Posts Tagged ‘organic cotton’

Fire Retardants Linked to Developmental Problems in Children, Study Says

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011


I can’t help but notice a real concern with the toxicity of fire retardants when I’m reading other’s blogs, articles, online consumer reviews and comments about crib mattresses and other children’s products. The concern is often focused on PBDEs, commonly used toxic flame retardant chemicals that are in just about everything. Should we be concerned? According to a unique study conducted by The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the answer is a very definite yes.

The researchers on this unique study analyzed the cord blood of 210 infants and then followed up for the next six years. The children were tested at 12, 24, 36 48 and 72 months for psychomotor development, mental development, performance IQ, verbal IQ and full-scale IQ.

The results showed that children with PBDEs in their cord blood scored significantly lower on the later tests. In fact, the higher the prenatal exposure to PBDEs, the lower the scores. Scores on some tests were as much at 10.9 points lower than the scores of children with less prenatal exposure.

PBDEs are widely used flame-retardant chemicals that are in everything from carpets, upholstery and drapery fabrics, children’s clothing, mattresses and furniture to appliances, insulation, building materials, computers and other electronic equipment.

How do PBDEs get into our system?

Because they are added to the products rather than chemically bound to them, they can be released into the air, lodge in dust, and anywhere else they happen to land, where they can be inhaled and even ingested.

PBDEs also don’t break down easily; once they’re in the body they tend to stay there. This also means they accumulate in the body with additional exposure and the levels just keep going up.

What can you do about it?

As the PDBEs in your home can be airborne, it’s important to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. But the most important step you can take is to phase out PBDEs in your own home. Instead, choose products that do not contain “PBDEs”, “brominated fire retardants” or “Deca.”

Many furniture manufacturers and stores, like Ikea, are conscious of the dangers of PBDEs and offer PBDE-free furniture.

For textiles – draperies, upholstered furniture, mattresses, and so on, look for fibers that are naturally fire retardant – organic cotton and wool are good examples. And always check with the manufacturer if there is no information on the label. All of our Naturepedic crib mattresses and other products are made with organic cotton and free of PBDEs and any other harmful chemicals, so that’s a good place to start in protecting your children.

If you’d like to read the full study, it’s available on the Environmental Health Perspectives website.

Anyone who is a potential father or mother should start getting rid of PBDEs and other harmful chemicals right now. Your child’s future depends on it.

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.

How the Chemicals in Your Life Are Affecting Your Unborn Children

Sunday, May 30th, 2010


eliminate toxic chemicals if you're pregnantIf you’ve been reading our blog, or keeping up with news items (including a piece on 60 Minutes that aired just a week ago), you will know that many of the items in our everyday lives contain potentially harmful chemicals. This is even more of a problem for kids than adults, because kids’ bodies are still developing. But the problem starts long before the kids are born. In fact, it’s immediately after conception. Check out this resource that shows you exactly when and in what part of the body chemicals affect your unborn child.

The resource is a chart on the website of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX). TEDX is a non-profit organization that studies the effects of low-dose exposure to endocrine disruptors, chemicals that effect fetal development and human health. These chemicals include, but are not limited to, bisphenol A (BPA), dioxin, and phthalates.

The chart is called Critical Windows of Development. It lists the various systems, organs and so on within the body and shows the stages of development during each weeks and trimesters in the womb. On the upper right of the chart, it shows checkboxes for ‘All Chemicals’, ‘Bisphenol A’, ‘Dioxin’, and ‘Phthalates’. Check ‘Phthalates’, for example, and red lines appear on the chart that show you which systems they affect, and at what period of pregnancy.

There are also little triangles on the chart that provide the names of studies that support the information.

One thing is clear: If we want to give our kids the best chance at being healthy as children and throughout their lives, expectant Mothers need to be free of these chemicals.

Pass this on to anyone you know who is pregnant, or may be in the future, so they can start doing something about it now.

What do they do about it? Eliminate the chemicals from their lives as much as possible. Many of our blog posts show you how to do that, and Debra Lynn Dadd’s book Home Safe Home has a wealth of information on what chemicals are in what products and suggestions on healthy alternatives. But, basically, just go organic, go toxin-free.

And once your baby is born, make sure you continue your toxic-free life. Get the baby a safe crib and baby crib mattress, made with non-toxic materials, swaddle them in organic cotton, feed them organic food, get them glass baby bottles and diapers and toys that are not made of harmful plastics or other potentially harmful chemicals.

Study Links Pesticides to ADHD – Are They in Your Child’s Crib Mattress?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010


Naturepedic organic cotton crib mattresses no pesticidesYet another study has linked ADHD to chemicals – this time it’s the group of pesticides known as organophosphates. Organophosphates are commonly used on cotton crops, which is why we use only organic cotton in our baby crib mattresses.

The list of symptoms now labeled ‘ADHD’ – forgetfulness, difficulty focusing or concentrating, inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and, often, learning disorders – can be a real trial for kids and parents.

A significant number of kids with these symptoms have trouble with school and relationships, are more prone to accidents and injury and, as they get older, are more likely to get involved in drinking and driving and other social problems.

Of course, some of this is ‘normal’ kid stuff. But organophosphate pesticides, which disrupt the brains and nervous systems of insects very effectively, have been proven to have a similar effect on humans. They have even been used in nerve gas and other chemical weapons for precisely that reason.

Do we really want to expose our kids to these chemicals?

ADHD symptoms can also be very costly for a family. Estimates show that the average cost to a household with a child with ADHD is between $12,000 and $17,000 a year. That includes treatment and other health support, lost work days, trips to the ER, and so on.

Many kids take drugs to control the symptoms. But drugs have their own long list of problems. If a healthy solution can be found – in this case, that would be the elimination of pesticides and other harmful chemicals from our kids’ lives – everyone would be much better off.

The new study examined about 1,100 children, 119 of whom have had an ADHD diagnosis. Urine tests looked for organophosphate metabolites – the products of the breakdown of the pesticides in the body – and found that the higher the level of metabolites, the more severe the ADHD.

Researchers concluded that the risk of ADHD is almost double in children with high levels of organophosphate pesticide breakdown products. Considering that organophosphates account for nearly 40% of the pesticides used around the world, we can pretty much count on them being in our bodies to some extent.

Check out the study, entitled Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides, in the journal Pediatrics for more info..

Sometimes it may feel that there’s no end to the dangers of chemicals but, really, this is good news. It opens the door to a possible solution for millions of kids!

At Naturepedic, we make our baby crib mattresses with organic cotton – no pesticides in the materials = no pesticide exposure for kids. We made them for the kids in our own family. Now they’re available for yours.

Organic Cotton Mattress Pads and Quilted Toppers Extend the Life of Your Mattress

Thursday, March 11th, 2010


I was recently reading a forum and noticed a person asking where they could get a mattress pad like those made by Naturepedic (she even included a link to the product) for her own, adult-sized bed. There are quite a few people interested in organic cotton mattress pads and toppers, so I thought I’d let you know that we do actually have larger sizes – not just those that fit toddler and crib mattresses.

Mattress pads and toppers are a good idea for every bed – they help keep the mattress clean, make it more comfortable, and extend the life of your mattress. If you choose a waterproof model, it will also help keep the mattress free of bodily fluids, make sure it stays dry so no mold or bacteria develop and block dust-mites and other allergens.

The waterproof models are also very comfortable – the outer and inner layers are soft, organic cotton, but between them is a non-toxic membrane that blocks liquids. You sleep on the soft cotton without sacrificing protection.

We make mattress pads and toppers in several different sizes: Everything from bassinette to full in both waterproof and non-waterproof models, and a waterproof queen-size.

We have models that simply lie on top of the mattress, others that have straps that keep them from sliding around or falling off the mattress, and still others that wrap around the sides and corners like a fitted sheet.

No matter which model you choose, they’re all made in the U.S.A, are machine wash and dryable, don’t contain Vinyl / PVC, phthalates or latex, and are GREENGUARD certified.

To find out more, check out the Naturepedic organic cotton mattress pads and quilted mattress toppers on our website.

Is Your Baby Bedding Toxic?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010


shar peiDecades ago, clothing, linens and other textiles were anything but easy-care. The fabrics were heavy and cumbersome to clean, took forever to dry, and had more wrinkles than a Shar Pei. This kept housewives, which was just about every wife at the time, pretty busy.

When synthetic fibers came into the picture, American women sighed with relief. The clothes and linens were lighter, washed quickly, dried quickly, and wrinkles, if there were any, practically shook out. We’ve come to expect that – even with baby clothes, blankets and the bedding we use on crib mattresses.

However, over the years we’ve discovered more about the chemicals some of these synthetic fabrics actually have in and on them, and the blush is definitely fading from the easy-care chemical rose.

What chemicals can your baby be exposed to with crib bedding?

Labels like ‘crease-resistant,’ ‘crease-proof,’ ‘no iron,’ ‘wrinkle-resistant,’ ‘durable press,’ ‘easy-care’, ‘wrinkle-free’, ‘stain-resistant,’ ‘wash and wear,’ and ‘permanent press’ mean the fabrics are probably treated with formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde can cause a number of health conditions – burning and watery eyes, coughing, difficulty breathing, and allergic contact dermatitis where formaldehyde-containing fabrics come in contact with the skin.

According to the National Cancer Institute, formaldehyde is also human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance), and the Environmental Protection Agency agrees that’s probably the case.

Formaldehyde is just one of the chemicals of concern in baby bedding, but it’s enough.

What’s the solution? Although you can buy untreated 100% cotton products, it might be easier to get organic cotton. Organic cotton is becoming so popular you can even find linens and clothing in major department stores. Not all stores, and not many items, but you may be able to find them.

If not, you can shop at specialty stores or online. There are literally hundreds of online stores that sell organic cotton sheets – including for a toddler or crib mattress – as well as blankets, pillowcases, clothing, and so on. You can also find them at Naturepedic – we make organic cotton crib sheets and other bed linens as well as organic crib mattresses. Check them out.

So … what do you do about the wrinkles?

Some organic cotton items don’t wrinkle anywhere near as much as they did decades ago; it depends on the weave and a number of other factors. Our crib sheets, for example, look pretty good right out of the dryer. So, wrinkles might not be a problem.

Here are a few tips to keep wrinkles to a minimum, regardless of the fabric:

  • Add vinegar to the final rinse cycle of your wash. Simply fill the fabric softener reservoir with one cup of vinegar to help keep textiles soft.
  • Don’t let your laundry sit in the washing machine. Take it out as soon as it’s done, then shake things out and smooth them before putting them in the dryer.
  • Pack the dryer loosely; the tighter it’s packed, the more wrinkles you’ll get.
  • Take clothes out of the dryer as soon as the cycle is complete, immediately smooth them out, then fold or hang.
  • If you need to iron something, use a steam iron. A combination of heat and moisture is the best wrinkle-fighter.

True, this all takes a little longer that permanent press. But it’s worth it to protect the health of your baby, and yourself.

Organic, Natural, PVC/Vinyl-Free, Phthalates-Free, and Chlorine-Free Baby Products

Friday, November 20th, 2009

10-baby-products-to-buy-organic1

I read an article a few days ago called 10 baby products to keep baby safe. It listed ‘10 healthy baby things you should own.’ Interestingly enough, the top three products on the list were made by us (the Naturepedic Quilted Organic Cotton Deluxe Crib Mattress, the Naturepedic Organic Cotton Contoured Changing Pad, and our Naturepedic Waterproof Flat Crib Pad), but there were several other great products as well: Organic baby food and infant formula, a PVC/vinyl and phthalates-free bib, a very sweet little teddy bear, and more. Check them out here.

By the way, the Naturepedic products featured there are not the only ones we offer. We carry other toddler and crib mattress styles, mattresses for cradles, bassinets – just about every type of mattress or pad you might need. And we offer organic bedding. To see all our products, check the Naturepedic website.

Can A Naturepedic Crib Mattress Help Mom Get More Sleep?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

BK22835

When I was pregnant with my son, I had very unreal expectations in the sleep department. I was told the baby would sleep 12 to 15 hours a day and would be eating about every four hours. That added up fine for me – baby eats at 8:00 p.m., sleeps until midnight, eats again, sleeps until 4:00 a.m., eats again, sleeps until 8:00 a.m. – I shouldn’t have any trouble fitting 7 or 8 hours of sleep in there, right? Wrong; oh so very wrong.

In case you’re not initiated, it goes more like this: baby eats then gets to sleep about 8:30 p.m. You have some things to finish up; you hit the sack at 11:00. Baby wakes up hungry at midnight. You feed him, but he’s tired and keeps falling asleep. So the eating process is very slow. An hour later, he’s fed. But now he’s awake, smiling and gurgling, and he wants to play! An hour later, he’s ready to go back to sleep. Now there’s two hours left until the 4:00 a.m. feeding. You have a little trouble getting back to sleep and, an hour after you finally doze off, it’s feeding time again. This time it doesn’t take quite as long but, still, it’s 5:30 before you get back to sleep. At 7:00 a.m. you’re woken by your husband getting ready for work, and the 8:00 a.m. feeding follows shortly thereafter.

You’ve had since 8:30 p.m. the night before to get 7 or 8 hours sleep, but you’ve only slept 3 ½ hours! And this could go on for months. Obviously, the solution is to get the baby on your schedule as soon as possible so he, and you, can sleep through the night.

Can a Naturepedic crib mattress help? While I certainly can’t say an organic cotton crib mattress free of PVC/vinyl, phthalates and other potentially harmful chemicals will help a baby sleep through the night, look at it this way: Studies have linked phthalates to a lot of health problems: hormonal and structural reproductive development in boys, asthma and rhinitis in both male and female children, and effects on the pituitary, thyroid, thymus, ovaries, testes, lung, kidneys, liver, and blood in animal studies – more human studies are needed.

Really, how well would you sleep with that going on?

p.s.  If you’re interested in a print of the fabulous painting above, “Sleeping Mother” by Christian Krohg, click the image.

Crib Mattresses – Is It Okay To Use Old Ones?

Monday, October 12th, 2009


old mattressesI was recently reading some blogs online and saw a question about using old crib mattresses instead of getting a new one for an upcoming baby. The mattress they were considering using was actually 20 years old (although I don’t know how much it had been used during that time.)

I would suggest that using a 20-year-old mattress might not be the best idea. Perhaps if it had been stored in a dust-free environment – preserved, really – it would be okay. As long as it was scrupulously clean and dry when it was put in storage.

But what worries me is the materials used to make mattresses 20 years ago. I don’t know what precise laws regarding chemicals or heavy metals have changed during that time, but it’s not out of the question that some of the materials used to make crib mattresses 20 years ago are now recognized as toxic.

In any case, with a new baby you really just can’t be too careful when it comes to health and safety. What happens to them when they’re an infant and in their formative years will influence them for their entire lives. A healthy environment, with a brand new organic cotton crib mattress that is certified as safe is a good start.

Q & A: Creating a Toxin-Free Nursery – What’s After Getting an Organic Crib Mattress?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009


Q: I am going to be a new mother in about two months. I am now the proud owner of a Naturepedic crib mattress, but I’m not sure what my next priority should be to make sure our nursery is free of toxins.

A: Congratulations on the soon-to-be new arrival! And on your new Naturepedic organic crib mattress. Your next step to creating a toxin-free nursery really depends on your current environment. If you have just installed new carpeting or just painted the nursery, your first priority right now would be opening windows and/or installing a heavy duty air purifier.

To hasten the off-gassing process, you can also ‘cure’ your nursery – to see exact steps, read the Curing a Sick House section in our recent blog.

You also want to make sure the baby’s bedding and clothes are free of toxic dyes and other chemicals. Organic cotton is your best bet. Fortunately, more and more stores are selling organic cotton clothing for babies so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. By the way, if you’re looking for info on natural products, check out Debra’s List. She’s the Queen of Green – knows just about everything.

I seem to be referencing materials from Debra Lynn Dadd quite frequently of late. No, she’s not paying me. But she does excellent research and has volumes of helpful info on living without harmful chemicals.

Also, it’s very important to make sure your cleaning products aren’t toxic. See our blog on non-toxic cleaning products for more info.

Gloria
The Naturepedic Blog Maven