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Baby Rooms, Nurseries & Indoor Environmental Quality

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Published on Mar 4, 2015

For many expectant parents, one of the primary tasks they need to accomplish before the birth of their child is getting the nursery ready for the new edition to the family. This can be an especially exciting time for first-time parents as they get ready to begin a new chapter in their lives.

As new moms and dads shop for baby clothes, furniture and accessories, and begin decorating the nursery for the new arrival, the health and safety of the room’s future occupant should be of the outmost importance. Since newborns and young children spend so much time in their room, a critical component of this is the indoor air quality (IAQ) and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of the nursery.

Something as basic as painting a nursery can lead to high levels of airborne chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Look for no- or low VOC paints and have the nursery painted long before the baby is born to allow as much off-gassing as possible.

New baby furniture can also off-gas VOCs from their components, paints, finishes, adhesives and glues. Some manufactured wood products are also associated with high levels of formaldehyde. If buying new furniture, give it plenty of time to off-gas or look for products that do not use these chemicals. Purchasing used baby furniture can also help to alleviate this issue. Don’t forget that babies spend many hours on their mattresses which can be another source of VOCs, flame retardants and other chemicals.

Even new carpeting or wood floors in a nursery can be a source of VOCs. Carpeting can also act as a "sink" for chemical and biological pollutants including pesticides, mold, dust mites and other materials. Anything that is tracked onto, or settles into carpeting can become lodged. VOCs can even be absorbed into some types of carpet fibers. A vacuum with a high efficiency filter can help to remove allergens and particulates.

Some children’s products made with polycarbonate plastics and resins may contain BPA (bisphenol A) which has been shown to affect the reproductive systems of laboratory animals. Another area of concern for many parents are phthalates, which are used in some products to increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl and are suspected to be endocrine disruptors.

Be sure to check the room to ensure there has not been past or active water damage that could allow for the growth of mold, even in areas that are out of sight. High humidity levels can also support mold growth and high numbers of dust mites.

If the nursery is in an older home, be sure there are no lead-based paints. As these paints deteriorate that can be a significant lead-poisoning hazard to young children.

These are just a few things to know about a healthy baby room. To learn more about this or other health and safety, indoor air quality, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown in the video and below.

Clark Seif Clark http://www.csceng.com
EMSL Analytical, Inc. http://www.emsl.com
Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. http://www.iecinc.net
LA Testing http://www.latesting.com
Maine Indoor Air Quality Council http://www.maineindoorair.org
Zimmetry Environmental http://www.zimmetry.com
Healthy Indoors Magazine http://www.iaq.net
Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters http://HudsonDouglasPublicAdjusters.com

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