When you have a new baby and are living a green, eco-friendly lifestyle, it’s important to reduce your child’s exposure to the enormous amounts of chemicals and toxins in everyday products, food, and even clothing. Finding improvements and alternatives for these 10 sources of toxins is a great way to reduce your baby’s exposure and help save the planet!
BPA has been in the news for quite a while—and for all the wrong reasons. A known carcinogen, BPA is a chemical found in a variety of household items, mainly plastics. Because of the hype, companies are slowly starting to phase BPA out of many of their products, but you still need to be careful about which brands you buy. Plastic baby bottles are one of the most common sources of BPA, so try buying glass or at least BPA-free bottles.
2. Anti-Bacterial Wipes, Hand Sanitizers, and Other Products
Part of your baby getting bigger and stronger involves developing an immune system. Children simply don’t have the immune system of an adult and that’s why they get sick way more often than the average person. The FDA is even starting to crack down on the use of anti-bacterial products. To facilitate the development of your child’s immune system, avoid alcohol-based products like hand sanitizers, wipes, and other products that strip a surface of both good and bad bacteria. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t maintain a clean and sanitary household, but rather use more natural cleaning methods like a diluted vinegar solution or good old fashioned soap and water.
What exactly are phthalates? They’re a family of chemicals used to make increase the pliability of plastics and other synthetic materials. The jury is still out about the potential effects of pthalates, but even the CDC recognizes overexposure as a risk simply because so many everyday products contain some sort of pthalates.. Because phthalates are included in everything from lotions to nail polish, just about everyone gets exposed to them on a daily basis. While you may not be able to eliminate your baby’s exposure to phthalates, you can definitely reduce it. Many baby products like bottles, cups, eating utensils, and other products you use on a daily basis. Read product labels carefully and educate yourself on the best brands to purchase, going organic when possible.
4. Conventional Baby Food
Conventional baby food is designed to have a shelf life of almost three years! If a food can stand on a shelf for three years and not spoil, imagine what kind of chemicals and pesticides must be in it. Organic baby food might sound like a better choice, but because the food is cooked at such a high temperature before sealing it has almost no nutrients. We’re also not totally sure yet if ther’s a real nutritional benefit. You’re better off periodically cooking your baby’s favorite organic fruits and veggies, then mashing them up or blending them for a creamy homemade baby food they’ll definitely love. You can even make large portions and freeze them for instant home-made baby food year round!
5. Synthetic Bedding Ingredients
Who knew where you child sleeps could be a toxic haven!? Between the synthetic mattress, plastic crib, formaldehyde finishes, and synthetic bedding, your child’s crib could have dozens of different toxins. Also remember that as an infant, your child can spend up to 12 hours a day in his/her crib. Fortunately, there are a ton of improvements you can make to your child’s nursery. Invest in a wooden crib and organic cotton bedding. Many times skin conditions like eczema are actually an allergic reaction your child is experiencing from his/her bedding.
6. Shampoos, Conditioners, Lotions, and Other Bathing/Grooming Products
Between changing diapers, alleviating diaper rash, bathing, and applying lotion, your child can use up to half a dozen different products in one day. There’s a reason Johnson & Johnson went out of its way to remove formaldehyde from its baby shampoo. Often these products are loaded with synthetic ingredients and other toxins that can cause irritation, allergies, and long-term effects. Skip the synthetics and opt for natural and even homemade cleansers and lotions.
7. Flame Retardant Clothing
Flame retardant clothing was once thought to be an advantageous quality for children’s clothing. But we’re now learning the chemicals involved may be more harmful than helpful. Children’s clothing also employs all sorts of dyes, fabric softeners, and pesticides. Opt for clothing made out of organic cotton that won’t irritate your baby’s skin. Remember that the main chemicals in flame retardant clothing (PBDE) also lurk in other areas of your home such as carpets,mattresses, linens, and other common household items. Conduct your own research to find organic and toxin-free replacements.
Diapers use lots of fragrances. The exterior to a diaper is also coated with a plastic lining that could contain BPA. Finally, diapers contain dioxin, a carcinogen that while usually is in food, is also in infant diapers. Some of these ingredients have been linked to skin irritation and even asthma. Instead of conventional diapers, conduct some research and find a product that uses organic cotton and is free of synthetic ingredients.
9. Mineral Oil
I know everyone used to think baby oil was good for babies, but there’s actually nothing pleasant about mineral oil. It’s a petroleum based product and loaded with fragrances that could cause irritation. A study linked chronic exposure to petroleum and crude oil based products like mineral oil to certain cancers. There are a variety of other oils you can use to condition your baby’s skin that are natural and much cheaper. Coconut oil is great for lots of babies!
10. Plastic Toys
Toys often use lots of toxic glue to keep the parts intact. Stuffed animals can also be made out of synthetic ingredients and be a land mine for dust, allergies, lice, and other pathogens. They’re also loaded with a bunch of chemicals that have a known carcinogenic impact. Try buying toys that have been constructed out of wood and haven’t been treated with any stains or dyes.
It might seem like you’re walking on egg shells when finding the right diapers, toys, clothing, and other products for your baby. But with a little research you’ll find everything you need! What are some of your favorite toxin-free products for you and your child?
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