A recent study conducted by the Kresge Foundation and published in Health Affairs found that treating children who are exposed to air pollution, toxic chemicals and other pollutants costs a staggering $76.6 billion dollars a year. The study also found that children with existing allergies to common airborne allergens are even more vulnerable to chemical pollutants than others.
Chicago Healers Practitioner Martha H Howard, MD, says that simply being aware of what is most harmful to your children is the easiest way to protect them. She offers the following information and tips to keeping your children safe from air pollution and toxic chemicals. How can you avoid this problem? Steer clear of these indoor chemical pollutants:
- Formaldehyde in new clothes, carpet, wallboards and furniture made of particle board or with particle board backing
- Lead paint and other toxic paints. Children’s rooms should be painted only with non-toxic no-VOC paints. Even latex paints can emit toxic fumes over a long period of time, worsening allergies and asthma.
- Mercury in any form—especially as a preservative in vaccinations, or in dental materials
- Food dyes, additives, and artificial sugars. The so-called “generally recognized as safe” food dyes are made of coal tar. MSG and aspartame are neurotoxins (see Russell Blaylock MD’s comprehensive book, Exitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.)
- Plastics that contain BPA
- Fire retardant chemicals in pajamas and bedding
- Sunscreens with “gender bending” chemicals like homosalate, octylmethoxycinnamate, octocrylene, oxybenzone. Use California Baby hypoallergenic sunscreen, Desert Essence sunscreen, or Aubrey Organic Sunscreen on all children (and on adults too!)
- Shampoos and lotions are full of chemicals. Desert Essence makes a good line of shampoos, conditioners and lotions that are chemical free.
There are many things you can do to not only avoid indoor chemical pollutants but also keep your kids healthy in general.
- Good indoor air filtration (with charcoal and zeolite in the filters, not just HEPA filters) can help limit exposure to airborne pollutants.
- Drink filtered water
- Give children fresh, mostly organic unprocessed foods. This doesn’t have to be complicated. A turkey sandwich with whole grain bread, Applegate Farms or Hormel natural turkey (no additives, MSG, nitrites or nitrates—both big causes of cancer), and an organic apple are a great lunch, rather than packaged “cracker and cheese” or many of the items that are currently offered in school lunches.
- Become active in advocating for better indoor air quality and better food at your child’s school
- Stay informed about air and water quality and pollution hazards in your neighborhood and your town.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!