Archive for the ‘non-toxic nursery’ Category

Experts Say Everyday Chemicals Can Cause Autism – and Some of Them are in Crib Mattresses

Sunday, May 6th, 2012


chemicals suspected of causing autismIn decades past, we rarely heard of children having autism, but now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of one in 110 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Many causes have been suggested but, still, most autism is considered idiopathic – which means, basically, that no one knows what really caused it. However, some experts believe it to be caused by heavy metals and environmental and household chemicals – some of which are even in crib mattresses.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, professor and chair of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York, compiled a list of 10 heavy metals and chemicals that are highly suspect.

Here’s the list:

• lead
• mercury
• polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – EPA studies say everyone (literally) has them in their body
• organochlorine pesticides like DDT – DDT is banned, but other, similar, chemicals are still around
• automotive exhaust
• brominated flame retardants – found in furniture, electronics, household dust and even certain sodas and sports drinks
• polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – these are in some driveway sealants, in anti-dandruff shampoos, cigarette smoke, mothballs and meat cooked on the barbeque
• organophosphate pesticides – these pesticides have been banned for residential use, but they are still used on our fruits and vegetables
• hormone-disrupting chemicals – these include phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA) and are in hundreds of products we use every day, everything from soaps and cleaning products to air fresheners
• nonstick chemicals – these are used in cookware, as well as in stain protection for furniture and carpeting

According to Dr. Landrigan, “It’s now possible to connect early exposure to problems in childhood.” Problems such as autism, ADHD and learning disabilities. But a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group also found 300 chemicals, some of which are on this list, in newborns. So, while early childhood exposure is a pivotal factor, chemicals are also being transferred from mom to baby while baby is still in the womb.

What steps should you take to reduce the potentially dangerous chemicals in your environment? Some things are obvious, and you might even know about them already – furnish and decorate your nursery with an organic crib mattress and other organic products whenever possible, switch to natural household cleaning products and personal care products for both yourself and baby. And there is more.

For a full rundown on where the suspect chemicals are found and how to avoid them, check 10 Suspect Causes of Autism & Learning Disabilities for a very informative slide show that also features related articles that give you even more information.

Everyone may not agree that heavy metals and chemicals are a problem, but do we really need everyone to agree? After all, many experts think there is ample evidence that these chemicals are highly suspect and, when it comes right down to it, do we really want to take chances with our babies?

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.

Creating a Non-Toxic Nursery

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011


creating a non-toxic nurseryWhen you’re going to have a baby, your major concerns are their health and safety. You get a solid crib, you research car seats, walkers, swings, and so on. You make sure those products are the best you can get and won’t harm the baby in any way. But there’s another aspect of a baby’s health and safety that many parents don’t think about – the toxicity of the materials in their nursery.

Toxic chemicals have now been linked to everything from learning disorders and autism to cancer and infertility. Taking steps to create a non-toxic nursery now could have wide-reaching, long-term and even life-changing benefits.

So, what do you do to ensure your nursery is non-toxic? Here are the basics:

§ Start with the crib mattress. Your baby will spend 12 to 18 hours a day on it. You don’t want your baby breathing the potentially toxic chemical fumes that may off-gas from most crib mattresses for 12 to 18 hours a day for the next year or two.

§ Next, ensure your baby’s clothes are made with untreated cotton or other natural materials free of chemicals and dyes. Organic is best – even though organic cotton, for example, doesn’t have any pesticide residue in it by the time it becomes fabric, there are still other potentially dangerous chemicals that could be used to make the fabric and clothes. Organic products should be free of those other chemicals as well. At the very least, go for ‘untreated.’

§ You also want toys that don’t contain vinyl and other harmful plastics, same with bottles and nipples. Here’s what Debra Lynn Dadd, the Queen of Green, has to say about children’s toys: “Most toys sold in major toy stores are made from plastics. Plastic is a major contributor to indoor air pollution, and a roomful of new toys can easily envelop your child in a toxic cloud. Remember that synthetic fibers are plastics, too, so evaluate stuffed animals carefully. While you might not find much that is natural in a toy store, there are many natural cloth and wood toys on the Internet. Many are designed to stimulate baby’s imagination and help them learn skills as well as provide amusement.”

§ The furniture in the baby’s room is another concern – no plywood or other types of building materials containing toxic glues. Instead, choose solid wood, natural finishes. While these more natural products will be more expensive, it is an excellent investment in your child’s well being. There are stores that specialize in this kind of product, you can buy unfinished furniture and finish yourself with non-toxic finishes, and can also order them on the Internet.

§ Repainting a room to turn it into the nursery? Watch out for toxic oil-based or water-based latex paint. Instead, get the low- or no-VOC varieties, now available at almost any store that sells paint. Don’t paint the room yourself if you are pregnant. Scraping or sanding walls may expose you to lead dust and toxic chemicals, which can be very dangerous to your baby. Ask your husband, family member of a friend to do the painting. Painting should be done at least a month before the baby arrives in the house; you don’t want to be painting with a newborn in the house.

§ Flooring and floor coverings can also be toxic. Most carpeting and carpets, for example, are made with synthetics AND treated with other chemicals. Some – not all – new carpeting is toxic. It’s probably best to just go with existing flooring rather than installing something new. Just clean it very well. If you have to put down new flooring, Debra Lynn Dadd suggests a hard, natural linoleum. It provides a solid, durable, colorful, attractive surface that is easy to clean.

§ Of course, any cleaning products and deodorizers should also be natural and non-toxic. No synthetic fragrances. If the label on the bottle says ‘fragrance’, it’s synthetic, and toxic. Essential oils used as fragrance are okay.

If there are questions about whether or not a product is safe, Debra Lynn Dadd suggest you use a natural tool – your nose. “If you can smell it, it probably contains something toxic you don’t want your baby to breathe (with the exception, of course, of natural fragrances). So rely on your own senses–if it bothers you, it will bother your baby, so don’t put it in the nursery.”

Your little bundle of joy is the most precious package you will ever hold in your arms. If you protect your baby from harmful chemicals, you’ll be taking great strides towards ensuring your child is healthy, happy, and has a good start in life.