Posts Tagged ‘non-toxic nursery’

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.

Ten Simple Ways to Create a Non-Toxic Home for Your Baby (and yourself)

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011


creating a non-toxic homeWomen who are not committed to non-toxic living, even though they know at least a little about the dangers of some of the chemicals in their lives, often find themselves more serious about the subject when they become pregnant. Having a few toxins in your own system is one thing; foisting them off on your innocent and somewhat defenseless little one is another story. So, now that you’re taking a more serious look at all of this, what do you do?

Before we get into the ten simple ways you can create a non-toxic home, I would like to impress upon you that the first step is to create a non-toxic nursery. That’s where your baby will be spending most of their time for the next year or two. Start with a non-toxic crib mattress, one that doesn’t emit harmful chemical fumes into the air your baby will breathe for 12 to 18 hours a day, and go from there. Use our blog, Creating a Non-Toxic Nursery, as a helpful, item by item guide.

Now, let’s move onto the rest of the house.

In truth, creating a toxic-free home can be a daunting and expensive task if you include buying new furniture and other big-ticket items. But there are many things you can do to greatly reduce the chemical burden of your home without having to take things that far. Not perfection, but so very close.

How do you find out about these relatively simple changes? Rather than telling you all about it here, I will refer you to one of the best sources of information available – Debra Lynn Dadd’s free e-book, Ten Toxics You Can Toss Today. A wonderful little book, easy and fast to read and understand.

Some of the things on the ‘ten toxics’ list are pretty simple – Brush Your Teeth Without Fluoride, Wash Windows Without Ammonia – those aren’t too difficult to figure out. But other items are things you might not have a clue how to address, or even know there is a need to address them. Like Stay Cozy Without Carbon Monoxide. Huh?

For all ten items, Debra provides useful information about what the problems are with those toxics and how to find healthy alternatives. If you have any questions about specific items in your home, Debra is a goldmine of information. You can check her toxics and health website, read her book Home Safe Home, or even get an in-person or phone consultation.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the air in our homes is two to five times more toxic than the air outside. Other experts say it’s much worse. Even though your baby is going to spend a lot of time in their room for the first little while, the toxic fumes from other parts of the home inevitably also end up in the nursery. There’s no way to stop it.

Make the commitment to a non-toxic home now. Don’t risk your child’s health and happiness by exposing them to the dangers of toxic chemicals.

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.

Which Chemicals Should You Avoid to Prevent Behavioral and Learning Problems?

Monday, September 27th, 2010


Are food additives making your child sick?

As you may be aware from some of our other blogs or research you’ve done, several studies have shown links to exposure to toxic chemicals and the symptoms known as ADD, ADHD, autism and hyperactivity in kids. Unfortunately, the chemicals in question are not esoteric – they aren’t the kind of chemicals you’re only exposed to if you work in certain industrial environments, for example. They are chemicals our kids come into contact with every day – in fact, they eat them, play with them, sleep in them, are dressed in them and, in many cases, are actually born with them in their body.

ADHD and the other symptoms I’ve mentioned are perhaps not the only side effects of toxic chemicals, but they do present a special set of difficulties. These include low self-esteem, nervousness, being disruptive or aggressive with others, and even reading and comprehension problems. These difficulties can really disrupt the lives of those involved and make it very difficult for kids to have a happy childhood.

Also, if your kids do have these symptoms, they may be exposed to even more toxic chemicals – drugs – which may bring on a whole new set of symptoms.

What can you do in addition to avoiding toxic chemicals in crib mattresses, kids toys, clothes, and the home environment?

Eat organically grown foods, including meat from animals grown without antibiotics or hormones, reduce sugar intake and make sure your kids are getting a balanced diet with eggs for breakfast instead of frosted cereals, and really watch out for food additives as covered in the Feingold Diet.

The Feingold Diet consists of a list of artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives and other food and packaging additives that have specifically been determined to cause the symptoms you want to avoid. Some of these chemicals are even disguised, on the labels, as things that sound good for us. The term ‘anti-oxidants’, for example, which also includes healthy substances like Vitamins C and E and Essential Fatty Acids, can sometimes be used to describe chemicals that prevent the fats in food from ‘oxidizing’ – meaning ‘becoming rancid’. This is a far cry from the role nutritional anti-oxidants play.

In addition to ingesting, absorbing and inhaling untold amounts of chemicals over the last few decades – things we rarely had to contend with in earlier times – food additives have become part and parcel of our everyday diets. Here’s a sampling of Feingold’s take on the differences between what our kids ate in the 1940’s, compared to the present:

In the 1940s kids brushed their teeth with white toothpaste, ate oatmeal, corn flakes or toast and butter with jam for breakfast. Now they brush with multi-colored toothpastes (attained with the use of food colorings), instant oatmeal with additives that can even make the oatmeal turn blue when milk is added, colored cereals and pop tarts. All made with artificial flavoring and coloring. Even cocoa with whipped cream isn’t safe – today it’s topped with Cool Whip.

Is it any wonder that so many kids are having trouble?

If you want your kids to sleep easy and grow up happy and healthy, start with avoiding chemicals and eating well yourself (the chemicals can pass from parent to unborn child), green your nursery with non-toxic materials and a crib mattress that’s certified as not emitting harmful chemical gases, and eliminate food additives as recommended by Feingold Diet. All the info you need is on the Feingold site, including the research.

Going Green in 2010 – A Few Simple Things With A Big Impact

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


GoingGreenNew Year’s Day is the traditional time to turn over a new leaf. It’s that time when we decide to lose a little weight, go for that promotion at work, or make some investments that will pay off. This year, a lot of people will be putting more effort into going green. Getting your child a new toddler or crib mattress that has been certified by GREENGUARD is a good start, but there are many other things you can do for your children and your entire family. Here’s a brief list.

  • Buy organic products. Everything from food to bed linens and carpets. In addition to protecting your family, organic food and organic products made in green facilities cause much less damage to the environment than other products. No pesticides for the food, and the potentially harmful chemicals used in other products and in the production process are significantly reduced if not completely eliminated.
  • Throw out your cleaning supplies and replace them with non-toxic, biodegradable alternatives. There are many products available in health food stores; even regular supermarkets are now adding them to their shelves. But the labels can fool you. Read more about what to look for on a label in Cleaning Products for the Non-Toxic Nursery. Of course, all the information also applies to the rest of the house!

  • Replace your beds. Babies spend 12 to 15 hours a day in bed, toddlers not much less and, for adults, it’s about a third of their life! There are so many beds out there made with potentially harmful chemicals. Some have even been banned. And with the changes being made in the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s a good chance more will be banned in the future. Start with getting your kids crib or toddler mattresses to help them get a healthy start in life. Then move onto your own.

There are hundreds of other things you can do to go green, but these are a very good start! Going green in 2010 will help create a safer, healthier home for your family, and for families around the world.

Cleaning Products for the Non-Toxic Nursery

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


Bacteria, or cleaning products with toxic chemicals? Hmmmm. Tough choice. But, really, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many non-toxic cleaning products available in health food stores and even in supermarkets – although you do have to watch the labels carefully in the supermarket products – some say ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ but have simply had something organic or natural added to them, without eliminating the toxic ingredients.

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products from Your Kitchen

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products from Your Kitchen

We don’t recommend specific products, there are far too many to keep track of, and we’re kind of busy making our wonderful organic crib mattresses, but here is an outline of what to look for to ensure you’re getting something safe. Courtesy of Debra Lynn Dadd, Queen of Green.

“If a cleaning product contains a chemical that is hazardous, it must by law specify the hazard. Look at your cleaning product labels and see if you find any of these words:

Toxic/Highly Toxic: poisonous if you happen to drink it, if you breathe the fumes, or if it is absorbed through your skin.

Extremely flammable/Flammable/Combustible
: can catch fire if exposed to a flame or an electric spark.

Corrosive: will eat away your skin or cause inflammation of mucous membranes.

Strong Sensitizer: may provoke an allergic reaction.

Hazardous cleaning products also must prominently display the degree of toxicity with one of the following signal words:

Danger (or Poison, with skull and crossbones): could kill an adult if only a tiny pinch is ingested.

Warning: could kill an adult if about a teaspoon is ingested

Caution: will not kill until an amount from 2 tablespoons to 2 cups is ingested.”

Additionally, your kitchen is actually loaded with the ingredients for just about every cleaning need. The short list includes vinegar, water, lemon, cornstarch, table salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. If you’re interested in making your own cleaning products – it’s very easy and fast – check Home Safe Home, Debra Lynn Dadd’s indispensable guide to non-toxic living.

Gloria
The Naturepedic Blog Maven