Have you ever thought about the fact that we spend an enormous amount of time making sure every baby apparatus that may come within 10 feet of our baby is completely safe. There are so many locks, straps, snaps, covers. Bottles have 15 parts just to make sure your baby doesn’t get one hiccup. But one thing I don’t think we give enough thought to is the safety of the products and chemicals around our kids. These are things that come in DIRECT contact with them on a daily basis and are often completely over looked.
The research on the harmful effects of chemicals found in many common household items is starting to become completely overwhelming. Groups such as the World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency have started to issue warnings to protect consumers against these harmful ingredients. However, the FDA regulation on what is safe to use is often slow and very politically motivated, allowing these harmful ingredients to remain in use. According to the Organic Consumer Association “The real negative effects of these types of chemicals come further down the road, when these children could exhibit learning disorders, a propensity for various types of cancer, early puberty, hormonal disruption and birth defects in their children.”
Here are 4 simple things you can do to make sure you are protecting your baby from unnecessary chemicals.
1. Read Labels: This is a good rule of thumb for really anything: food, personal care products, cleaners. If you see a laundry list of ingredients you’ve never heard of its probably a bad sign. In food, watch out for words like artificial, hydrogenated, or any type of food coloring. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics more than half of children’s bath soaps, shampoos, lotions, and other personal care products tested by the group were found to contain 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde. The problem is the ingredients aren’t listed as 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde so many parents are unaware. In cleaning products you want to avoid ammonia, bleach or any type of acids. As a general rule look for products that that only have a few ingredients and just keep it simple.
2. Make your own simple green cleaner: I admit I was a Lysol wipe addict. I was convinced that it was the only way to make sure things were disinfected and safe for tiny hands and feet. WRONG. You would be amazed at how easy and effective just simple vinegar, baking soda and water is at cleaning and disinfecting. Pick up your own spray bottle and go to town! Click here for a million ways to clean with vinegar. For specifics on things like tile, wood floors, and carpets, click here for more easy green clean mixtures.
3. Avoid BPA: Bisphenol A (BPA) is a compound found in plastic bottles and in the plastic lining of canned foods. The FDA has deemed BPA generally safe but released a statement in 2010 raising concern about the effect on infants and children. BPA is known as an endocrine disruptor and basically can act like a hormone in the body causing all sorts of potential problems, specifically for pregnant women and infants. The good news is many manufacturers of baby products are making BPA free products. Specifically bottles, toys and baby food storage items. Born Free, Green to Grow and Medela are just a couple brands that make BPA free bottles. Here is a great website with a complete list of companies that make BPA free products. The point is be aware of BPA and look for products and toys that advertise BPA free.
4. Buy non-toxic cleaners: If you don’t feel like making your own green cleaner no problem. There is now a plethora of great non-toxic, chemical free cleaners available at almost every grocery store. Look for brands like Ecos, Mrs. Meyer, and Seventh Generation. BabyGanics products are plant based organic, and chemical free; made specifically for houses with children.
Over the last few years the issues surrounding these harmful chemical have become more publicized forcing manufacturers to provide safe chemical free options that are widely available and affordable. Now you can feel just as good about that plastic toy your baby wont stop chewing on as you can about your super safe car seat.
Do you have any chemical free favorites? Leave a comment below.