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Hidden Toxins of a Newborn Nursery

Updated on March 26, 2016

Safety first in a newborn nursery

The air in a newly painted and furnished nursery has the potential to contain up to 300 toxic chemicals. Here are some of the basics of the hidden dangers and some quick simple ways to create a healthy and safe place for your baby.

Baby Crib: Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen and asthmagen is often used in pressed/composite wooden type products for nursery furnishings. Manufacturer's use it to make the wood last longer because it's a preservative. In the hospital we have to wear mask and gloves to pour it it is so hazardous to cells. Do you really your newborn exposed to this chemical?

Solution: Choose solid wood or gently used furniture that’s already had a chance to release the gas. (Double check older cribs meet current safety standards).

Crib Mattress: 72% of crib mattresses are made of potentially dangerous chemicals like flame retardants, antibacterial and water proofing finishing.

Solution: Look for organic and or chemical free products.

Paint: Conventional paint can release gas, toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) for up to 3 years or more.

Solution: Use non-toxic solvent free paint, or something natural like milk paint.

Changing Station: 70% of foam baby products such as changing pads, car seats and cradle cushions contain toxic flame retardants.

Solution: Choose products with wool or cotton filled pads with PVC free waterproof materials.

Side note: Google flame retardant and read all the many health problems associated with it for adults and children alike. That can be another entire stand alone health article.

Baby Care products: In 2009 The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 1,4-dioxane a chemical linked to cancer in 67% of products tested. 82% contained formaldehyde, a preservative, even though they were marketed as ‘gentle’ and ‘pure’ on the label.

Solution: look for organic care products or try making them on your own. On a personal note, I always avoid any skin care products with mineral oil in them. But do your own research and decide what is best for you.

Side note: In the hospital we keep formaldehyde in the laboratory and operating room to preserve body parts so they can be examined without deterioration when exposed to air. We have to wear gloves and mask when handling this solution. Do you really want this on your skin on a regular basis?

Toys: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used in many things from teaching rings to baby bibs. It often contains dangerous toxic additives such as phthalates, lead and cadmium. Bisphenal A (BPA) is another compound identified as possibly hazardous to fetuses, infants and young children. The European Union and Canada have banned BPA use in baby bottles.

Solution: Choose PVC and BPA free items for use during pregnancy and later for your baby to use and play with.

There are many more possibilities, this is only a partial list. Be an informed consumer, read labels, research the ingredients.

Knowledge is power; use it to create a healthier home for you and your family. Start one step at a time. Decide how best to incorporate some of this solutions into your household. Not everyone can do everything but everyone can do something. You can start by showing this article to someone who is pregnant and or has small children at home. For birthdays, splurge and buy them or yourself organic products.


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