Give Your Baby The Safest Start: Reduce Your Family’s Chemical Load – Part 3

Gas off

Do you remember the smell when you last entered a two dollar shop or bargain store? Are you familiar with the smell of a new car, new home, new furniture and new appliances? Whilst these “fragrances” may seem appealing to you because of what they represent, they are very bad for you. They are the emission of toxic gasses known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from new plastics, solvents, paints, sealants, aerosol sprays, cleaners, fragrances, adhesives, craft supplies, vinyl, wood and metal treatments.

The health effects from exposure to VOCs can be immediate such as headaches, nausea, allergic skin reaction, dizziness, fatigue and eye, nose or throat irritation. As well as long-term effects including liver, kidney and neurological damage, and cancer.

Your walls, your carpet, your sofa and your children’s toys could all be releasing VOCs, so what can you do? Choose natural wherever possible. Any new items that are not made of natural fibres need to time to “gas off”. Put them out in the sunshine or under the carport or in the garage if the weather isn’t agreeable, and ventilate as much as possible. Another option is to buy used or secondhand, as thankfully VOCs dissipate over time. If you are renovating, try not to live in that area of the house and choose products that are as non-toxic as possible, such as pre-dried or quick-drying building materials and use water-based surface coatings.

Any new items that are not made of natural fibres need to time to “gas off”. Put them out in the sunshine or under the carport or in the garage if the weather isn’t agreeable, and ventilate as much as possible.

Say no thanks to plastics that leach and non-stick items

There has been extensive coverage of the dangers of chemicals such as BPA leaching from plastic. Did you know that BPA it is still widely used in the lining of canned foods, plastic packaging and receipt dockets? Where possible avoid canned foods, store food in glass containers and if using plastic ensure that it is a stable one such as number 4 or 5. Remember to never heat anything in plastic especially your baby’s milk. Learn more about the types and safety of plastics here.

Whilst super effective for cooking your pancakes and making your pans easy to clean, the chemicals used to coat non-stick cookware are known to be hazardous to your health. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), are actually widely used to waterproof furniture and clothing, in stain-proof carpeting, non-stick cookware, and are especially prevalent in fast food containers and microwave popcorn bags. Studies in animals have made links to cancer of the testicles, liver and pancreas. In human studies, PFCs have been found to disrupt foetal development and have harmful effects on the immune and nervous systems. The best option is to avoid non-stick items all together. Choose cookware that is enamel-coated iron, stainless steel, ceramic, Pyrex and cast iron instead. Definitely skip the microwave popcorn and when ordering takeout avoid polystyrene and request a container that is a stable plastic and transfer as quickly as possible.


Do you think about the chemicals, products and ingredients that you put on your baby’s skin?  Thinkwise are passionate about helping you find the safest baby skincare solutions available.  They provide helpful information to parents and carers who are conscious about the chemicals they put on their baby’s skin and use in their environment.  They specialise in selling dry baby wipes and change mats as used in Birthcare & Hospitals nationwide, and also stock their own organic baby skincare range.

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