Any expectant or new parents should consider the indoor environment their new baby will inhabit.
Indoor air quality is often far worse than outdoor air quality, despite attention given to air pollution. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, source of indoor air pollution can include: "combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, and tobacco products; building materials and furnishings as diverse as deteriorated, asbestos-containing insulation, wet or damp carpet, and cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products; products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies; central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices; and outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides, and outdoor air pollution."
Deirdre Dolan, co-author of the Complete Organic Pregnancy and one of The Daily Green's Ask an Organic Mom bloggers, included this list in her latest post, on what renters can do to create a safe, nontoxic environment for their babies.
Green Depot's website also provides the following list of basic steps you can take to improve indoor air quality:
- Clean and vacuum regularly to remove dust, dirt, and particulates that build up indoors; be sure to change vacuum filter bags or clean dirt cups often, to ensure that the dust and dirt doesn't end up back in your home.
- Use the power of nature to help clean the air indoors - buy some plants! Plants remove chemical quickly from the air, and can actually thrive on substances that can be harmful to people.
- Use materials that and furnishings that are non-toxic - including wall finishes, caulks, adhesives, upholstered furniture, and carpeting.
- Use natural cleaning products, which contain no volatile organic compounds or toxic chemicals.
- Invest in good HEPA air filters to help purify the air in your home, and be sure to change filters often.
- Remove your shoes when you come indoors, and prevent a host of dirt, dust and other particles from spreading throughout.
- Never smoke indoors.
- Check air and furnace filters at least every two months, and replace or clean regularly.
- Encase your mattress and pillows to protect against dust mites.
- Take steps to ensure that your home remains mold-free.
Raising Baby Green: Resources for Expectant and New Moms
6 Steps to Green Your Baby Nursery
What's Your Organic Food IQ?
6 Tips to Green Your Baby Shower
4 Ways to Green Your Kids' Lunch Boxes
Before Cleaning Up After Baby, Re-Think "Clean"
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.