Tiny babies sleep for 14-18 hours per day and their brain development is so rapid that 70% of adult brain growth is achieved by age two. Not only are babies busy developing in extraordinary ways, but during their earliest years they are also exceptionally vulnerable to toxins in their environment. Since World War II at least 75,000 new synthetic chemical compounds have been developed and released into the environment; fewer than half of these have been tested for the potential toxicity to humans, and still less have been assessed for their particular toxicity to children. It only seems logical that the precautionary principle should be the guiding factor when renovating or decorating a nursery. “When an activity raises the threat of harm to human health or the environment precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically”
It is our belief that products that are harmful to humans, animals, and the environment should not be used in our projects, and to that end, we seek to inform our clients of available alternatives so as to permit them to make informed decisions.
“People make sophisticated choices every time they go grocery shopping. Or buy baby bottles or toys”, Syrett told the New York Times. “There’s no reason it can’t be the same with building products.”
Most people choose to have carpet in their bedrooms. This is understandable because carpets offer comfort and warmth, especially in cold winter months. However, they also tend to be a source of indoor air pollution as they out gas toxic VOCs (mostly contained in their synthetic backing). Natural wool carpets are a great option for the following reasons. First, wool is anti-allergenic. It does not promote the growth of bacteria or dust mites. Second, it is easily maintained as it is naturally soil and stain resistant. An alternative to carpet is cork flooring. It is warm, sustainable, non toxic, and offers a design element that carpeting does not. It also impact resistant making it a great floor for playroom and children’s rooms. It comes in a variety of colors and tiles sizes so it is up to you or your designer to create a unique floor.
Remember to choose a zero VOC paint (volatile organic compounds). The chemical compounds found in regular paints linger in the air and can become lung, skin, eye irritants. The air quality in your home is can be compromised by off gassing from paint for years. Another healthy option is to use an earth plaster (like American Clay) – a blend of natural clay, recycled aggregates, and mineral pigments that is mixed with water. Once applied, clay emits negative ions that will work as an air filter (fighting off mold growth), and neutralize the effect of electromagnetic field created by computers and TVs. Clay is a durable and long lasting way to not only keep your air clean, but create an warm and comfortable atmosphere for your home.
Typical inexpensive crib mattresses as well as bassinet and cradle mattresses are usually made from polyurethane foam with a vinyl (PVC) covering. These materials are simply too potentially toxic for babies and definitely not worth taking the risk. All Mattresses Contain Fire Retardant Materials Unless Otherwise Prescribed by a DoctorOne category of common household chemicals that has raised unambiguous red flags is chemical flame retardants, required by law in synthetic foam mattresses. One type, PBDEs, has recently been banned in eight states, with four more considering a ban. Yet most families use mattresses for many years. Crib mattresses, especially, are often handed down. In recent years, new flame retardant chemicals have been formulated to allow synthetic mattresses to meet federal flame retardancy requirements. The problem is, they have not been in use long, and growing numbers of scientists believe they have not been studied adequately for safety. The safer option is to purchase an all natural crib mattress that ‘s flame retardant is a natural wool wrap, rather than relying on “safe” chemicals.
As parents our only desire is to provide a healthy, safe and secure environment for our children. We may not be able to provide a 100% chemical free environment, however, with a little care, a lot of reading labels and an awareness of what we are putting into children’s spaces, we can offer them a healthier future.