Posts Tagged ‘crib mattresses’

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?

Naturepedic Crib Mattresses and Accessories Certified To New GREENGUARD “Select” Program

Friday, December 9th, 2011


Worried about emissions of potentially toxic fumes into your nursery and other parts of your home? GREENGUARD is an independent organization that tests for emissions. They also offer several different certification programs to manufacturers whose products qualify.

Per GREENGUARD, common household products (which would include crib mattresses) release hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals into the air. Poor indoor air quality is linked to asthma, upper respiratory problems and other complications.

Naturepedic crib mattresses have been certified by GREENGUARD for the last five years. But there is now a new certification standard called “Select.”

In addition to the GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification Program, GREENGUARD’s previously highest standard, Select certification meets the latest scientific and marketing requirements. These include:

• Volatile organic compound (VOC) content limits
• Lower formaldehyde emissions requirements (driven by California Air Resources Board and California Department of Public Health’s 2012 CA 01350 requirements)
• Lead and phthalate content requirements (as defined by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Information Act)
• Commercial furniture testing protocols (as defined by BIFMA)

According to GREENGUARD, “Participating in this elite program demonstrates market leadership in minimizing chemical exposures from products”.

We are proud to announce that Naturepedic is the first mattress manufacturer to achieve this new certification.

The Select certified products include all our crib mattress models, mattress pads for bassinetts, cradles, portable cribs, and so on, as well as all our bedding accessories.

As always, we have your best interests at heart and strive to give your baby a healthy start in life!

New Study Finds Link Between SIDS and Alcohol Consumption

Thursday, December 30th, 2010


One more way to keep your baby safe.

Every parent is concerned about SIDS. Although there are many theories about it, and some feel they’ve narrowed down possible causes, it is still the # 1 cause of death in children between the ages of one month and one year. New research has now linked SIDS to parents or caregivers drinking alcohol. It may not be the sole cause of SIDS, but it might enable you to make changes that could keep your baby safe.


The study, conducted by University of California sociologist, David Phillips, reviewed 129,090 SIDS cases that occurred between 1973 to 2006.

The findings showed that SIDS deaths increased at times also known for increased alcohol consumption. For example, SIDS deaths spiked by 33% on New Year’s Day. Researchers also discovered that SIDS deaths were higher on weekends and on the fourth of July.

This lines up with other statistics on SIDS: Babies of mothers who drink are more than twice as likely to die of SIDS.

One doctor commenting on the study said, “”Although the study alerts us to considering the increase in SIDS at this time of the year (meaning New Year’s), it concerns me because it does not have evidence to suggest a cause or action to prevent this increase.”

Actually, the ‘action to prevent this increase’ is pretty clear. Don’t drink alcohol AND take care of babies. Pretty simple.

Many other factors are suspected of contributing to SIDS:

Babies suffocating in extra quilts, blankets, pillows, very soft mattresses, or by sleeping on their stomach. Recommendations are to put the baby to sleep in his or her back with no extra or heavy blankets, toys, etc., and ensure they can’t roll over.;

Babies overheating if they’re over-dressed or in a room where the temperature is too high. We have a tendency to bundle babies a little too much and have their bedrooms very warm. Most doctors recommend that if you are too hot or too cold in a room, your baby probably is, too. Don’t use extra blankets or clothing; if the temperature’s good for you (unless you are particularly sensitive), then it’s probably fine for baby;

Some experts think breathing fumes coming from the chemicals in baby crib mattresses. Naturepedic crib mattresses have been independently tested to ensure the air around them is safe for baby.;

And others are still being researched.

If parents took care of all of the known or suspected risk factors, would SIDS be over? No one really knows. But we do know that we can lower our baby’s chances of SIDS by addressing the things in the above list. And now, thanks to this new study, we know that drinking alcohol and caring for babies do not mix. Abstinence may be the best policy for parents and caregivers of young children.

Still Considering A Polyurethane Foam Crib Mattress? Here’s Dr. Greene’s Advice.

Thursday, December 16th, 2010


baby sleeping on chemicals?Unless we bury our head in research papers, it’s sometimes difficult to find the information we need on which chemicals are safe for our babies and which aren’t. So, we take the advice of experts. One such expert is Dr. Greene, a pediatrician who has had an online presence since 1995. His mission: “To improve children’s health by informing and inspiring those who care for them. By providing information, wisdom, and perspective, we strive to prepare parents to become knowledgeable partners who can work with their children’s physicians in a new and rich way.”

On June 1, 2010, Dr. Greene appeared on the ABC News Now Program, Parenting with Ann Pleshette Murphy. Here is Dr. Greene’s explanation of why polyurethane foam is not the best choice for a crib mattress or, for that matter, anyone’s mattress.

“Kids spend 93% of their childhood indoors these days, and indoor air is 2 to 5 times worse than outdoor air on average in terms of toxins. If I were to pick one green purchase to make, one big organic purchase to make, I would pick a mattress for your baby – because the conventional mattresses are often made with polyurethane foam, which is like frozen petroleum, solid petroleum. And you can smell the gasoline fumes right above it. Because of that they have to put all the chemical flame retardants on it otherwise it would be explosive. And there’s a little gas cloud of that on top. Then the whole thing is wrapped in vinyl with PVC and phthalates in there. So for about six inches or so above the mattresses there’s this cloud of chemicals. And babies are small. They’re right there 12 hours out of the day often. Naturepedic makes organic and all natural mattresses without all the chemicals that are there. It’s smart for all of us. None of these are things people should panic about but it’s just making smart choices. It tilts the odds in favor of health.”

That’s pretty clear.

In this TV interview, Dr. Greene also gives helpful information on other children’s products that contain toxic chemicals and which brands you can use to replace them.

Check it out!

Does Non-Organic Cotton Contain Pesticide Residues?

Monday, December 13th, 2010


pesticide residueMany parents have questions about cotton. Is regular cotton okay, or should you use organic? The major difference is pesticides – organic cotton is grown without pesticides; regular cotton is grown with them. Are residues from those pesticides still in the cotton clothing, sheets and blankets you’re using for your baby?

This is an important question if you’re concerned about your child’s health. Pesticides have been linked to several diseases and conditions, including asthma, autism, learning disabilities, birth defects, reproductive dysfunction, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and several types of cancer. In fact, the President’s Cancer Panel recommends that we eat organic food in order to avoid pesticide poisoning. Here’s a quote from the latest President’s Cancer Panel Report.

“Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers…Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications.”

But food is not our only exposure to pesticides. As with other chemicals, residue can also become airborne. And when they do, they are in the air our babies breathe.

More pesticides are used on cotton crops than any other crop in the world – a full 25% of all pesticides used are used on cotton crops.

The good news is that by the time those cotton crops become fabric, the pesticides are gone. However, according to Debra Lynn Dadd, Queen of Green and author of Home Safe Home, there are other problems with cotton, including the cotton batting sometimes used in crib mattresses:

“Cotton batting does contain pesticide residues, if it is not organic, as it is not as processed as cotton fabric. So it is imperative to buy organic cotton batting, as in a mattress or pillow.”

Finishes and dyes on some cotton fabrics can also be a problem:

“The problem with cotton fabric is the finishes, such as a permanent press finish, which releases formaldehyde. Most fabrics of any kind have a “sizing” applied, which washes out in the first wash. Five washes is plenty to remove sizing, but no amount of washing removes permanent press. Dyes are also not a concern if they are “colorfast,” that is, they don’t bleed when you wash them.”

According to Ms. Dadd, there are also environmental reasons to use organic cotton:

“The reason to buy organic cotton is that conventionally-grown cotton uses a huge amount of the most toxic chemicals, which get into our air and water and soil, and indirectly into our bodies.”

At Naturepedic, we use only organic cotton in our crib mattresses. So you know your baby is safe from pesticide residues and the residues of other chemicals that may be used on the crops or in processing.

As for your baby’s jammies, sheets, blankets and other goodies, regular cotton is probably fine. But do find out about the dyes used and treatments or finishes such as permanent press. If it looks like the chemicals used there might not be safe, go with organic.

New Study Reveals Toxic Chemicals in Flooring and Wallpaper. Are They in Your Child’s Nursery?

Monday, October 25th, 2010


Whether you’re a DIY’er or having your child’s nursery (or any other part of your home) renovated or decorated professionally, you might want to take a look at the recent study done by HealthyStuff.org and the Ecology Center on the toxic chemicals found in flooring and wallpaper.

HealthyStuff.org tested a whopping 3,300 home improvement products – 1,106 samples of flooring, and 2,312 samples of wallpaper.

None of the products tested are currently subject to any regulation regarding toxic chemical contents. In fact, the database of the results is the largest publicly available database of toxic chemicals in home improvement products.

The results were pretty amazing. Here are the overall findings from the horse’s mouth:

“Heavy metals and other additives are commonly found in residential flooring and wallpaper. These chemicals include lead, cadmium, flame retardants, tin compounds and phthalates — harmful chemicals that are linked to asthma, reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, hormone problems and cancer.

“Home improvement products are largely unregulated for chemical hazards and contain hazardous chemicals additives, called phthalates, at levels prohibited in children’s products by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CPSC prohibits the presence of 6 phthalates in children’s products at levels greater then 1,000 ppm.

“PVC building materials were 7-times more likely to contain hazardous additives, compared to non-vinyl alternatives tested in this study. All PVC materials tested – 1,350 of 3,019 contained hazardous additives; Non-PVC materials – 18 of 273.

“Over 1/2 (53% – 1,234 of 2,312) and 15% (119 of 793) of flooring had one or more hazardous chemical additives.

“Levels of hazardous chemical additives in flooring and wallpaper are commonly found in household air and dust at levels 5-100 times higher then outdoor concentrations.”

You’ll probably recognize ‘phthalates’ – they were recently banned in crib mattresses and other children’s products. Three types of phthalates were banned in some types of children’s products, and six in others (anything a child under 12 might put in their mouth.) The ban covers a wide range of products – everything from the vinyl waterproof covering on many crib mattresses (not in Naturepedic crib mattresses, of course) to the rubber ducky your little one plays with in the bath. According to the study, nearly half of the PVC/vinyl products tested contained hazardous additives – which would include phthalates – so it’s not just the products that were banned we have to worry about.

Looking at renos? Watch out for hazardous chemicals. Your best bet is to look for companies that don’t use them in their products. Also, check out the full HealthyStuff.org study. You can search the product results by brand, type and levels of detection.

Some Kids’ Products from China Not in Compliance with Toxic Chemical Regulations

Thursday, September 30th, 2010


phthalates in kids productsAs of February 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) banned the use of phthalates, chemicals that soften PVC so it can be used as a waterproof vinyl covering in crib mattresses, in soft vinyl toys, pacificers and other baby and children’s products. The phthalates restriction applies to “children care articles” which are defined as “intended to facilitate sleep, feeding, sucking or teething for children aged 3 or younger”. Within that group, if the item can be placed in the mouth or sucked, then six phthalates are banned. If not, then only three are banned. Further review and study was to be done to determine whether a ban should also be placed on additional phthalates.

So … how goes the battle? Are our children’s products now free of these dangerous chemicals? One of the organizations used to find out this info is called AsiaInspection, a Hong Kong company formed in 2004 to test, inspect and generally run quality control on Asian goods for importers around the world.

Recently, AsiaInspection conducted tests on kids’ toys from China to determine if the goods meet the phthalates-content requirements.

How did they fare? About 25% of the kids’ toys they tested contained dangerous levels of phthalates and, therefore, did not conform to the U.S. and European chemical content regulations. In fact, one product, a toy first aid kit, contained 130 times the phthalates allowable under European law.

To conduct the tests, AsiaInspection randomly chose 35 toys made in China. They then tested the toys against the regulations contained in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in the U.S. and it’s European counterpart REACH (which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemicals).

What can we as parents do to ensure that our kids’ products are safe?

1. Check to see that labels or company websites state that their products are in compliance with CPSIA standards. If necessary, call and talk to them about it.

2. Find out exactly what organization certified the products for that company.

3. Check out the certifying organization to make sure it’s recognized and on the level.

Also, it’s a good idea to find manufacturers you trust and use them as much as possible. Naturepedic, for example, has all the right certifications and is a trusted name in crib mattresses, mattresses for cradles, bassinets and so on, changing pads, mattress pads and toppers, and bedding.

Look for your own trusted names in toys, clothing and other children’s articles and stick with them. Then you’ll never have to worry.

More Toxic Chemicals Your Baby Can Do Without

Monday, September 13th, 2010


We live busy lives. Moms and Dads are often out to work, even when children are very young. Of course, we look for time-saving products and conveniences – one of which is the disposable diaper. They work, but are they a healthy option?

In case you haven’t looked into it, here are the facts:

Many disposable diapers are bleached white with chlorine. A by-product of the bleaching process, when chlorine is used, is a very nasty chemical known as dioxin.

Continuous exposure to dioxin, with one disposable diaper after another being used for about a year, causes the dioxin to accumulate in the baby’s body.

The Environmental Protection Agency says dioxin is highly carcinogenic and, per the World Health Organization, it may cause skin reactions, altered reproductive and liver function, and damage to the immune system, nervous system and endocrine system.

That’s definitely serious enough to warrant considering other options, but dioxin is only one chemical on the list of those contained in disposable diapers.

For a more complete list of these chemicals, read Chemicals in Disposable Diapers.

Environmentally speaking, disposable diapers are also a problem: About 92% end up in landfills. Estimate for decomposition? 200 to 500 years.

Cotton diapers, on the other hand, are safe, and after about 150 washes, become cleaning cloths. They take a little more effort, but your baby is safe. If you don’t have time for the extra laundry, you might consider a diaper service. They pick them up and drop them off. Just make sure you use a company that cleans the diapers with non-toxic laundry products.

Our Naturepedic crib mattresses help your kids sleep in a healthy environment. Switching to cotton diapers is a fairly easy transition to make to give your kids an even healthier start in life!

Germs or Toxic Chemicals – Do We Really Have to Make that Choice?

Saturday, September 11th, 2010


What lengths should you go to to protect your children from germs? When Louis Pasteur postulated that minute creatures, invisible to the human eye, were floating in the air, entering our body through our nose and mouth and causing serious illness, he wasn’t met with a very keen reception. People thought he was nuts. Now, more than a century later, the ‘germ theory of disease’ is the basis of modern pathology. But did Pasteur realize at the time that some of the solutions later invented to inhibit the spread of germs could disrupt the endocrine system, interfere with normal development and reproduction and, in fact, endanger the health of all who came into contact with them?

Not likely. But, in fact, that is exactly what happened. Two major alleged germ-fighting chemicals – triclosan and triclocarban, found in anti-bacterial soaps, cleansers, toothpastes and a variety of other products we use every day – have been suspected as dangerous for decades and virtually nothing has been done about it by regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration.

Although the FDA first started looking into triclosan and triclocarbon more than 30 years ago, and in 1978 proposed a ruling that both be banned from soaps, no final ruling on the matter was ever made. Now, 32 years later, it is still in the ‘proposed’ stage.

In the meantime, studies have shown that 75 percent of Americans over the age of six now have triclosan residues in their body.

To make matters worse, it has been scientifically determined that products containing triclosan and triclocarbon aren’t any more effective at fighting germs than regular soap and water.

So, we’re being poisoned for nothing – the chemical has been found in blood, urine and even breast milk.

To remedy this situation, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) last month filed suit against the FDA for failing to issue a final ruling that would regulate the use of triclosan and triclocarbon.

Read the full story, Lawsuit Seeks Final Rule on ‘Antibacterial’ Chemicals After 32-Year Delay, on non-toxickids.net.

It’s taken years to even put a dent in the laws regulating the chemicals used in crib mattresses, and the progress so far has been limited to the ban of just a few types of phthalates, also endocrine disruptors. Let’s hope the NRDC lawsuit motivates the FDA to take further action on triclosan and triclocarbon.

How careful do you have to be about germs with your children? You have to remember that Pasteur lived in an era where sanitation wasn’t what it is today: Most people bathed once a week, at most, and the whole family bathed in the same tub. Dad first, then mom, then the kids – all in the same water. Also, Pasteur was literally trying to convince doctors that it might be a good idea to wash their hands before they plunged them into someone’s open wound.

Today, we’re in much better shape. Almost all of us have bathrooms, bathtubs, soap and clean water. Studies show that’s really all we need – as long as we use them and take normal precautions.

Thanks to companies that make organic and natural personal care and cleaning products, we also have many non-toxic choices available for killing germs.

To keep your kids safe – from both toxic chemicals and germs – check ingredients lists for your personal care and cleaning products on labels and websites, switch to brands that don’t contain harmful chemicals, and make judicious use of the products that are available to keep your home and body clean.

Safe Alternatives for Cribs and Other Baby Furniture

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010


toxic chemicals in plywoodIf you’re concerned about the materials used in your child’s crib mattress, you should also have a very close look at the toxic chemical content of cribs, dressers, changing tables, and even outdoor furniture and decking. Fortunately, there are easy alternatives to using these chemicals, including building materials that may have fallen under your radar.

What toxic chemicals do you have to worry about in furniture? One of the primary offenders is formaldehyde.

Plywoods and particleboard, which are often included in furniture even if they don’t comprise the entire structure, are glued together with formaldehyde-based resins or urea-formaldehyde (UF) glue.

Formaldehyde, which off-gasses for years into the air you and your children breath, has been classified by the EPA as a probable carcinogen.

Healthy Child Healthy World recently published a list of alternatives:

Certified-sustainable hardwood cabinets and furniture utilizing traditional joinery and stainless steel drawer bottoms, salvaged wood, UF-free fiberboard, or baked-enamel metal, which emit less chemical vapor into the air. Or, reject permanent cabinetry altogether, and use freestanding hardwood tables, shelves and hooks.

Formaldehyde-free medium density fiberboard (MDF) in place of plywood for outdoor areas. Fiberboard can be made from recycled wood, paper or plant fiber waste, which is compressed and molded into boards without adhesives.

Look for an “exterior glue” stamp on regular plywood, which means it contains phenol formaldehyde (PF) resin, which off-gasses at a much slower rate than UF glues.

If particleboard can’t be avoided, finish with a low-toxicity sealant (latex paint won’t seal in vapors).

With the demand for toxic-chemical-free homes, and in the environment, these materials are becoming more available even in regular stores – especially the wood. If you’re having trouble finding a sealant, Debra Lynn Dadd, the Queen of Green, recommends Safe Seal made by AFM Safecoat. Also, for an excellent in-depth discussion with Debra and her readers about non-toxic baby cribs and where to get them, check Non-Toxic Baby Cribs.

Just think how wonderful it would be to not have to worry about you and the kids breathing formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals! You can rest easy.