Green Tips: Keeping Kids Safe from Toxins in the Environment
Green Tips | January 30, 2020
Unfortunately, there are thousands of toxins in our environment, and we are exposed to many of them every day. This is particularly concerning for children who are still developing and are at greater risk from exposure. Check out this week’s Green Tips for some steps that you can take to protect yourself and your little ones.
Safety At Home
Buying safe products for your home can be expensive and overwhelming, but it has become easier thanks to consumer guides, including resources produced by the Environmental Working Group and others. Switching your cleaning products to “greener” options is a great way to start. You can also check out this resource from the Environmental Protection Agency for more information about dangerous chemicals found in household products, and how you can avoid them.
In 2014 and 2015, NYLCVEF partnered with Clean and Healthy New York to test children’s toys and clothing for toxic substances in retail stores across New York. Our report showed that an alarming amount of dangerous and cancer-causing toxins exist in these products. Since the release of the report, statewide legislation has been introduced to limit children’s exposure to these harmful chemicals. Also, legislation has passed in multiple counties regarding the toxic toys. Here are a few ways we recommend limiting exposure to chemicals in children’s toys and clothing:
- Use glass or cardboard containers to avoid exposure to Bisphenol-A (commonly known as BPA).
- To avoid contact with harmful flame retardants, check product labels for the flame retardant symbol, and wash your child’s hands and toys regularly.
- A growing number of companies are making toys completely out of organic materials. Some online shops to check out are Oompa and Our Green House, as well as this list of recommended products on Amazon.
It can be a daunting task to ensure your child is safe from harmful toxins outside. Of particular concern is air pollution. Children are especially at risk to the health impacts of air pollution because their lungs are still developing. Air pollution comes from a variety of sources, including heavy duty vehicles, smog, smoke, and even pollen. It can be hard to prevent exposure to air pollution, but one way you can limit it is by monitoring the Air Quality Index for your region. Minimizing indoor pollution can also be a good way to reduce overall air pollution exposure.
For lawn and garden maintenance, try to keep pesticide use to a minimum. Reducing the amount of toxins sprayed on areas where children frequently play will reduce their exposure.
Currently, there is a bill that is awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature that will tighten restrictions on toxins currently found in children’s products. Getting involved in the political process at the city, state, and national level is a great way to advocate for your health and your family’s health.< Back to Citizen’s Toolkit
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