As a parent of a newborn, there’s nothing in the world more important than the health of your infant, so what would you do if we told you that your nursery could contain hundreds of potentially dangerous chemicals? That’s a pretty scary thought, right?
According to ABC News, “Good Morning America” conducted an investigation in 2012 to determine the levels of indoor air pollution present in a nursery and found 300 different kinds of chemicals after just seven days of testing.
“The rocker in the nursery contained seven times California’s recommended level of formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause cancer. The crib mattress gave off more than 100 different chemicals, including industrial solvents and alcohols. Meanwhile, the paint used on the nursery’s walls contained chemical gases at five times the recommended limit,” reported the source.
Scientific American reports that children sleeping in rooms that have fumes from water-based paints and solvents are as much as four times more likely to have allergies or asthma. The University of Texas at Austin has published a report about the potential health risksfromVOCs in crib mattresses. Skin irritations in newborns have been linked to environmental triggers during pregnancy that can play a role in the development of skin manifestations during the first year of life.
While this information is undoubtedly scary to any new or expecting parent, the good news is that there are effective ways to reduce your baby’s exposure to chemicals, such as the following:
- Planning ahead - You’ll want to get your baby’s nursery set up well before he or she is due. As ABC News explains, “chemical emissions are at their highest when a product is brand new,” so this will give you a chance to leave the windows open and let some of those chemicals dissipate.
- Avoiding pressed wood products - Pressed wood - a type of material commonly used to make furniture - contains formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer in both humans and laboratory animals.
- Paying close attention to labels. Keep an eye out for certified products (Greenguard, Scientific Certification Systems, etc.) that guarantee low odors or low chemical emissions.
- Using low-VOC paint–There are certain paints you can buy that have a lower concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Pregnancy or recommends looking for Green Seal-certified paints specifically.
- Purchasing a nursery air purifier - The RxAir 400 from Med Air Solutions is a residential UV air purifier that has been proven to reduce concentrations of indoor air pollutants such as viruses, allergens, mold and pet dander.