The top recommendation from safety experts: choose a wall paint with no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). No- or low-VOC paints can be found in many paint or home improvement stores.
"Carpets can harbor dust mites and allergens, and new synthetic carpets also contain the same harmful VOCs found in paint," says Amelia Rozas, architect and interior designer.
She suggests individually cleanable carpet tiles as an eco-friendly option. If you must have wall-to-wall carpeting, stick with wool, cotton, hemp or jute.
For extra protection, make your nursery a shoe-free zone, recommends Spahr, to avoid tracking pesticide traces through your home.
Shop for formaldehyde-free furniture made of solid wood, recommends Debra Holtzman, child safety and health expert and author of The Safe Baby. "Formaldehyde can be emitted from some new pressed products, such as plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard because of the glue or adhesive.
Reduce exposure by making sure the product is aired out in a well-ventilated unoccupied area, such as a garage."
You can fill baby's green nursery with eco-friendly furnishings and accessories, but be sure to maintain them with all-natural, chemical-free green products.
Dapple offers fragrance-free toy and surface cleaners. "Spray down your newborn's crib, cubbies and drawers with a natural all-purpose cleaning spray and wash clothing and bed linens with an all-natural laundry soap," says Robin Kay Levine, founder of the all-natural cleaning product line Eco-Me. Or stick with vinegar and baking soda -- inexpensive and the safest bet for a clean green nursery.
"Reports have shown that chemicals such as flame retardants, antibacterials and waterproofing additives have been found in 72 percent of crib mattresses," says Spahr.
"Chemical-free mattresses are relatively inexpensive for cribs, and can be found at major retailers," says Kimberly Button, green living consultant and author of The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home. "Wool naturally is fire-repellant, without the need for chemical fire retardants that are added to bedding."
Naturalmat manufactures handcrafted organic mattresses for baby. "Purchasing a mattress free of these harmful chemicals is especially important when you think that babies spend, on average, 16 hours a day sleeping," says Spahr.
It's never too early to get started creating a green nursery. Let your family and friends know your intentions and recruit them in your efforts.
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