It’s important that the furniture we use in our nursery be as safe as possible. The government watches baby products for safety, but not the toxic chemicals used inside. It’s up to us as consumers to make sure our kids are safe. Here are some of the most common toxins in baby furniture and how you can avoid them.
1. Flame retardants are a unique category of toxins. They were originally designed to keep soft materials from catching fire, but the chemicals used are especially unsafe. They have been linked to hormone disruption, infertility, cancer, and other serious health issues. Here are some of the most common flame retardants:
- Firemaster 550 – linked to hormone disruption and obesity.
- TDCPP – known to cause cancer, genetic damage, damage to embryos, hormone disruption and infertility.
- TCPP – linked to genetic damage and changes to a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- Butylated Triphenyl Phosphate – decreased fertility and disruption to women’s hormones.
2. Lead paint was a used often in the 1970s. You won’t find lead-based paints used on anything you purchased in the last thirty years, but you might find it on any heirloom pieces of furniture that have been handed down through your family (cribs, rocking horses, etc.). Lead can cause development issues, like troubling learning to read, hyperactivity, hearing loss, and delayed growth. If you have an item with lead paint, discard it or have it professionally stripped.
3. Formaldehyde is the most common toxic chemical in baby furniture. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a carcinogen. You’ll find it in many of the products in your nursery, including cribs, changing tables, night tables and dressers. Anything made with composite wood (plywood) was likely manufactured with formaldehyde. Minimal exposure can cause irritation to the eyes, throat, and skin.
4. Phthalates are used to soften plastics so it can be molded. They are used in just about every plastic product. You’ll find them in portable bassinets, baby loungers, and any product with vinyl. Phthalates cause damage to reproductive and endocrine systems.
How can you avoid these chemicals?
Choose products made with certified-sustainable materials and natural woods like rattan, willow or bamboo. Look for furniture that specifically says “formaldehyde-free.” If you have to use furniture with any of these materials, make sure that it has had plenty of time to air out before placing your baby in or around them. Definitely avoid foam pads.
Look for mattresses that meet the Global Organic Textile Standards (like Cutie Bees clothes!), which certifies that the fabrics aren’t made with toxins.
Pick rugs made without chemical dyes and flame retardants. Seek rugs and carpet made from organic wool, cotton or hemp, and natural fibers like sisal, jute, coir, and sea grass.
Choose furniture whose fabric is made from organic and natural materials, uses low-impact dyes, and filled with non-toxic padding. Make sure any claims of “organic” is backed up with their certification. Natural fibers like silk, linen and hemp are good choices.
Finally, choose products that are made with non-toxic finishes, paints, and seals. Some healthy choices for furniture paint are beeswax, water-based stains, and natural oils like tung oil.
The best piece of advice I can give is to do your research for each piece of furniture that will spend a lot of time near your child. If you can’t find information on that specific product, don’t use it in the nursery.
Have you ever used a product in your nursery that you later learned wasn’t safe? Tell us your experiences.
Guest Blog by Pooja Songar, Founder of Cutie Bees
Pooja Songar is a mom of 2 kids, ages 4 and 2 years, an IT professional (an Engineer) who has worked for Fortune 11 companies. After her first child struggled with skin rashes and eczema, Pooja learned about the issue of chemicals in baby clothing and their harmful health effects. Since then she has become an advocate for non-toxic living and is the inventor of the trendy, non-toxic baby clothing line, Cutie Bees.
Cutie Bees chic wardrobe ensembles are for little ladies and gentlemen on the go, whose outfits reflect not only their personalities, sense of fun but also mom’s sense of style. Visit http://www.cutiebees.com.
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