When you are putting your nursery together, one of the first things you think about is safety. You’ll make sure your crib meets current safety standards, that any paints used are lead-free, that the outlets are covered and any sharp edged furniture removed.
But you should also give careful thought to less obvious dangers. You would never leave open bottles of chemicals in your baby’s room, but many of those dangerous chemicals are already present - in your baby’s clothes and bedding.
Dangers of Additives
As synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester became more popular in the last century, so did the process of chemically treating the fabric to make it softer, harder to wrinkle, or even flame retardant. While those are all worthy goals, unfortunately, the way that manufacturers do this is by baking chemicals right into the fibers of your baby’s shirt or sheets.
Chemicals used in the manufacturing synthetic cloth and clothes include perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) that the EPA actually considers to be “cancer causing” and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that continue to emit dangerous gasses even after the manufacturing process is long over. Flame retardant clothing has actually been shown to emit formaldehyde gas for years after it leaves the factory and is sold in stores.
Benefits of an Organic Baby
PFCs and VOCs may be found in your baby’s clothes, bedding, even the soft fabric toys that she loves to gum on. Luckily, you have another option by purchasing organic!
Organic clothing is now cheaper than ever and can be just as bright and beautiful as artificial dyes. Natural fibers such as cotton, linen and wool are better quality than synthetics and come with a variety of other benefits:
- Better on a baby’s sensitive skin.
- Breathes better and naturally wicks excess moisture away
- Fashion forward styles and longer lasting construction.
- Lesser impact on the environment as a whole since you’ll know chemicals weren’t used - and dumped - in the process of making any part of your baby’s room or clothing.
Be careful though! Some products that claim to be organic, especially items like waterproof pads, may only mean that the cover touching the baby’s skin is cotton or wool. What you discover in the fine print is that the waterproof backing is actually polyester, one of the most chemically packed synthetic fabrics out there.