The Healthy Nursery
Many new parents break the bank decorating the baby's nursery. They paint, put in new carpet and buy a crib with a brand new mattress made of foam or other synthetic materials. But sometimes these well-meaning deeds end up putting your baby in contact with products that can cause chemical sensitivities.
Marla Anderson* purchased a new foam mattress for her baby's crib, but ended up discarding the thing after her daughter's first night home. The little baby girl spent her first night in the crib, tossing and turning until dawn. Marla did some research on her PC and found that a foam mattress can give off gasses that may have a toxic effect on the baby's nerves. The new mother realized that her baby's restlessness was caused by an agitation of her central nervous system.
But exposure to toxic fumes doesn't necessarily begin with you bringing the baby home. Mothers who paint the nursery during their pregnancies can also expose their developing fetuses to poisonous gasses. The baby gets a double-dose: first while still ensconced in utero, as the expectant mother dons her painter's cap, and then after the birth, when the baby spends hours in a room coated in toxic color.
But there are ways and means to avoid the hazards of paint fumes. Expectant parents concerned about toxic exposure should look for non-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, carpets produced from natural fibers, and organic crib sheets. These items ensure you limit your baby's exposure to products that might cause a disruption of his central nervous system.
If you live in an older home, you should check to make sure the walls haven't been painted with lead-containing paint. This type of paint was taken off the market in 1978, but any home built prior to this time should be investigated for this potential danger. Old carpeting also presents issues. Carpets can harbor mildew, mold, mites, and VOC's. Better to rip up that cozy-looking carpet and put in untreated hardwood floors or flooring that has been treated with a low-VOC, water-based finish. If you feel you can't do without carpeting in the nursery, get untreated carpeting that has a backing of jute or natural latex.
A great deal of modern furniture is manufactured from pressboard. This type of wood should be avoided because the glue that is used in its manufacture gives off formaldehyde gasses for as long as the piece lasts. It's better to shoot for real wood, and you may just find real wood furniture bargains at neighborhood yard sales.
*Name has been changed