I’m reading a wonderful book for creating a safe, “green” home, “Healthy Child Healthy World” published by a national non-profit by the same name. This excerpt, written by actress Laura Dern, is long but worth reading:
Once Upon a Mattress
“We hear the news that we’re having a baby and we want to be really healthy and careful. So we eat organically, avoid mercury in fish, don’t drink, don’t smoke: we don’t use hair color or paint our nails. We spend all this energy and time creating a really healthy environment – and then we totally switch gears. We stop thinking about health and somehow lead ourselves to believe that the most important thing for the baby when it comes home from the hospital is… a pretty room…. And so we choose the coolest crib design, instead of the safest or healthiest crib. We pick the absolute cutest linens, even if they’re covered in flame-retarants and other chemicals (never mind that baby can hardly see at first). Unwittingly we put loads of toxic chemicals into the room as we strive to make it look right.
But think about it: A newborn baby is spending something like sixteen hours a day asleep. And that newborn baby’s face is pressed against that space, breathing in what is probably a fresh-off-the-conveyer-belt mattress whose off-gassing is at its height. On top of that you put a bleached, chemically treated cotton sheet that’s newly dyed – oh, but it’s really cute! – and perhaps not even washed first, or washed in a conventional detergent that’s high in chemicals. Then ther’s the crib itself, which is often made of partical board, and which continues to off-gas for a long time. Unbeknown to you, you’ve created an environment with risks when all you wanted to do was make your baby happy and safe. But it looks good. Even though the kid is not going to enjoy it for the first two years of his life.
Most of us do it because nobody told us not to….”
The article goes on, but I’m sure you get the gist. And, to confess, I’m guilty of exactly what Laura Dern describes. I read and make careful choices about my pregnancy to give my children a healthy start, but I placed them on conventional, vinyl-topped mattresses and used cheap, chemically dyed and treated bedding without a clue.
Laura’s right, nobody told met not to. I would have listened. That’s why I’m telling you.