Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Toxins Found in Crib Mattresses

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Toxins Found in Crib Mattresses

Good evening and happy Wednesday! After Matt and I decided on which crib we were going to buy, our goal was to find a safe, nontoxic, and organic crib mattress with as little material as possible (an organic mattress does not mean it is non toxic). In a typical crib mattress, toxic chemicals may be added to the filling of the mattress to make it firm, and on the mattress to make it flame retardant and water proof.

Toxins Found in Crib Mattresses:

1. Mattress Filling

Many typical crib mattresses are filled with polyurethane foam to make the mattress firm. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there is no level of safe exposure to polyurethane; and exposure to it may cause asthma, endocrine disruptions, lung damage, skin and eye irritation, and allergies to isocyanates. It is important to know that polyurethane filling may also contain other toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde.

Also, polyurethane filling is highly flammable.

2. Flame Retardants

Flame retardants are added to crib mattresses to prevent the risk of fire. According to the United States Enviornmental Protection Agency, flame retardants may cause reduced IQ, cancer, learning disabilities, thyroid disruption and reduced fertility.

3. Water Proofing

Polyvinyl chloride is added to crib mattresses to make it water proof. According to Tox Town, polyvinyl chloride may be harmful to the reproductive system and respiratory system; cause endocrine disruptions; and cause cancer.

We chose to purchase a crib mattress that was not waterproof (instead, we use organic cotton mattress pads) and consisted of only three materials: organic wool (because it is a natural flame retardant), organic cotton, and 15.5 gauge 260 unoiled steel coils/intersprings with a 6 gauge border rod (because I was confident that the quality of the intersprings would create the firmness that I was looking for). If you choose a mattress consisting of these materials, you should ask the suppliers the following questions:

1. Are the sheep sprayed with any pesticides? If the mattress is made from wool that was cut from sheep that were sprayed with pesticides, the wool is going to be toxic whether or not it is organic.

2. Is the cotton sprayed with any pesticides? Organic or inorganic cotton that is sprayed with pesticides is toxic.

3. How many coils does the mattress have? Are they oiled? What material are they made from? How thick is the gauge of the coils? The firmness of the mattress will depend on the thickness of the coils, how many coils are in the mattress, and the material that the coils are made from. I wanted the coils to be unoiled (to avoid any toxic oils) and to be made from steel (because steel is a good quality metal). I wanted the thickness of the gauge to be 15.5 or less; the lower the number, the thicker the coils are. I also wanted a mattress with a lot of coils, so I chose one that had 250.

This is all of the information that I have learned from researching what toxins are found in crib mattresses and how these toxins impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development. I hope that this information was insightful and will help you find a crib mattress that works best for your family.

I hope that you have a happy day!

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

Good morning and happy Saturday =D

When I found out that I was almost 3 months pregnant with my son in July 2015, I drastically changed my lifestyle after researching the impacts that environmental toxins could have on a developing fetus. Then, as his arrival was rapidly approaching, my research transitioned from learning about how toxins impact a developing fetus to how toxins impact a baby. I extended my research to products such as cribs, crib mattresses, bassinets, bassinet mattresses, diapers, wood toys, plastic toys, teethers, baby food, formula, cookware, etc. It was astonishing to learn that every item that I researched had commonly used brands that contained added toxins; too much to cover in one blog post. The purpose of this post is to share research on the toxins found in wooden baby products and how these toxins could impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development.

Wood is used to make many baby products; most often it is used to make cribs, teethers, and toys. The type of wood and how it is treated will determine whether the products are toxic. I recommend calling companies to ask the following questions to inquire about specific items:

1. Are your [cribs/teethers/toys] made from certified sustainable wood or hardwood; or pressed or engineered wood?

  • It is important that [cribs/teethers/toys] are made of certified sustainable wood or hardwood. If you see that the wood is pressed or engineered (i.e. fiberboard or plywood), it most likely contains formaldehyde as a bonding agent.

2. Do you sell wood that is unfinished; or are they finished and if so, with what? Does the finishing contain VOC’s, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane?

  • Ideally, [cribs, teethers/toys] should be purchased unfinished.
  • Most finishes contain Volatile Organic Compounds’ (VOC’s).
  • Some finishes contain lead. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, children who have exposure to lead could develop the following complications:
    • ataxia, coma, convulsions, death, hyper irritability, stupor, neurological effects, decrement in IQ performance, ADHD, and hearing impairment.
    • The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry also states that lead could impact the developing fetus because it crosses the placenta and as a result could negatively impact the fetus’ viability, fetal development, and early childhood development.
    • In addition, lead could also cause renal, hematological, endocrine, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and reproductive damage.
  • Some finishes also contain phthalates.
    • According to Tox Town, phthalates may cause cancer. The may also be endocrine disrupters and could cause harm to the human reproductive system.
  • Some finishes also contain polyurethane.

3. What do you use to bind the parts of the [crib/teethers/toys] ? Does the bind contain formaldehyde?

4. Does any part of the [crib/teethers/toys] contain formaldehyde, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane? 

This is all of the information that I have learned from researching what toxins are found in wooden baby products and how these toxins impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development. I hope that this information was insightful and will help you find wooden baby products that work best for your family.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy day =D

Limiting Exposure to Toxins Found in Plastic and Cans

Good morning everyone and happy Sunday! In this post, I will share all of the information that I have learned about the toxins that are found in plastic and cans. I provided links that will direct you to the Center of Disease Control, WebMD, and Livestrong. I hope this post is helpful =D

Plastic

What are the toxins found in plastic?

  • Phthalates

http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/phthalates_factsheet.html

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/cookware-plastics-shoppers-guide-to-food-safety?page=1

  • Benzene

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/basics/facts.asp

http://www.livestrong.com/article/101892-harmful-effects-benzene/

  • Styrene

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/PHS/PHS.asp?id=419&tid=74

  • Bisphenol A

http://www.webmd.com/children/environmental-exposure-head2toe/bpa?page=1

http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/BisphenolA_FactSheet.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/478451-disposable-food-containers-cancer-risk/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/255205-plastic-everywhere-side-effects/

Vinyl Chloride

http://www.livestrong.com/article/530191-clear-plastic-wrap-food-safety/

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=281&tid=51

There are seven types of plastic that we come into contact with. If you look on the bottom of any water bottle, you will notice the number 1 (which is toxic) engraved into it. If you look at the bottom of a gallon of milk, you will notice the number 2 (which is safe) engraved into it.  Here are two links that will explain each type of plastic.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/158674-which-plastic-containers-can-i-safely-use/

http://blogs.webmd.com/health-ehome/2009/02/know-your-plastics.html

Cans

What toxins are found in cans?

  • Bisphenol A

http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/BisphenolA_FactSheet.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/259503-the-disadvantages-of-aluminum-cans/

http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1009710-12-dangerous-chemicals-avoid-everyday-products/#slide=2

What have I done to limit my exposure to toxins found in plastic and cans?

To avoid exposure to toxins, I discontinued eating food that is stored in cans and I limit my exposure to plastic. I try to only drink out of glass bottles, and I store food in glass containers.

I hope this post was helpful! I hope you have a happy Sunday =D

Week 8: The Decision to Change My Lifestyle =D

Good afternoon and happy Friday =D This post is about the hours following my appointment.  I hope that you enjoy =D

I had to be gone for about 2 hours before arriving home to my apartment where my partner was awaiting my return. I will never forgot the big smile on his face when he greeted me at the door. We both smiled at each other for a few seconds, and then I said, “I’m pregnant.” The upcoming hours after telling him was a very happy and loving experience that I will never forget. We spent the entire day planning the next steps in our lives.  There is so much to look forward to =D

For about the last year, Matt and I have been doing extensive research on which environmental factors are toxic to our bodies. Personally, I started this research when I was diagnosed with Phyllodes Tumors of the breast in July 2014. Once we found out I was pregnant, we made drastic changes to both of out lifestyles. I just want to reinforce that there are no right or wrong lifestyle choices during pregnancy; my lifestyle choices are not the right way, rather they are the ones that work best for me. I want to share my lifestyle choices with you and the reasonings behind my choices. =D

In a matter of hours, the following was decided:

  1. To throw away all of our plastic tupperware and to not to drink from plastic bottles
  2. To throw away all of our nonstick pans
  3. To only have Matt clean the litter box
  4. To discontinue the use of toxic cleaning supplies
  5. To try to eat organically
  6. To discontinue eating products from cans
  7. To avoid food additives

My next few posts will explain why each of these choices were made and what we did to accommodate these changes. I hope that you find them helpful! <3

Safe Pregnancy Workouts

Good evening and happy Saturday! July 3rd was the day that I found out I was pregnant =D, and it was the day that I decided that my workout regime had to drastically change. My doctor told me to continue working out, just to avoid using weights. I want to share the steps that I took to design a pregnancy workout regime that works for me.

The first thing I did was research what material my yoga mat was made up of. When discovering it was made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), I decided to discontinue using it. PVC had been found to contain highly toxic material consisting of toxic metals and phthalates that leaches out of the mat and can cause damage to your body. For more information on PVC, please visit:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/456023-pvc-yoga-mat-safety/

I then researched the material that my weights were made up of.  I had been using vinyl weights for a few years, only to discover they they also contain PVC. For this reason, I decided to discontinue using these weights along with my yoga mat.

Since starting my pregnancy workout regime, I have been using a cotton towel to replace my yoga mat. I have not yet found nontoxic weights, but I did find a company that makes nontoxic eco-friendly yoga mats.

https://www.my-airex.com/en/

One day when I have expendable money, I will purchase one of these mats: until then, it’s the cotton towel for me =D

Now that I knew I was comfortable with my workout equipment (or lack of), I decided to research which workouts are safe to complete during pregnancy. After much inquiry, I have decided to:

  • Avoid working out while lying on my back as it may reduce blood flow to my uterus
  • As soon as I find nontoxic weights, I plan on toning my arms with three pound weights; the recommendation is to stay under 10 pounds
  • Avoid workouts that cause me to become out of breath and cause my heart to beat too fast–this may restrict blood flow to my uterus as well
  • Avoid any type of ab workout

I will be sharing my safe pregnancy workout clips with you soon! =D