Chemical burdens in our homes is an issue coming more and more to the forefront of news every day, yet more information comes to light about the threats posed by so many chemicals in our everyday products, from baby bottles to nursery furniture.
A while back I wrote about Nursery Madness and the huge amounts of money we put out on new furniture. As eco-minded parents and financially thoughtful, best to go with second hand furniture or even co-sleeping options.
This recently took on a new twist.
Many people are unaware of the problem of off-gassing associated with new furniture today – much of the glues, varnishes and fire retardant treatments can pose a risk to our health by slowly releasing toxic fumes into our homes.
Environment California recently issued a new report on its findings concerning high levels of formaldehyde in baby furniture, beds & changing tables.
Formaldehyde is a common component of furniture glues, paints, fire retardants and fabric and clothing treatments; classified as a toxic chemical it is linked with allergies and asthma; in California it is also classed as a known human carcinogen.
So what to do?
- This being my favorite tip, Go Second Hand! This can significantly reduce the amount of chemicals being off-gassed still.
- For new furniture look for solid wood furniture with natural finishes like linseed, composite wood poses the biggest problem as the glue content is very high.
- Ventilate all your rooms well even in winter. Do not overheat!
- Keep toxin absorbing plants throughout your home, such as Boston fern, spider plants (to be found everywhere in Israel) and peace lillies – by the way this is courtesy of NASA.
- Do not buy fabrics with “easy-care” treatments and for bedding and clothing go organic!
All acceptable levels of toxins in our homes are based on data for adults, but babies and children are far more susceptible to these chemicals, so having a pretty new nursery does not always mean a healthy one.