There is nothing more adorable than a baby learning to crawl. The moment you set him/her down on the carpet (that’s been meticulously cleaned and checked for random items that could be put in the mouth, of course), your little darling rocks back and forth, as if preparing to take off. Soon enough, they’re making their way across the room.
As long as the carpet in your home is clean and compliments your décor, you probably don’t give it much thought. That could be a fatal and long-term mistake.
What you may not know is that most carpeting is treated with toxic chemicals either during manufacturing or afterwards to strengthen the fibers, prevent staining, and extend the life of the product. Customers are often sold on the benefits of these stain-resistant carpets, but what’s not shared is the toxic effect these chemicals can have on adults, and even more so on babies and children.
After the off-gassing effects experienced by consumers were reported to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Greenpeace Research Laboratories released their analysis of the compounds found in carpets. Some of the effects consumers experienced included irritation to eyes, nose, and throat, difficulty breathing, and negative impact to the central nervous system.
Toxic Chemicals in Carpet Contribute to Increased Risk of Cancer
Toxic chemicals add undeniable stress to the immune system and are a major cause of cancer. Here are some of the chemicals commonly found in carpeting that you and your children are exposed to:
- Organotins – commonly used in pharmaceuticals, glass coatings, marine paint, pesticides, and fire retardant fabrics. Organotins contain lead, tin, and mercury. It is considered a global contaminant by the World Wildlife Fund.
- Permethrin – a powerful pesticide known as a neurotoxin: it attacks the central nervous system of insects.
- Triclosan – an antibacterial compound used in many cleaning products, hand soaps, personal care items, and children’s toys was proven to promote staph bacteria buildup in the sinus region. It also interferes with thyroid function, accumulates in nursing mothers breast milk, and is linked to developmental problems in fetuses and children.
- Formaldehyde – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges its immediate and long-term threat to human health. Recognized worldwide as a carcinogen, it’s found dominantly in home building materials, personal care products, cosmetics, and stain-resistant treatments.
- Brominated Flame Retardants – due to the incredible proliferation of their use, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have permeated more than 97 percent of households in the United States. They have been linked to thyroid disruption, infertility, and developmental damage in children. Many products for children test positive for PBDEs. These include: car seats, portable cribs, and strollers. Furthermore, these toxins are commonly used in mattresses, carpeting, and foam used in furniture.
- Phthalates – are used to make hard plastics flexible and durable in children’s toys, household goods, industrial manufacturing, garden tools, and cosmetics. This class of toxin is so prevalent experts estimate every human in the developed world has traces in their body. They’ve been proven to interfere with reproductive development and cause hormone dysfunction due to their endocrine disruptor properties.
What is the Government Doing about Toxic Chemicals in Your Home?
All of these chemicals produce long-term damage to the core systems of the body. Nevertheless, some government agencies attest to their “safety” in “trace” amounts. What government agencies don’t take into account is the synergistic toxic effects that these chemicals have when combined, which is how they are most often presented.
As chemicals are combined in the household, they have a toxic effect that goes beyond anything that one chemical could have singularly. Moreover, the chemicals in the average household products are bio-accumulative, which cause the safety margin for trace amounts to be exceeded very quickly.
Cancer Causing Chemicals are a Hidden Enemy in Our Midst!
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 80 percent of pesticide exposure occurs indoors, in the supposed “safety” of your own home. Not that they’re doing much to lower those numbers, but they did mention it.
The truth is these dangerous chemicals have been circulating for decades with very little oversight. It is only in the last 10 years that questions about chemicals in everyday products have been raised. Unfortunately, they have already seeped into the food and water supply.
Recent interest has exposed the presence of deadly toxins in our homes and their link to cancer risk, neurodegenerative disease, immune system malfunction, infertility, birth defects, and developmental problems.
Protect Your Children From the Risk of Cancer in Carpets
We begin life by crawling on toxic carpeting and quickly graduate to noxious toys, furniture, personal care products, food and cleaning products. There are so many toxins in our daily life that identifying all of them would require a laboratory.
In the meantime, consider laying down an organic play mat for your baby to crawl on, or getting natural untreated cotton or wool carpeting. You’ll be protecting them from some of the bio-accumulative effects of chemicals that could affect their health decades from now. It will be safe… and just as adorable.