When you have a baby on the way, thinking about school or daycare can seem like a long time away! But it will be here before you know it, so it’s never to soon to start shopping around for healthier environments for your new baby. Most moms have no idea that of the 80,000 chemicals in our products today that only 200 have ever been tested for safety by anyone! Many of the chemicals that are being testing are being linked to asthma, allergies, premature puberty and cancer in children…conditions that we are seeing rising quickly in children today.
Here’s what to look for or how to create a healthier, safer environment.
1. ASK ABOUT CLEANING PRODUCTS
In a recent study by the Environmental Working Group, the average school air contains 38 contaminants. Many are linked to asthma, allergies, even hormone-disruption. Looking for a school that cleans with certified green cleaners can reduce these toxic chemicals by 1/6 of the amount or more. If your school or nursery doesn’t already use green cleaners, meet with the director and speak to them about switching or consider being a certified Healthy Green School.
2. NON-TOXIC BABY CARE ITEMS
Baby wipes and other “personal care items” such as soaps and sanitizers can contain chemicals and toxins that are potentially harmful to baby. Ask the school if they have considered non-toxic options for these products or bring your own non-toxic baby wipes.
3. USE SAFE BOTTLES AND SIPPIES
When sending your little one with drinks to school, opt for safe containers. Even “BPA free” bottles and sippies have been shown to contain endocrine disruptors (hormone disruptors) as companies switch from BPA to other potentially toxic chemicals. In fact, 70% of BPA free plastics tested in a study were shown to contain endocrine disruptors. Instead going crazy trying to keep up with the toxic treadmill by looking to avoid BPA or another chemical specifically, look for safer choices instead. Opt for glass if they will allow. If not try stainless steel or plastics #2, #4 and #5 in the triangle at the bottom. These are safer choices.
4. PACK SAFELY
When packing all of baby’s items for the day, opt for PVC-free bags. PVC relies heavily on toxic chemicals like lead and phthalates, which should be avoided. Look for canvas, nylon or other more natural fabrics. There are a lot of great cloth options to avoid plastic baggies and plastic wrap.
5. LOOK FOR GREEN INITIATIVES
As the green movement grows, more schools and daycares are becoming aware that green initiatives are important and directly impact the health of their students. The Environmental Working Group found that “green schools” had fewer absences, and another study found that “green technology could ” lower …cold and influenza by 9% to 20%, and allergies and asthma drop by 8% to 25%. (Indoor Environment Department at the Lawrence Berkeley National Design Laboratory in California)
Schools that have green initiatives already will likely be open to less toxic choices if they do not already have this in place. If they do not have a green initiative, consider requesting one that will assist schools in being more sustainable for our environment and healthier for our children.
These are great tips can be used for a pregnant mom to start now at home as well. Creating healthy babies and children starts at conception.
Even these simple and small changes can make a big impact in the health of your baby. Requesting safer options at schools and daycares will show that it is important to parents and we will consider these school choices when choosing the right environment for our children to learn and grow!
Find out more about Healthy Green Schools.