Having a baby often makes new parents more aware of the chemicals we are exposed to every day. A natural place to start making your home as eco-friendly as possible is the baby's bedroom; here are a few ways to start creating an organic nursery: Use low- or no-VOC paints One of the first things new parents do is paint the nursery but many paints contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are toxic fumes that off-gas from common household items such as paint or a new vinyl shower curtain. When painting the nursery use low- or no-VOC paints. Don't use carpet Keep the baby's room carpet free. Carpets can trap mold, dust mites, and more. Because carpets need replacing they also add to landfills so they are not a good green option. If carpet is a must choose one made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton, hemp or jute. New synthetic carpets also give off-gas VOCs. Use a green mattress Where baby sleeps can be another place to go green. Many mattresses are treated with chemical fire retardants or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). That may seems like a good thing but PBDEs have been known to accumulate in our bodies and affect the endocrine and nervous systems. Look for organic cotton or natural wool mattresses. Avoid stain resistant treated products Other items that may end up in a child's nursery that have VOCs are furniture and pressed wood products with resins and glues. Look for furniture made from certified sustainable wood or reclaimed materials. You should also try to avoid plastic as it is made from petroleum. Plastic items also usually end up in a landfill. Go green with diapers Reduce the dioxin pollution by using cloth or chlorine free diapers. Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals this is not something most parents want next to baby's sensitive skin. Choose nontoxic toys Babies put everything in their mouths, so look for toxin free toys. Look for soft organic cotton toys or toys made from wood that comes from FSC-certified forests. Toys made from PVC, contain phthalates, an ingredient in plastic that can affect reproductive and developmental health. Making these small changes for your baby are easy and healthy. It may take a a little more time and effort but you will have peace of mind you are starting your baby's life off the right way.
We all want our flowers to last forever. We want it so much that there are entire aisles in Michael's devoted to plastic flowers that will bloom for eternity. But when it comes to creating a warm atmosphere with pleasant fragrances, nothing compares to the real thing. Here's how to get the most of your potted plants and flowers.