Seek Out Safer Toys
BPA, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, bromine, PVC, and phthalates are just a few of my not so favorite things. PVC and phthalates are just some of the hazardous materials present in some plastic or painted toys, costume jewelry, books with plastic covers, and many other playthings. These will enter your child's mouth at one point or another. Let's face it-kids stick everything in their mouths.
To minimize the risk of these toxins entering your child's body Greene advises using teethers and toys make from cloth, plush, or unpainted wood. On plastic toys check for the recycling number: #1,2,4, and 5 are the safest, #3,6 and 7 are not advised. if you are unsure skip the item entirely or try to find specif details on the toy.
Beware of BPA
By now, most of you have heard of bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen used to harden plastic that has been associated with a plethora of disorders including chromosomal disorders,reproductive abnormalities, behavioral problems, and cancer. Once a common ingredient in the manufacture of baby bottles, most companies have phased it out in response to public pressure and demands, but it still lingers in unsuspecting places like liquid formula cans.
In June 2012, the (FDA) Food and Drug Administration made plans to ban BPA from infant formula packaging altogether. I would still be cautious an use powdered formula (or breast feed-your choice) and look for bottles, sippy cups, and other feeding products labeled "BPA Free."
High levels of BPA have been found in as many as 40% of store receipts from major chains including McDonalds (not a shocker), Walmart (not overly surprised) and Whole Foods (wha? Whole Foods, really?). To avoid exposure say No Thanks to a receipt or wash hands thoroughly after handling
Use Filtered Water
Tap water can contain contaminants, including lead, PCBs, radon, pesticides, and parasites. The Enviromental Working Group (EWG) says water utility tests have confirmed 315 contaminants in American Tap Water-more than 50% of which are not subjected to health regulations and can be legally present in any amount.
Rather be safe then sorry? Use filtered tap water for drinking, cooking, and mixing up formula because bottles water isn't necessarily any better then unfiltered tap water. A simple and inexpensive carbon filter (like a Brita Pitcher) can be very effective in removing some (not all) sketchy stuff. Other options include faucet mounted filter systems, under sink devices and well as much pricier whole house or point of entry systems. To learn more about your water quality and pick a filter based on the impurities in your region please visit EWG's Guide to Buying Water Filters.
Well, that's the end of our 3 Part series on "How to Green your Home for Optimal Health in your Little Ones". Do your part- even if it is small. One person can make a difference. Remeber it's not easy being green.