Posts Tagged ‘organic crib mattress’

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.

Is Your Crib Mattress Really Organic? And How About Your Food?

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


Have you ever seen the word ‘organic’ on a product you bought only to find out later that it is not actually organic? I’ve had that happen plenty of times. The label says organic, I read the ingredients or materials list – if there is one – and see that it contains a certain amount of organic materials but, otherwise, is basically the same as any other product I could have bought for half the price.

Sometimes the label correctly reflects the ingredients and is not misleading; and at other times the manufacturers are trying to take advantage of the selling potential of organic products by making things look a little more organic than they actually are – this is known as ‘greenwashing.’

Figuring out whether or not a manufacturer is greenwashing can take quite a bit of research. But even with those manufacturers who are right up front about their products, we can still be confused. That’s because we don’t actually know the definitions and legalities of labeling terminology or the various certifications required by different types of products.

To make a very long story short, here are the basic labeling requirements for food and other agricultural products:

If something contains less than 70% organic ingredients, it cannot be labeled organic.

Products containing between 70% and 95% organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients.”

If the ingredients are 95% to 99.99% organic, they can be labeled “USDA Organic”

If everything in a product is organic, the label can state “100% USDA Organic”

However, both the USDA Organic and 100% USDA Organic seals only apply to agricultural products in a relatively raw state. When cotton is harvested, cleaned and formed into cotton balls, it’s still considered an agricultural product. But to turn that cotton into fabric, various processes are used that are beyond the USDA certification limitations.

That’s where a different type of certification comes into play – Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

So, with a Naturepedic crib mattress, for example, the USDA organic certification would apply to the cotton interior, but not to the steel used for the springs or the food-grade polyethylene used for the waterproof covering, and so on.

Truth be told, both USDA and GOTS certification standards are full of a lot of little details we don’t really need to know – like whether or not it’s necessary to sew a product using organic cotton thread. Suffice it to say that if you’re talking about crib mattresses, the only certification that really says organic is GOTS.

Naturepedic is proud to display the GOTS seal. And, I must say, we are on a very, very short list of manufacturers who can say the same.

Nominate a Mom for Healthy Child Healthy World’s Annual Award

Monday, January 23rd, 2012


Three years ago, Healthy Child Healthy World started their “Mom on a Mission” awards. Every month from January to August they choose one mom as a finalist, and the winner is announced in November. The winning Mom on a Mission gets a prize. For 2012, the fourth year of the awards, the prize is a special event in New York City. How does Healthy Child find these wonderful moms? From you: You submit your nominations to Healthy Child.

What’s Mom on a Mission all about? In the words of Healthy Child: Mom on a Mission is about “Celebrating special and inspiring American parents who are dedicated to creating healthier and happier environments for children and families. Our 4th Annual Mom on a Mission campaign is designed to shed light on those who put our words into action.”

Last year’s winner was Tamara Rubin. Tamara’s children were diagnosed with acute lead poisoning – the result of a painting contractor’s use of unsafe paint removal methods. Tamara not only got into action, she was even instrumental in the passing of a new law – The Federal EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. Read more about Tamara’s fascinating story.

Many moms, and dads, started their education about the relationship between toxins and health when they found out they were about to have a baby. They went looking for a crib mattress, did a little research, and wound up buying organic. Naturepedic is proud to have been the top choice for many. From there, parents continued to educate themselves and some even got more involved in making big changes. Some are even be actively changing laws, like Tamara Rubin.

We might not all be able to change laws, but what each of us does, no matter how little, makes a difference. Or, as Healthy Child puts it: No one can do everything. Everyone can do something.

We all want a healthier environment, and boy do we need it! Public acknowledgment of the work being done towards achieving a healthy world is important, It educates more people, and it inspires them to do as much as they can to create a healthy life for their children, themselves and every one of us.

So, pick a mom who’s doing something – maybe it’s even you, or your mom – and get her info to Healthy Child.

Updated Toxic Substances Control Act Back in Action

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011


Lautenberg introduces Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

Sen. Frank Lautenberg

Millions of parents around the U.S. are becoming aware of the dangers of toxic chemicals in our homes and in the environment. They’ve taken steps to eliminate them: They buy organic crib mattresses, outfit their baby’s nursery with non-toxic furniture and décor, use non-toxic cleaning supplies, wear clothing made with natural fibers, use air purifiers, eat organic food, and so on. But we’re all still waiting for the federal government to step up to the plate and update the Toxic Substances Control Act to help give us the protection we need.

Although the Toxic Substances Control Act has been on the books since 1976, the way it’s written makes it virtually impossible for anything to be done when goods made with toxic chemicals enter the marketplace. In fact, about 80,000 new chemicals have been created and introduced to our daily lives since 1976 and only about 200 have been tested for safety and only a handful have been restricted.

Last fall, an updated Toxic Substances Control Act was introduced to congress by New Jersey’s Senator Frank Lautenberg. Check out Sen. Lautenberg’s video about the bill. It did not pass at the time, but has just been reintroduced.

There is an abundance of scientific evidence linking toxic chemicals to health problems. Study results have been clear enough to warrant 18 states passing their own laws. Also, hundreds of thousands of businesses now offer non-toxic alternatives. Almost every major grocery store chain now carries non-toxic cleaning supplies, for example, and some corporations, like Walmart, have even taken it as far as banning products with specific, very commonly used but dangerous chemicals from their shelves.

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is just one group of supporters. It represents more than 70,000 businesses – Naturepedic is among them.

Our founder – also a grandfather, concerned citizen and environmental engineer – Barry A. Cik, was quoted by the ASBC in a recent news release:

“I saw Lake Erie die and then observed how the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 helped bring it back to life,” he said. “Our company was created to help stop the rampant misuse of chemicals. Naturepedic is determined to give babies and their families an alternative free of questionable chemicals. There are very few, if any, responsibilities that we have that are more important than providing a safe environment for our children. Naturepedic is asking Congress and the American public to level the playing field for businesses and make sure that all babies and children are provided with safe and healthy products free of questionable chemicals by passing this needed legislation.”

With 18 states having their own laws in place – although they don’t cover all the bases by a long shot – and hundreds of thousands of companies offering non-toxic goods, you can have a close to toxic-free household with little effort. But the new Toxic Substances Control Act will give us more choices and make it easier to get what we need to help ensure the health of our children, ourselves, and our environment.

To summarize the new law, called the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, we would see the following changes:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be required to identify and restrict the “worst of the worst” chemicals, those that persist and build up in the food chain.

Any product containing chemicals and being introduced to the marketplace, or continuing to be available, would be required to first supply basic health and safety information.

Scientific methods for testing and evaluating chemicals would be upgraded to reflect best practices called for by the National Academy of Sciences.

Generally provide EPA with the tools and resources it needs to identify and address chemicals posing health and environmental concerns.

If you would like to support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, call your congressman and let him know how you feel.

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.

Are You Going to be a Mom Soon? Protect Your Baby’s Health by Making Changes Now.

Monday, September 20th, 2010


It used to be a usual thing that soon-to-be moms would quit drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. A wise choice. But these days we have much more to worry about in terms of toxins. In fact, study after study has shown traces of toxic chemicals in breast milk and the blood and urine of pregnant moms. And we now know that these chemicals transfer to the baby. What can you do to protect your child from the chemical onslaught?

In addition to getting your baby a crib, crib mattress, changing pad, clothing, linens and food that is free of toxic chemicals, it’s time to change other things in your household to help you stop accumulating toxins in your own body. Here’s a list of simple things you can do to remove general toxins from your environment.

Get rid of your PVC vinyl shower curtain. These shower curtains off-gas toxic chemicals. Instead, switch to cotton or hemp. They work just as well, although you do have to make sure the ventilation is good and they are washed frequently. You could also consider a glass shower door. They’re relatively easy to install and cost less than $100.

Start eating organic fruits and vegetables and meat from animals fed the way they used to be before commercial feeds became popular. For beef and lamb, for example, that was grass. Also, make sure they haven’t been fed antibiotics or hormones. Those substances go straight into your body, and into your baby’s.

Change your cleaning products to something non-toxic or, better still, use old-fashioned remedies like baking soda and vinegar. In fact, you could pretty much clean your whole house with just these two products. Whatever products you choose, make sure they do not contain fragrance. Synthetic fragrances are high on the list of toxic chemicals.

Do the same with your personal care products and cosmetics. A lot of chemicals are absorbed through the skin.

If you’re not yet pregnant, but there’s a chance you might become pregnant, all the same things apply for your husband. His body influences the baby’s, too.

Make sure your indoor air is clean by removing toxic chemicals from the household and using an air purifier. Did you know that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor? You can change that.

Remember, whatever’s in your body might pass through to the baby. If you would like more information on that, watch 10 Americans, a very interesting video about a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group.

These few changes will help protect your baby, and you. It can take a while to get toxins out of your body so whether you’re planning on motherhood in the near future or far, now is a good time to start.

You Can Help Make Crib Mattresses Safe for Every Child, Including Your Own

Monday, August 23rd, 2010


moms can help babies sleep on safe crib mattressesOur founder, Barry Cik, recently had an article published in greenbiz.com. Chemical Regulations and the Modern Mattress: The Stuff of Nightmares.

Barry hadn’t intended to start a company that makes crib mattresses. But six years ago, when he went shopping to find a crib mattress for his first grandchild, he was appalled at the toxic chemicals in the mattresses he found. And as an environmental engineer, he really understood the risks.

“My grandfather slept on straw. I’ll have my grandchildren sleep on straw before I let them sleep on these mattresses,” he told a salesperson.

And, so, Naturepedic began.

“I know from experience that once people realize that their kids’ beds, mattresses, toys and bottles may contain toxic chemicals, they start reading labels and put their trust in brands that can demonstrate safety,” said Barry. “But not everyone can afford to act on this knowledge. Consider families living paycheck to paycheck that can’t always afford to buy the least toxic choice. Our next challenge is to turn frustrated consumers into vocal citizens who will support Congress in making non-toxic the norm, not a market niche.”

If you would like to become a vocal citizen and protect kids from toxic chemicals, consider joining the 100,000+ people who have signed the Environmental Working Group’s petition to demand that Congress take action to make chemicals in consumer products kid-safe.

And to find out more about Naturepedic crib mattresses, the mattresses Barry made for his grandchildren that are now available for your family, check out our website.

Keeping Your Baby Safe in the Sun – Some Sunscreens May Be More Dangerous Than the Sun!

Saturday, July 24th, 2010


If you’re going to the beach with a newborn, it’s easy to keep them out of the sun. But once they’re mobile, they want to crawl in the sand, play with their little pail and shovel, make mud pies and splash in the water. How can you safely protect your active little one from the sun? This new guide will give you the skinny on protection, and tell you the truth about sunscreens.

The Environmental Working Group has compiled info on sun safety for you your kids, including research on 1400 different sunscreens (don’t worry, you don’t have to plough through all that research) to help you figure out which are safe and effective.

The new EWG sunscreen guide (read or download the guide by clicking the link), offers the following:

o A list of the top sunscreens – by which we mean the least toxic while still being effective.
o A searchable database in which you can find out about the sunscreen you’re using or others you have questions about.
o Sun Safety Tips for every age – from infant to adult.
o The Hall of Shame – your worst options, and why. Some of this product info might come as quite a surprise.
o Sunscreens exposed: The truth about sunscreens, what’s proven and what’s not, and how sunscreens could be causing more health problems, including skin cancer, than sunburns ever did.

This is vital information for your little guys, and for you. Especially the specifics on sunscreens. After all, if you won’t let your baby sleep on toxic chemicals (that’s why we make organic crib mattresses); you’re certainly not going to rub them into their skin!

Summer’s already fun. Now make it safe!

Check out Safer Chemicals Healthy Families’ New Video – By Moms, For Moms

Sunday, June 13th, 2010


Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, an organization dedicated to ensuring new safety standards for chemicals are established and met, has released a video made by Moms, for Moms to help educate families and organizations on the dangers of toxic chemicals. It’s called Moms Take Action Against Toxic Chemicals, and is available by following the link.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families is a coalition representing more than 11 million people in the U.S. including parents, health professionals, advocates for people with learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive health advocates, environmentalists and businesses.

They provide a wealth of information and are working to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Act was written in 1976 and has not changed since that time despite growing evidence of the link between toxic chemicals and health. Chemicals have been linked to everything from diabetes to learning disabilities.

Naturepedic is also a member of the coalition. Our organic crib mattresses are designed to help prevent exposure to toxic chemicals, but we would like to see everyone, not just babies, living safer lives.

Check out the video and, while you’re on the site, also check the list of participating organizations. You may find quite a few in there that would help you find the resources you need to further your personal quest and answer your questions!