These days, limiting kid's chemical exposures can seem next to impossible. And recent reports that some popular baby formulas and foods tested positive for lead and arsenic, and BPA and its potentially harmful substitutes can be passed from mother to child in utero only make matters worse for health-conscious parents.
A new guide by Made Safe—a certification scheme that labels products with ingredients that don't harm our health or the environment—seeks to demystify some of the over 80,000 chemicals in our products today. It presents parents with information on which ones are actually dangerous and small swaps they can make to craft a healthier home.
"The problem is that right now, parents almost need a Ph.D. just to go shopping and figure out whether or not something is safe to use with their families," says Cassidy Randall, Made Safe's director of marketing and business development. "Parents are already busy enough without having to research what harmful chemicals might be lurking in their child’s bottle, mattress, or baby wash. With scant regulation of harmful chemicals, confusing labeling, and rampant greenwashing, parents are left to navigate a health minefield with little help."
The guide is focused on plastics in particular, and it analyzes the threat certain plastic products pose to our bodies, our children's bodies, and the world around us. (Since many kids' products are used for a brief period and then tossed, it's an especially wasteful market.) It breaks down some of the toxic chemicals in plastic, recommends plastic alternatives, and points to products that are certified eco-friendly by the Plastic Pollution Coalition, an organization that seeks to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment, and deemed safe by the Made Safe label. Developed last year, this relatively new certification for nonfood items like household products, skin care, cleaners, etc., names a product safe when third-party scientists find that it's free of chemicals thought to harm human health (meaning no carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, fire retardants, or VOCs allowed). Here's what the report had to say about how to cut down on chemicals at home without driving yourself crazy: