By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief—The Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment suggests five actions for parents to follow to reduce their children’s exposure to environmental hazards at home. While the recommendations are not really new, it’s worth reminding parents of young children and women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy to be mindful of potential hazards from common household substances. Here are the recommendations (you can download the free brochure):
- Minimize dust in the air (which may contain minute lead particles) by frequent vacuuming and by using a damp cloth when cleaning.
- Use nontoxic cleaners (baking soda or vinegar and water are recommended as ‘green’ cleaners, and a number of commercial products without harmful chemicals are now available) and avoid antibacterial soap and items with added fragrances to minimize exposure to chemicals.
- Seal off areas undergoing renovation to avoid dust and fumes. Caution women who are pregnant and young children to avoid the area.
- Minimize exposure to plastic to avoid exposures to bisphenol A (BPA) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Avoid storing food in plastic (glass or ceramics are recommended) or microwaving food that’s in plastic containers or covered with plastic wrap; discard soft plastic toys that contain vinyl or PVC that might be used by or come into contact with infants and children.
- To minimize exposure to mercury, be mindful of the kind of fish you eat and how often you eat it.
Also, see “Best Practices in Environmental Health” in our June 2009 issue.