I ran across a book at the library called Raising Baby Green: The Earth-friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care by Alan Greene. I kind of missed the boat on this already. I actually don't have a baby anymore, but I still felt like I had to read this book.
Dr. Greene starts off by telling us that the Environmental Working Group tested the umbilical cord blood of 10 babies in 2004 and found 287 different industrial chemicals in it. Yikes! But what this means for you and your baby is not entirely clear.
I'm listing only a few of the many things one can do to go green. I actually find it pretty overwhelming and impossible to do most of these things at this point in my life. Of course, Dr. Greene understands that most people will feel this way, but he feels that any little steps you take can make an impact over the course of your and your baby's lifetime.
Dr. Greene says that pregnancy is a great time to start modifying your lifestyle to reduce the toxins in your food and your environment. Choosing organic foods is a good place to start. He recommends focusing on organic beef and organic milk (free of hormones or antibiotics), as well as organic potatoes, apples, and soy products (free of pesticides and not genetically modified). He says to try to eat local food, in season, and wash it well with water and distilled white vinegar. Because of high levels of mercury, avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and albacore tuna. Choose filtered tap water to drink. Avoid fumes from paint, gasoline, glue, household cleaners, dry cleaners, and tobacco.
For your baby's nursery, Dr. Greene suggests you choose low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, recycled or sustainable wood furniture and floors, and organic wool or cotton mattresses and bedding. Your baby can wear organic cotton diapers with a waterproof cover instead of disposables. There are also hybrid diapers with a flushable liner inside the cloth diaper. Or you can buy the eco-diaper, which is a disposable made without dyes, fragrance, or chlorine.
Choose organic clothes made of cotton, wool, bamboo, hemp, or linen. Dr. Greene likes unfinished solid wood toys or cloth toys made of cotton, hemp, or wool. Choose plastic toys that are free of PVC, such as Brio, Lego, Sassy, Little Tikes, or Tiny Love.
For baby bottles, the author suggests glass, polyethylene, or polypropylene, not poycarbonate, which can leak BPA, a hormone disrupter. In general, avoid plastics #3, #6, & #7. Choose plastics #1, #2, #4, & #5.
Dr. Greene suggests non-toxic household cleaners and personal products such as recycled, non-chlorine-bleached toilet paper. You can open your windows to increase ventilation. Or you can get air filtering household plants, such as bamboo, Chinese evergreen, English Ivy, Gerbera daisies, or a peace lily for cleaner air.
You can also choose Energy Star applicances. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. Get a home energy audit. Vacuum with a bagless HEPA filter. Conserve water. Avoid pesticides. Drive less, use a hybrid car, and buy carbon offsets.
Whew! A lot to digest, isn't it?
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