Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oh Baby!

Hello fellow greenies! I have recently learned that an old roommate of mine is having a baby in the Fall and I thought it would be a perfect time to blog about greening up our decorating. There are many "old school" products that we use which have contributed to health problems and environmental hazards over the years. Now that we know about them, we can avoid them. Here are alternatives:

  1. Walls/Paint: Use no VOC Paint on the walls and make sure all of the nursery items are eco-friendly and also don't contain paints using VOC's. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound which refers to the smell that paint, carpeting, furniture, etc gives off that makes you dizzy (that process is called "Off Gassing" and I know a few people who also can be considered "off gassers"). That smell causes diseases and is also pretty bad for the atmosphere. They make paint with no-VOC's and low VOC's which is great because you can get the color you want minus the damage to your body (VOCs can cause asthma and various other lung diseases, birth defects, and cancer). Do all painting at least a month before use to give the paint and all new furniture time to off gas.
  2. Flooring: If renovating, it is recommended that you keep the current flooring as many new flooring will emit VOCs. If you can't do that, think about getting natural linoleum or wood flooring made of bamboo. If you are refinishing already existing wood flooring, watch the varnish you choose for VOCs as well
  3. Crib/Furniture: choose items made of real wood with natural finishes. For any mattresses, padding or linens, try and get organic cotton, free of pesticides. Also watch out for chemicals that make clothing flame retardant. That chemical is a neurotoxin (and on our pillows...check out The Story Of Stuff link in my margin!)
  4. Toys: Weirdly, plastic toys are a major contributor to indoor air pollution. You may want to buy cloth or wood toys for tiny babies to keep them breathing clean.
  5. Keep the nursery well ventilated. Fresh air will circulate any pollutants out.
  6. When cleaning the nursery, use organic cleaning products. I LOVE Shaklee products! They are organic and I will do a detailed post on them in the near future. I have my own Shaklee page:

These tips can be applied to any home renovation. Really, the most important thing is using non-toxic products and materials that are sustainable to minimize your renovations impact on the Earth. Bamboo actually makes for a beautiful wood that will very durable and grows VERY fast.

Please send me a comment with any great "green" tips for a renovation.