If 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.