Canadian health and environmental experts issued a list on June 15 of the best ways to reduce five common sources of toxins associated with child health risks.
"Expectant and new parents, in particular, need practical advice to help them safeguard their children from health risks - such as learning and behavioral disorders, asthma, cancer and certain birth defects - that researchers have linked to toxic chemicals found in and around the home," Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment (CPCHE) director Erica Phipps said in a statement.
Here are the CPCHE's top five recommendations:
1. Dust and vacuum regularly: Household dust is one of the main sources of children’s exposure to toxins. Keep in it check by weekly vacuuming or wet mopping, as well as dusting with a damp cloth. Have a crawling child? The CPCHE recommends dusting and vaccuming twice a week. Skip dry dusting since it circulates the dust back into the air. Also, kick off your shoes at the door to cut down on dirt and chemicals you bring into the house. Decluttering and storing toys in closed containers can help reduce dust levels as well.
2. Use nontoxic cleaners: Switch to simple, non-toxic cleaners. Baking soda can be used to scrub sinks and tubs; vinegar mixed with water cleans windows and floors. Avoid air fresheners, fragrant detergents, and dryer sheets. For dry cleaning, find a cleaner in your area that uses nontoxic methods.
3. Renovate right: If you’re renovating your home, pregnant women and children are advised to steer clear since contaminant-laden renovation dust and toxic fumes from paints, caulking, and glues can cause neurological damage in children. Seal off renovation areas from the rest of the home with plastic sheeting and duct tape, and close off heating and cooling vents. If you're painting, opt for less toxic products labeled "VOC-free," "zero-VOC" or "low-VoC."
4. Chose your plastics wisely: The CPCHE advises never placing plastic containers or plastic wrap, even if it claims to be “microwave-safe,” in the microwave, because harmful chemicals can leach from the plastic into your food. Opt for glass or ceramic containers for food storage, and eat fresh or frozen foods over canned goods, since the chemical BPA is used in the lining of most food and drink cans. Also, the CPCHE advises parents avoid buying teething toys, bibs, bath toys, shower curtains, and other items that contain PVC, which is associated with diverse health effects.
5). Minimize mercury: CPCHE experts recommend choosing fish low in mercury, which is toxic to the brain, such as Atlantic mackerel, herring, rainbow trout, wild or canned salmon, and tilapia.
Learn more and access the report here: