom Chemicals Causing Your Child’s Asthma, Allergies or Eczema?

Friday, October 29th, 2010


toxic chemicals and allergies, asthma and eczemaHaving a Naturepedic crib mattress will help handle many of the potentially toxic chemicals in your child’s bedroom. But the chemicals in crib mattresses are not the only ones you have to watch out for. In fact, some of the other common chemicals have now been linked to asthma, allergies and eczema in children. Check out this new study.

This recent study, conducted in Sweden focused on analyzing the air in children’s bedrooms. The researchers were looking for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – gases that are emitted from liquids or solids and which can damage the environment and human health. They tested the air for 8 different VOCs in the bedrooms of 400 children. Nearly half of the children suffered from allergies or asthma, and the other half were healthy.

What they found was a link between the presence of PGEs – propylene glycol and glycol ethers – and asthma, allergies and eczema. In fact, children with PGEs in their bedroom air were between 50 and 180 times more at risk of developing asthma, rhinitis (cold symptoms) and eczema than children whose bedroom air was free of these chemicals.

The study also linked bedroom air containing PGEs to a higher incidence of kids developing antibodies to cats, dogs and pollen. In other words, they are sensitive to pollen and cat or dog dander (usually), and may develop allergic symptoms in the future or already have them.

PGEs can be found in water-based paints and cleansers as well as some plastic toys and packaging. Propylene glycol is also a common ingredient in personal care products – everything from shampoos, soaps, creams, ointments, deodorants and toothpaste to laundry detergents, floor wax and processed foods. So, there is plenty of opportunity for it to get into household air.

Propylene glycol penetrates the skin very quickly and, in addition to the allergy symptoms, can cause damage to the brain, liver and kidneys. In fact, the Environment Protection Agency recommends that people working with propylene glycol avoid skin contact.

Amazing, isn’t it, that propylene glycol is so common despite these warnings?

The researchers involved in the study concluded that more testing had to be done. That’s pretty standard – one test after another. But they did also commit to the idea that PGE exposure causes or exacerbates multiple allergic symptoms.

How do you get rid of PGEs? Well, start by removing products containing them from your home. And don’t buy anymore.

How do you know which products contain propylene glycol and glycol ethers and which don’t? Some products list them on the label and many, probably most, don’t. In food, propylene glycol is listed as E 1520. For some types of products, like industrial applications and cosmetics, there is no legal requirement to list these ingredients at all. However, there is a household products database that can give you the information – just type the name of the product into the search box to see the contents. For personal care products and cosmetics, check Skin Deep. They also have a good search engine that lists tons of products.

To find alternatives, check the Internet for things like non-toxic cleansers, cosmetics, and so on. Also, Debra’s list has non-toxic alternatives for just about everything. For PGE-free food, simple buy organic and fresh, but continue to read labels of packaged products and investigate further if needed.

It seems there’s no end to harmful household toxins. But, in fact, there is. Once you get the hang of it and know what to look for, you’ll find that finding and using products that are not harmful is easy. And as a result, you and your children will be healthier!