Chemicals In Our Children

This is why everyone who made fun of us for buying an organic crib mattress can go ahead and bite me. Seriously, we were laughed at for buying chemical-free baby clothing, blankets and a mattress. We were also scoffed at for wanting to use glass bottles not only by people we know but by some of the folks in our parenthood preparation classes.

This is NOT the type of article I want to see in my RSS feed. Some really scary stuff, people. And you’re insane to not let it bother you.

“[Rowan’s] been on this planet for 18 months, and he’s loaded with a chemical I’ve never heard of,” Holland, 37, said. “He had two to three times the level of flame retardants in his body that’s been known to cause thyroid dysfunction in lab rats.”

Granted, our couches are filled with chemicals. Our cheap Ikea carpets are as well. And the Pack ‘n Play isn’t exactly retardant-free either.


  1. Michele, you are totally right. There were some articles I sent when we were talking about breast feeding which also contributes to adding to the chemicals found in our children. Dry cleaning solution, MDF which contains formaldehyde and just weird things like anti-depressants in water that can not be filtered out. The problem is it is everywhere. So you get the mattress or the pillow but what is the crib made out of or the changing table. If it is plywood chances are that is just as bad as the mattress. It just blows but you are right you have to try to minimize exposure anywhere you can. Perhaps it will make us all super human like on Heroes but most likely it will lead to pretty horrible results later in life.

    good times.


  2. Really scary stuff. I think the best you can do is minimize Emory’s (and your) exposure to as much as possible and hope for the best. I’m sure it’s easy to make yourself crazy worrying, but it seems like you have made, and will continue to make, informed choices.


  3. Rachel! I totally forgot about those articles! I need to go and reread them.

    We live in the WORST neighborhood for pollutants as well. Greenpoint is a mess. Plus, we’re literally doors away from the BQE. Close enough it shakes our apartment. I kid you not. We really need to move. I keep saying that and I feel trapped here because while it takes money to live here, it takes a lot to get out as well.

    Monday has been rough for me. heh. Woke up heavy.


  4. Along these lines, there was an article on last week about a woman in Houston who thinks chemicals are to blame for her 6 year old son’s leukemia.

    “We’re the stinky neighborhood,” she said. “But we’ve gotten so used to it that we don’t know that’s just how we smell…..I’m not ignorant,” Rosario told CNN. “Kids get sick in the country in the fresh air, but this (she’s referring to the petrochemical complex that is their neighbor) had something to do with it.”

    This kind of stuff keeps me awake some nights. Can I have some Tuesdays with Murray to take my mind off all the scary stuff?


  5. Call me a skeptic, but your body is literally made from chemicals. As are your rugs, your organic mattress, etc. Just because you’ve never heard of a chemical doesn’t mean it is bad for you, or that it is “unnatural”.


  6. Steve, while I admire critical thought as a process, it’s a bit weak to ignore the obvious colloquial usage of the word ‘chemical’ here. The fact that context beyond that implicit in casual dialogue is established by a news article makes your first point that much more childish.

    Additionally, nobody mentioned that a substance is dangerous simply by virtue of it being relatively unknown.

    I’m thinking you weren’t in debate club…

    To address what I believe is your point, there are substances which are clearly dangerous, and those are the ‘chemicals’ referenced in both the article and this discussion.

    PBDEs are known toxins. Being skeptical of peer-reviewed science goes beyond responsible critical thought and takes you into a comfy place called ‘denial.’

    With skepticism comes, in my opinion, a responsibility to add to the discourse. If you’re suggesting that PBDEs aren’t toxic, or that there were flaws in the many studies showing as much, let us know why. Give us details. If you feel the transposition of reactions from a rat-based study to real-world, human conditions is the weak point, let us know why.

    I’m sure you have a lot to add, but thus far, you’re only arguing unstated points with nonexistent people!


  7. i had no idea a friggin COUCH could be harmful to a child! we live in one fucked up world.


  8. OUCH! This article hurt me. It hits very close to home. People tell me that I am over paranoid all the time because I worry about things like this on a regular basis. I mean, just how much do you have to do to keep your kids safe in this world? It’s not enough that I/we eat organically, and don’t drink tap water, use fluoride free toothpaste, glass baby bottles, wooden toys, etc. But now I have to worry about my couch, crib mattress, using saran wrap and non-stick pans????? That’s enough to drive a protective mother mad! I am going to go broke, insane or both before my kid is old enough to walk. Why does everything have to be so corrupt? Why has big business become so consumed with using cheap materials to stretch the almighty dollar further at our expense? Why can’t things just be simple? I already know the answer to these questions…..but it doesn’t make it any less unbearable….

    I’m just so beyond frustrated at this point that I have to pay so much extra on “organic this” and “all natural” that just to ensure the safety of my children (working on minimum wage mind you), when the truth is that I shouldn’t have to. Big business should stop cutting corners, especially when it comes to baby/children’s products for gods sake! plastic should be plastic, and cotton should be cotton, etc. etc. I just don’t understand why it has to be this way, and why it has been allowed to get so far out of hand. This is a parent’s worst nightmare…..


  9. Amen, sister!! Amen!!


    Seriously, I feel very much the same way.


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