Indoor air quality measurements have shown that the children's room is the one with most toxics in the house - mainly driven by plastics, formaldehyde in furniture, fire retardants in textile and electronic products, etc. Read more about why it is important to reduce toxic materials in your sourounding HERE.
Here is what you can do:
1. Plastic - The Swedish chemical authorities have performed tests and found that every second plastic product in the home contained dangerous chemicals. 20 out of the 160 tested products were so bad that the vendor was prosecuted. So especially for the children's room, avoid plastics. Mainly soft plastic such as soft dolls etc. To make the plastic soft you need Phthalates that are endocrine disrupting. Don't buy second hand plastic. Avoid cheap china made plastic and plastic prints on for example clothes. Recently the laws have been updated so newly produced hard plastic toys made in Europe should be fine.
2. Smell the toys. If you buy new, avoid products that smells perfume, chemical or plastic. Ask the shop if the toy is free from PVC. Also ask for labeled organic toys.
3. Go for natural materials such as massive wood, organic cotton (f.ex GOTS certified), wool, hemp, linen,
Avoid furnitures made of any board materials as they often have high levels of formaldehyde.
4. Buy secondhand textiles (incl. clothes, curtains, bedsheets) that have been washed many times. New textiles often contains a lot of chemicals and pesticides that only slowly disappears after many washes.
When you buy new, always buy organic (GOTS certified). This includes sofas, rugs and mattresses that often are treated with flame-retardant substances. Wool is a good material as it is naturally antibacterial. Just secure that it is organic and well produced.
5. Avoid foam, for example in the mattress. Choose materials such as bamboo or organic cotton and wool. Check that the mattress is not treated with flame-retardants or antibacterial substances.
5. Store all electronic equipment away from the children's room. TVs, games, phones and computers are often treated with flame-retardants and other dangerous substances.
6. When you renovate the children's room do it well before the child moves in. Don't use any board materials, vinyl or PVC. Use natural and organic labeled materials such as paint. Use massive wooden floors. If you have to use glue (contains formaldehyde) or products containing glue make sure that it is eco-labeled.
7. Air the flat thoroughly as often as you can (recommended 3 times per day). Hoover often and when cleaning, make sure that you are not using any strong or anti bacterial products, only natural soaps. When washing do not use fabric softeners and use mild, organic detergents made for babies.
Here is an example of a toxic free play area:
- Massive, untreated wooden shelves
- Organic wool rug to play on (vegetable dyed if possible)
- Wooden and organic textile toys.
- Massive wooden floors.
Here is an example of a toxic free sleeping area:
- Organic bamboo mattress with organic wool mattress protector
- Organic bed sheets and sleeping bag.
- Massive wooden cot (no board materials).
- Organic wool rug
If it all seems like too much work or too expensive to change everything just start with the most important areas: where the child spends a lot of time. Then take it step by step at your own pace.
1. Change the mattress and the bed linnen.
2. Sort out and throw all soft plastic toys.
3. Change the rug.