If you’re pregnant or just had your baby, the natural instinct to nest may be tugging at you. You want your home and nursery to be just right for your new baby. Unfortunately, those well-intentioned changes to the home, from painting a room to a full remodel are usually anything but natural. I’d like to suggest you don’t start your house and nursery projects while you’re pregnant or with a newborn.
The reason is simple: the fetus and newborn are sensitive at levels well below what an adult might tolerate. They are extremely vulnerable to toxic chemicals and other contaminants. If you’re familiar with EWG’s Baby Body Burden study, maybe you already know that cord blood contains almost 300 highly toxic chemicals, proving that whatever the mother ingests, inhales and absorbs is passed on to the baby: http://www.ewg.org/reports/bodyburden2/execsumm.php.
Green products and materials are not necessarily non-toxic, and even the least toxic versions, newly installed, are usually too toxic for the developing fetus and newborn until all odors have completely dissipated. It doesn’t matter if they come with green certifications. Certifications still aren’t good enough, as their standards are limited in scope and are certainly not developed specifically for the newborn or fetus.
Instead, focus on making the house healthier. Put off as much as you can for a few years and make as few changes as possible that are not directly related to health. When your child is older, and past the most critical time in his or her development, you can undertake your safe, non-toxic projects (including precautions for exposures to new, outgassing materials and construction dust).
Here are some tips for healthy home nesting:
- Less is more: If you must paint or make even small changes, do not inhale outgassing from new materials, no matter how “green” and “non toxic” they claim to be. Leave while the work is being done and re-enter the house only when ALL odors have dissipated 100%.
- Replace all toxic household, cleaning and personal products with non-toxic products: http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=308
- Check your home for sources of moisture: Whether or not you react to mold, mold is toxic, period, particularly for the developing fetus and newborn. For starters, follow these steps outlined by the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/mold/preventionandcontrol.html.
- If you suspect or smell mold, get a mold inspection: Hire an IAQA certified, independent mold inspector to survey your home. (Don’t hire a mold remediation company for the inspection.) http://www.iaqa.org/consumer-info
- Reduce EMFs: There are many preventive steps you can take at no cost. Learn about them for free on my website and blog: http://marycordaro.com/
- Caution, carpet removal is toxic: Removing carpet stirs up high levels of toxic chemical-laden dust and microscopic particulates, which pollute the entire house. Remove carpet under airtight containment, and then deep clean the room afterwards. A mold remediation company can most safely remove it and deep clean for you.
This article was originally published on Pregnancy Awareness.
It’s natural to want your home and nursery to be perfect for your newborn. Unfortunately, the remodeling that many people do in anticipation of the baby’s arrival is typically anything but natural.
But by following these three basic principles, you will avoid the usual traps that well-meaning parents often fall into and optimize your baby’s health – as well as yours. (READ MORE HERE)
Global Green Awards Honorees Cathy & Ed O'Neill
I am so pleased and excited to have attended the star studded Global Green 2012 Millennium Awards last Saturday night, and see my long-time clients, honorees Cathy and Ed O’Neill awarded Global Green’s Entertainment Environmental Leadership Award. After a hilarious video presented about the O’Neill’s during last night’s ceremony, Cathy gave special recognition to me along with several of her other favorite environmental organizations and companies during her speech! What a thrill! Thank you, Cathy and Ed, and congratulations! Ever since Cathy visited our home during a green house tour many years ago, I have been honored to consult to her on healthy home building and interior materials and indoor air quality.
For more photos and coverage on the Global Green 2012 Millennium Awards go to:http://globalgreen.org/blogs/global/?p=4513
Does your water contain fluoride? If yours is city water, it most likely does. For her blog, Alicia Silverstone, asked me to explain why fluoride is considered toxic by many doctors and medical experts, and how to avoid it. (HINT: Carbon water filters do not remove fluoride.)
I am so excited to return to AltBuild, my favorite green building conference and expo, on May 12th in Santa Monica.
And I’m even more excited to be on a panel with two of my favorite people and distinguished green building and design colleagues.
Join me, Brenden McEneaney, Green Building Program Advisor for the City of Santa Monica, and Rachel Winokur, owner of Etta Designs and green interior designer extraordinaire, for a panel presentation on Green Materials: The Ultimate Toolkit for Healthy Interiors and Other Sustainable Benefits: http://www.altbuildexpo.com/speakers_schedule_6.html#6-2
Admission is free! Altbuild, the alternative building materials and design conference and expo, is chock full of exciting presentations by the leading experts in green building and design. Be sure to allow for plenty of time to peruse the exhibit floor.
For more information go to: http://www.altbuildexpo.com/index.html
Everyone deserves and needs a healthy home.
In my twenty-two years of experience as a healthy building and interiors consultant I’ve witnessed a huge shift in environmental consciousness in the general public; and yet people have tended to assume that if something is considered green, it’s also necessarily 100% healthy. This is most often not the case. Green products, materials and systems that may reduce or recycle waste, or may use less energy do not necessarily support human health. There’s a lot of “green washing” out in the market place. In addition, there are still no real regulations on transparency of ingredients. Yet many green consultants are ignorant of important factors having to do with health, and buy into what green manufacturers tell them, or focus on energy and resource conservation, leaving consumers confused. I know how to dig deeper, and root out the real thing from green marketing jargon in order to help you make healthy green changes to your home.
If you are concerned about the building materials and furnishings in your home; if you are concerned about toxins found in your home, such as mold, allergens, chemicals, electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from computers, cell phones and wiring, and other pollutants typically found in homes; if you are thinking about having a baby, are pregnant, or a have baby or small children; if you’re concerned about choosing healthy lifestyle and children’s products, if the health of your home is especially important, I am writing this blog for you. Read more
I’m thrilled that Alicia Silverstone asked me to write a series of guest blogs on drinking and bathing water safety for her blog called The Kind Life. This is Part I: The Water Problem.
Are you pregnant, or planning a family, and is the nesting instinct tugging at you? Many well intentioned but mistaken soon-to-be parents launch into what they assume are healthy green home improvement and remodeling projects in a effort to get the nest ready for their growing families. Then they discover their remodels are anything but healthy for their babies. In the link to this radio show, I suggest another, safer approach to nesting by prioritizing health:
The most important piece of furniture in your home is the mattress, especially for babies and children. Choosing a healthy child’s mattress can be challenging, even though there are now more green choices than ever. As with many green products, however, disclosure of all ingredients and materials is not always provided upfront by manufacturers. Even some “organic” mattresses may contain synthetics, such as Dacron. For tips and guidance on screening for potentially toxic ingredients in so called “non toxic” children’s mattresses, read my article in Green Home Guide: