What toxins can harm children and how can we avoid them in everyday products? Celebrity Angels chats to Pure Earth Collection.
Why are children more susceptible to air pollutants than adults?
Children breathe in 50% more air relative to their body weight than adults, so they inhale comparatively more pollutants than we do. Unfortunately, when young people are exposed to dangerous toxins at crucial stages of development it can cause severe complications for their long-term health. This is why Pure Earth Collection are so passionate about creating a range of natural baby products which are free from nasty chemicals and safer for babies.
What toxins are children commonly exposed to and what are the sources?
Some of the common toxins found in children’s products include: formaldehyde, lead and azo dyes, which are often added to clothing items, soft toys and glue used in furniture; PVC, EVA, phthalates and plasticisers, used for soft plastic items such as play mats, buggy covers, blackout blinds and bath mats; polyester and other plastic-based fabrics, used in fabrics and teddies.
What immediate and long-term health implications are there from children’s exposure to toxins?
Immediate reactions are usually quite easy to spot, such as rashes, eczema, breathing difficulties, developmental delay, irritability, weight loss and in extreme cases vomiting and seizures. But perhaps the most worrying effects of these chemicals are the long-term health implications that they can cause. Exposure to phthalates, which are common in many household items such as plastics, cosmetics and synthetic fragrances, has been linked to autism (particularly in young boys), cancer, issues with motor skills and speech difficulty. Exposure to lead, even in small quantities, can severely impact physical and mental development. Formaldehyde is a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it interferes with hormones and can affect fertility and increase the risk of cancer.
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What dangers are there in materials such as polyester and polyurethane?
Polyester is made using crude oil and a combination of chemicals which turns the oil into a plastic, and then into a yarn which can be spun to make fabric. The fabric is often treated with additional chemical dyes and softeners. Polyester particles can be easily ingested resulting in internal deposits of plastic that will leach chemicals into the body over time as they break down. Polyurethane releases VOCs into the air that are harmful to human health when breathed in.
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What is the importance of temperature regulation for sleeping babies?
Young babies are not able to regulate their body heat as effectively as adults and can easily overheat. Overheating is thought to be strongly linked to sudden infant death syndrome, so it’s really important to make sure your babies are kept at a comfortable temperature. You can find lots more information on this on the Lullaby Trust website – a fantastic non-profit organisation who have done decades of research into this.
What certifications should I look out for to ensure fabrics are safe?
The best certification to look for to ensure your fabric is safe is the organic GOTS certification. This is our favourite one as it also looks into supply chains, environmental impacts and welfare of workers, so it’s an all-round winner! Oeko-Tex Standard 100 also have strict requirements for fabrics but this certification does not require fabrics to be organic.
What natural materials are available to make children’s products and how are they manufactured?
Organic cotton, bamboo and new fabrics such as modal and Tencel are brilliant for children’s clothes and soft toys, but in our view they are not used nearly enough in the children’s market. Fabrics aside, using natural materials to make children’s products is not yet mainstream and so manufacturers often don’t make it an easy or accessible option for most brands. It’s something, as a brand, we have really had to actively research and look for, and then persuade manufacturers to experiment with natural materials which they have not used before.
Where can I find some recommendations for baby-conscious brands?
We have a Conscious Brands Directory on our website which lists some of our favourite natural brands.
What’s the history of Pure Earth Collection?
We were started in 2017 when our founder couldn’t find certain baby products made from totally natural and non-toxic materials. After much research, sampling and safety testing, we launched the next year with our pioneering 100% natural fabric organic baby sleeping bags and organic cotton comforters. We have grown from there and added products to our range over the years, largely led by customer demand for certain products which people wanted in a natural form. In 2019 we launched our non-toxic play mats made from totally natural foam, and they sold out within months, so we had to find a way to make a lot more very quickly! And we’ve recently added our organic blackout blinds and sensory toys to the range which are proving hugely popular.
Where can I buy Pure Earth Collection products?
Our products are available through around 30 stockists and also via our website www.pureearthcollection.com/shop/