Saturday, August 29, 2009
Formaldehyde: unwanted guest at baby showers
I just got back from a baby shower for one of my dearest friends. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with yummy food, good company, and adorable baby presents. I didn't want to spoil the special day, but I couldn't help but politely point out that my friend might want to wash all of the new baby clothes and blankets at least 2-3 times before her baby actually comes into contact with them. Why? Because, whether we like it or not (why on earth would we like it?) most new clothes and household fabrics come to us covered in a cocktail of toxic ingredients, such as formaldehyde, which is used to prevent them from developing mildew when they are being shipped from China. Formaldehyde also is used for many other functions in the manufacture of clothes, for example it helps to set the dyes, and to reduce wrinkling and shrinkage. Other lovely chemicals that are used in fabric finishing processes include VOCs, heavy metals, benzene, sulfuric acid, bromines, urea resins, sulfonamides, halogens, bromines and organochlorides. I'll spare you the ugly details, but for more info check out this scary blog post by the Organic Consumers Association.
I'm a bit of a naff numbnut, so I managed to leave my carefully selected basket of organic goodies by the front door as I walked out to go to the shower. When I see her next my dear friend will be getting a gorgeous, japanese inspired organic cotton onesie from purebaby, a divine bamboo with vintage kimono-trimming onesie from Sahara Bloom, a selection of certified organic baby lotions and potions from miessence, including a handy, diaper-bag-sized, talc-free organic baby powder, a gentle baby bottom cleansing gel that can be used with tissues or cloths, avoiding the need for eco-unfriendly-disposable-wipes, and the innovative baby bottom mist that allows you to protect against diaper rash without having to rub anything directly onto the sore bits. I also threw in a gorgeous little (organic cotton of course) singlet from Nature's Child that says: "I am Nature's Child".
Can you tell that I went a bit overboard at the Organic Expo??? What can I say? When it comes to babies, and organics, I have a double weak spot. I also threw in a sobering tome called "Chemical Free Kids" which is the book that I would have written if I had time to write a book. The author Dr Sarah Lantz has done a great job of pulling together easy-to-read info about the insidious nature of toxic chemicals in our lives and how it affects our children. You can order the book from my online shop if you're in Australia, or from here if you need it shipped elsewhere. It's depressing stuff, but we can't all just go around with our heads buried in the sand now can we?