Environment California Research & Policy Center purchased 21 products intended for use in a babyís nursery and hired a professional laboratory to test them for toxic chemicals. The results of the lab tests were released last week.
Products tested included several brands of cribs and changing tables, wastebaskets, lamps, shelves made from composite wood, wall hangings and several window valances. Four changing tables and two cribs contained formaldehyde levels in excess of air quality standards set by California in 2008. This included the Child Craft Oak Crib, which had the highest formaldehyde level of the 21 items tested, emitting 3,680 micrograms per hour. By January 2009, California’s standards will require building products to emit no more than 259 micrograms per hour. (Child Careís president said that their crib meets the latest safety standards established by federal consumer protection mandates and expressed confidence that tests he is conducting will refute these findings.)
Fifteen of the 21 nursery items were found to emit relatively low levels of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical often used in composite wood furniture and cabinets, draperies and other home furnishings. The Environmental Protection Agency considers it a probable carcinogen and studies show that excessive exposure increases the risk of asthma and respiratory problems. Babies and children are especially vulnerable to formaldehyde exposure.
To avoid formaldehyde, buy solid wood furnishings made of non-harvested woods. If you must purchase a crib made of composite wood/particle board, seal it in completely using a specially designed, non-toxic sealant.
Read more on Care 2 about creating a healthy crib.
Click here to download Environment California Research and Policy Centerís report.
By Terri Hall-Jackson, Care2 Healthy & Green Living contributing writer