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Katy Farber's picture

Addy in purple hatWhat's more important than keeping baby safe? Not much!

Last week during our #EcoTipTue Tweet Chat we discussed how to have a toxin free baby with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families; Earth Mama Angel Baby, and many great participants.  Here are some of the resources that were shared and discussed

1. Avoid antibacterial soap made with triclosan), which has been linked to fertility problems and learning disabilities, according to our friends at Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Other concerns about these soaps is that they can lead to antibiotic resistance and lower immune system functioning.  Here's a great graphic for use with convincing unbelieving spouses, in-laws, or sharing with schools.

2.  Find a baby lotion that doesn't have these ingredients from a company you trust. Many companies are moving away from harmful ingredients in light of recent announcements by Walmart and Target about striving for transparency and sustainability. But remember-- all companies have not made the switch. Go for products with just a few ingredients-- all of which you recognize. You can also check the EWG's skin deep database to check your how your favorite products are for toxins and safety. This mobile app is super helpful for in store decisions.

3.  Use a BPA free bottle for feeding baby breast milk or formula. There are many BPA free bottles available now-- but because of our broken chemical laws, it's replacement may not be that much safer.  Try glass bottles. I used these and had no trouble with breakage or safety.

4. Use non-toxic or homemade cleaners. Babies and toddlers spend so much time on the floor and at home that keeping the air clean for little lungs and developing bodies is very important. Here are some great recipes (and videos!) from Women's Voices for the Earth. 

5.  Wash baby clothes before putting them on your baby. Greenpeace just released a report about chemicals found in many popular baby clothing lines. While we don't know yet if these chemicals pose a serious health risk, we do know that every exposure is cumulative, and that workers and local communities are in harm's way with the manufacture and use of them. See just what chemicals and what some companies are doing about it here.

6.  Consider buying nursing pillows and chairs that do not have flame retardant chemicals. These have been covered recently in investigative reports and extensively by the Green Policy Institute and have been linked to a dubious approval process funded by the industry and linked to many health problems including (according to the NRDC):

" Children exposed in the womb have lower IQs and attention problems. Other studies have linked flame retardants to cancer, male infertility, male birth defects, and early puberty in girls. A recent study in animals has linked toxic flame retardants to autism and obesity."

Ask at the store if products contain chemical flame retardants or if there are other options.

7.  Consider buying a safer, non-toxic  crib mattress. The above linked Tribune investigative report found harmful chemicals in conventional crib mattresses. In fact, an article in the Washington Post from 2008 outlined some of the potential risks to adults:

“A 2006 Consumer Product Safety Commission study estimated that the average adult sleeping on a conventional mattress will be exposed to 0.802 milligrams of antimony and 0.081 milligrams of boric acid — which is commonly used to kill cockroaches — every night. The report deems these amounts safe for those older than 5, but numerous studies have linked both substances to a host of adverse health effects at various doses, and the cumulative effect of daily exposure is unknown.”

There are several safer options-- here's one in my house. 

8. Most importantly-- become an advocate for changing our broken chemical laws. Parents shouldn't have to be detectives to find safe products.  Join us in asking our leaders to pass strong and meaningful chemical reform to better protect children and families.

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