Q: What are the 3 most important toxic dangers I should clean up before bringing home a newborn?
A: It’s difficult to rank individual items that pose hazards to our children, because it depends on how much you use a particular product and what your lifestyle is like. However, these are three problems that are of major concern to me and can be easily solved before bringing baby home:
1. Eliminate the use of personal-care products that contain hormone-mimicking chemicals by making sure the products you plan to use with your newborn-such as shampoos, lotions, etc.-are all natural and do not contain parabens and phthalates. When buying clothing and bedding for your newborn, look for all-natural fabrics (such as cotton), and replace your plastic food containers and bottles with glass or BPA-free plastic. These steps can help prevent certain chemicals from entering your baby’s body through ingestion and by absorption through his or her skin.
2. Protect your baby from the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that are present in our wired world. Because EMFs from gadgets such as alarm clocks, humidifiers, and even baby monitors may have damaging long-term health effects on the body, remove as many from the nursery as you can. To protect yourself, if you must have your electronic devices plugged in, keep them away from your bed stand at night to reduce your exposure while you sleep.
3. Switch toxic cleaning products for non-toxic ones. Products like bleach, most store-bought surface cleaners, air fresheners, and other chemical cleaners affect our home’s air quality and leave behind toxins that are absorbed through our skin or ingested by curious babies. Find recipes online for making your own cleaners out of non-toxic, household products like baking soda and vinegar. And open a window to air out your home, as the air outside the home is always cleaner than the air inside.
DR. MYRON WENTZ holds a Ph.D. in microbiology with a specialty in immunology from the University of Utah. He is the founder of USANA Health Sciences and co-author of The Healthy Home.
THE HEALTHY HOME written by Dr. Wentz and Dave Wentz explores the hidden health risks in our home. You will learn about the negative effects of commonly-found toxins and receive simple solutions to help minimize exposure.