With all the scary stories about VOCs in paint and cancer-causing chemicals in everything from teething toys to baby powder, you may be nervous about the prospect of creating a safe environment for the new addition to your family. Well, rest assured (while you can still get some sleep) because we’re here to help you create a healthy space for your sprog. Find out how sleep training may help you and your baby.
Your biggest danger is offgasing—the release of chemicals by building materials and furniture that can create an indoor atmosphere that’s two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
Start your nursery reno with a fresh coat of paint. Be sure that your paint is VOC free. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can result in headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation and dizziness and over the longer term can cause chronic illnesses including cancer.
It’s not just your paint that has VOCs—opt for building materials and flooring that is also VOC free. You can also find VOCs in pesticides, air fresheners and cleaning products, even if these are labeled as ‘natural’. Instead, create your own air fresheners using natural products, clean with natural cleaning products you can make from lemon and vinegar. Get the recipes here.
Fire retardants are one of the biggest culprits in the release of VOCs and they aren’t particularly effective at slowing the spread of fires. They are in baby clothing, furniture, and crib mattresses. Studies show that women with high levels of fire retardant chemicals in their bodies take longer to fall pregnant and can have smaller babies. Flame retardants have also been linked to hyperactivity and lower IQs in children.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common chemical used in the manufacture of plastics. The National Toxicology Program has reported that BPA can have a negative effect on the brain, prostate gland, and behavior in children. BPA is commonly found in baby bottles and the liners of some liquid formula brands, in sippy cups, pacifiers, and even teething toys.
In a recent study of over 400 products NPR found many BPA-free products still contained endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Opt for baby products that are BPA and chemical free. Natural-fiber products and glass bottles are best.
You can improve your indoor air quality with VOC-free materials and plants. Plants are brilliant at absorbing chemicals and creating a healthy indoor air quality. Find the best plants for improving indoor air here.