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Paula Kashtan

Creating An Eco-Friendly Nursery

I've always been very environmentally conscious, and I'm wondering how I can incorporate that into my nursery. Also, are there any materials I should look out for? I don't want to expose baby to anything that's potentially dangerous.

Yes, there are definitely ways to help both baby and the planet. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Instead of traditional wood flooring, go for bamboo or eucalyptus — both are highly renewable resources. And, look for furnishing with a water-based aluminum oxide with no volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions.

  • Look over the ingredient label before you select a paint. If you see things like turpentine, formaldehyde, any animal products or VOCs, put back the can. Paints with all-natural ingredients like mineral pigments, plant oils, crushed limestone and milk are a better bet.

  • Avoid furniture made of laminated wood, plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard — the glue in these often contain formaldehyde. The pieces will wear down faster, and release chemical fumes.

  • Spring for a quality air purifier to deal with any pollutants. A freestanding humidifier with a HEPA filter is your best bet.

  • Find window treatments made of natural fabric. (Extra points for organic cotton!) Steer clear of mini blinds — they’re made of PVC, which can give off gas when heated by the sun.

  • Reuse! Ask friends for their old baby gear, shop at secondhand stores, and check out recycling/sharing websites. Just make sure any used gear is still in safe condition, and hasn't been recalled by the CPSC.

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