I rarely get the opportunity to answer Organic Mom questions for family members, but my daughters cousin is soon-to-be born so I have had the pleasure lately. Its tough to try to list what is most important to least important if you know that someone is only going to heed a few suggestions at best. But I have been trying.
I tend to hit the buy-an-organic-crib-mattress-that-isnt-wrapped-in-vinyl message pretty hard whenever someone asks what to do when setting up a nursery. And I mention that cribs should be hardwood, not particleboard, so it wont have high levels of toxic formaldehyde. When I was setting up my daughters sleeping space, we absolutely bought a good mattress (from daxstores.com) and borrowed a crib from my Complete Organic Pregnancy co-author/friend Deirdre. The crib had belonged to her niece and I dont think it was entirely hardwood but it had been around for a considerable period of time, and so I felt it was amply offgassed. We were very committed (before the baby was even born) to having a family bed so I knew she wouldnt be spending as much time in the crib as most babies. As it turned out she never spent any time in it, but thats a whole other post. The crib moved on nine months later when Deirdres first daughter was born, and we still have the mattress. Her stuffed animals sleep on it, on the floor next to her twin.
If I were to buy a crib, I would absolutely spend the cash to get something from Q Collection Junior, which is not only gorgeous but very safe. The company says theyre the worlds first indoor air quality certified cribs. Theyre GreenGuard certified, made entirely in the USA, of FSC-certified hardwood (locally-sourced solid ash), with a mattress support of 100% recycled formaldehyde-free plywood, and coated with low VOC, water-based finish. We mention the grown up furniture in The Complete Organic Pregnancy. Since then, the co-founder/CEO, Jesse Johnson, has had a baby and, naturally, spawned a baby line.
Its a crucial read, the sort of thing Ill be sharing with anyone in the market for a crib, my family members and otherwise. The executive summary states: Furnishings containing formaldehyde -- a toxic chemical linked with allergies, asthma, and cancer -- can contaminate indoor air within California homes. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to harm.
Environment California purchased 21 products intended for use in a nursery and hired a professional lab to test them. Six of the products produced high levels of formaldehyde vapor. In particular, several brands of cribs and changing tables emit formaldehyde at levels linked with increased risk of developing allergies or asthma. Theyre calling on the state of California to adopt a new approach to chemical regulation, encouraging manufacturers to design products that are safe from the start. Heres hoping Cali listens, complies, and then sets the ball rolling for the rest of the country.
Clicking on the link is a must for anyone in the market, not only for worst product information, but also for ideas on how to reduce kids exposure to formaldehyde which California and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classify as a known human carcinogen.
Still, I cant help but put some of the nitty-gritty details here:
This part really got to me: Under Proposition 65, California has determined that exposure to formaldehyde at 40 micrograms per day (equivalent to an indoor concentration of about 2 ppb) results in a 1 in 100,000 lifetime risk of cancer. Individually, the Child Craft Oak Crib, the Bridget 4-in-1 Crib, the Kayla II Changing Table, the Berkley Changing Table, the Country Style Changing Table, and the Rochester Cognac Crib each contain enough formaldehyde to contaminate an entire home with levels of formaldehyde greater than this threshold.
Yet another reminder of how important it is to shop wisely for any new products, especially baby-room furniture, youre bringing into your home.
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