Protecting Your Children from Common Environmental Toxins

While environmental toxins are a concern for all of us, babies, toddlers and children are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects. As parents, we don’t always know when things in our everyday environment may expose our kids to potential harm.

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The Coop’s Environmental Committee has compiled the information below to help you protect your family’s health.
  • Protecting kids from sunburn is really important but choose sunscreens without oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate. The first gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body; the latter promotes skin tumors. Sunscreens with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide are considered safe. >> Sun Screen Guide
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that children are uniquely susceptibility to pesticides’ toxicity. If you cannot buy all-organic produce, consult the EWG’s “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” lists, which are revised every year, to make smart choices about which kinds of produce are safest for your kids. >> Shopper's Guides
  • Be aware that there is no such thing as plastic that is “safe” for children to suck on, chew on, or have their food exposed to, including plastic products labeled “BPA Free.” Never heat food in plastic and for storage choose alternatives like glass, stainless steel, aluminum foil, or wax paper.
  • Babies and children spend lots of time sleeping! When you buy a mattress for a crib or a children’s bed, look for one made without flame retardant chemicals, which expose kids to endocrine disrupting chemicals. >> Avoiding Flame Retardants
  • Do your kids want to play with makeup? Then you need to know that many makeup products, especially those marketed to kids like inexpensive glitter and eye shadow, contain asbestos fibers that can be inhaled and cause mesothelioma, an incurable cancer. Keep your kids away from these products and ask your members of Congress to pass the Personal Products Safety Act, which would require the FDA to review and restrict dangerous ingredients from cosmetics. >> Safer Cosmetics Guide
  • NYC schoolchildren have been lobbying the New York City Council to ban the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides like Roundup (glyphosate) in New York City parks and playgrounds – support them by contacting your council member and telling them you want poison free parks for your kids. >> Avoiding Pesticides
These tips are based on reports from The Environmental Working Group, whose mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. The group publishes a number of guides for parents including one with grades for common baby products. 

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