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What’s Lurking in Your Baby’s Crib?Posted on 02/01/2011 by
The level of toxic chemicals in baby furnishings is shocking. Know the facts and what to look for before you shop. It doesn’t have to be hard to combine “green” and stylish.
Brace yourself. In Toxic Baby Furniture: The Latest Case for Making Products Safe from the Start, the Environment California Research & Policy Center determined that formaldehyde emissions from common nursery furnishings significantly contribute to indoor air pollution. Formaldehyde! Yup, that same disgusting stuff they kept the dead frogs in in high school biology class. Chronic exposure at high levels in indoor air is linked with an increased likelihood of respiratory problems, allergic sensitization and asthma in children. Long-term exposure can cause cancer.
Now before you look at this and say, “Oh ya, just another tree-hugger spouting inaccurate information,” let me site a couple of articles for you:
“Factory workers exposed to high levels of formaldehyde were more likely to die of cancers of the blood and lymphatic system than workers with low-level exposures....” The New York Times, May 12, 2009
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has started testing FEMA trailers for formaldehyde levels after residents complained about respiratory illnesses, nosebleeds and headaches.” National Public Radio, October 31, 2007
Sadly, most cribs on the market today are made of engineered woods like MDF and particleboard that contain formaldehyde and VOC-laden finishes (VOC is short for Volatile Organic Compounds, gases emitted from things like paint, varnishes and pesticides, that cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system).
Newborns typically spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping. Shopping for a safe crib is essential.
What Should You Look For?
There was a time when it wasn’t easy being green, but that’s no longer true. Eco-friendly cribs can be found online and in major stores. When shopping for a crib, look for one that’s:
- Made of solid hardwood like maple
- Finished with non-toxic finishes
- Held together with non-toxic glues
When possible, look for furniture that’s been GreenGuard certified, meaning it’s met stringent low-emissions standards set by the GreenGuard™ Environmental Institute (GEI).
Styles to Meet Every Taste
Green doesn’t have to mean ugly unfinished wood swimming in beige. And you don’t have to look like you’re raising your baby on a commune either. Today’s eco-friendly cribs come in a wide variety of styles to suit every taste and budget:
source: Kalon Studios
source: Spot On Square
source: Q Collection
source: Land of Nod
source: Pacific Rim Woodworking
Whether you decide to go “Dark Green” and make dramatic changes to your home, go “Light Green” with small changes, or try something in between, there’s no better place to start than with your baby’s first home.
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