ORGANIC BABY UNIVERSITY: PRODUCTS WE LOVE!
AUSTIN AIR PURIFIERS
One of the big tips we are always saying to our moms is to CLEAN YOUR AIR! Studies have shown that the air inside the home is up to 5 times more toxic than the air outside! Yikes! Air is filled with toxic chemicals in the form of gasses like formaldehyde, benzene, and VOCs (or volatile organic compounds) as well as chemicals that get trapped in dust like flame-retardants. These chemicals are linked to a long list of diseases and disorders including cancer, neurological damage, hormone disruption (affects the hormones), lowered IQs and more!
Here at OBU we highly recommend that EVERYONE but especially women trying to conceive, pregnant women and women with children filter their air and try to reduce exposures to these chemicals. VOCs, flame-retardants and these other chemicals are even more damaging to small children and pregnant women since their bodies are growing and developing at rapid rates.
Children are exposed to flame retardants at high rates because the attach to dust and settle on the ground and on surfaces in the home and then the baby crawls on the surface and puts their hands or toys with the dust in their mouths. Many chemicals like flame retardants are bioaccumulative and build up in the body and in our environment. Flame-retardants have been found in everything from whales and birds, as far as the poles, and in foods like peanut butter, butter and meat. They are in your couches and padded furniture, changing pads, nursing pillows, high chairs, carpet padding….nearly everything with foams and also many children pajamas.
VOCs are found in paints, engineered wood, construction supplies, furniture, toys, glues, adhesives and more! These items “off-gas” or release toxic gasses into the air. This fills your home with chemicals like benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde which are all known carcinogens and are suspected to be highly toxic in many ways to the human body.
There are other chemicals that are good to eliminate or reduce in your home such as dusts from toxic plastics as they break down like BPA (makes plastics shatterproof-linked to cancer, hormone disruption and more) and phthalates (makes plastics soft and pliable-found in toys, shower curtains, small appliances, etc.-linked to birth defects in boys, cancer and more) and a long list of other chemicals.
So now you know WHY you need to clean your air, here are the tips about HOW to reduce your exposure:
1. Open your windows every chance you get!
2. Dust, dust, dust! May of these chemicals accumulate in dust to take a wet cloth and wipe down surfaces, toys, etc.
3. Vacuum with a quality vacuum with a HEPA filter several times a week (you can see our product recommendations page for suggestions)
4. Throw away old furniture especially if it has holes in the fabric- flame retardants escape more easily into the air this way
5. Purchase items that do not contain toxic flame retardants- there are many companies such as Naturepedic and Lifekind that offer safe alternatives for your baby. If you are purchasing furniture try to buy safer products (although “green products nearly always still contain toxic flame retardants…you will have to specifically search for these and pay a premium for these safe options)
6. And finally we recommend to GET A GOOD QUALITY AIR PURIFIER!
Air purifiers will not only reduce the gasses but also greatly reduce the particles in the air. This reduces the dust and therefore reduced exposures to all of these chemicals. But not all air purifiers are created equal! You can go crazy trying to figure out which one may be right for you. This is why we have done all the research and hard work for you! First, it is important to understand that when it comes to air purifiers, cheap is not worth the money! In fact, many less expensive air purifiers (and some more expensive) can actually create ozone when they are running which is harmful to your health. Hardly what you are trying to do when you are trying to clean the air! Others only reduce certain larger particles in the air but cannot get rid of smaller particles. Some are not effective at reducing certain chemicals or gasses. An air purifier is like your crib mattress or car seat, when it comes to chemicals, you get what you pay for! It is important to prioritize and make sure you spend the money on the more important items and realize that you can purchase other items such as toys, furniture or other products second-hand. The air purifiers that I own and recommend after all of my research are AUSTIN AIR PURIFIERS. They are ranked some of the best on the market. And in their price range, the very best! Austin Air Purifiers contain a four stage filtering process that includes a HEPA filter and activated carbon which removing a wide variety of particles, sub-micron particles, chemicals, gases, micro-organisms and odors. This includes such things as dust, mold, pollen, tobacco smoke, chemical vapors, gases, viruses and bacteria. The filters only have to be replaced every FIVE years! So when you are shopping and see cheaper options keep this in mind! They were used by the government after 9/11 to give you an idea of the quality.
The best part is they offer different sizes and models for your needs. They even make one called the “Baby’s Breath” which is designed specifically for nurseries and come in pink and blue. They also have built in sound machines! How cool! If you are looking to reduce toxic exposures in your home you need a good quality air purifier . It’s just one more big step in improving the health of your family and baby! Let us know how you like them!!