How to make a toxic-free home for your baby

Experts warn against certain chemicals found in everyday mother-baby products.

Having a baby certainly brings change to a household. When Shiri Sarfati decided it was time to be a mom, she turned her home upside down.

“As soon as we started thinking about having a baby, I wanted our home to be free of chemicals,” says the native New Yorker. “When I was pregnant, I became so sensitive to even the smell of Windex, I just couldn’t be anywhere near it.”

Her body also became sensitive to beauty products, too, and now that she’s breastfeeding, she’s extravigilant: “If I eat broccoli and it makes the baby gassy, then [it only follows that] if I use a chemical in a skin care product, it’s going to have an effect,” she surmises.

Annette Rubin, the co-author of “Belli Beautiful: The Essential Guide to the Safest Health and Beauty Products for Pregnancy, Mom, and Baby,” agrees. “Pregnant moms should avoid teratogens — ingredients that have been linked to birth defects. New moms should avoid ingredients that may be harmful to their breast milk supply, and babies should be kept clear of hormone-mimicking ingredients.”

Rubin says that pregnant and nursing moms need to become label-reading experts: “Deciphering the labels on health and beauty products can be a challenge if you didn’t major in chemistry with a minor in Latin,” says Rubin. “You have to review the ingredient research and use that knowledge to change your purchasing habits.”

As executive vice president of her mother’s seaweed-based skin care line, Repêchage, Sarfati knows firsthand about dangerous synthetic chemicals.

“I learned from my mother about what’s going into a product,” she says. “Consumers ask more questions these days and that’s very good. But we need to stay aware.”

What to avoid

Sarfati’s chemical no-no list is long, but these are at the top of it:

The oil industry by-product, listed in the European Union’s Dangerous Substances Directive (UNECE 2004), is linked with breast cancer. “It’s in the leading brand of baby care products and cosmetics. It interferes with the body’s natural moisturizers and makes your skin drier.”

Synthetic fragrance and colors
“These are superfluous. People want bright, pretty colors, but natural pigments create nice shades, too. We are inhaling these toxic fumes in our homes on a daily basis. Fragrances can be a great irritant and cause allergies. Breathing in a toxic cloud is not good.”

BPA (bisphenol A)
“There are so many BPA-free bottles and toys on the market and many retailers banned BPA products. Glass bottles and wooden toys are also available, but not as widely distributed as plastics. Soft toys made from organic cotton are great as well.”

Expert-approved sunscreens for kids

Don’t let all of Mother Nature’s bounty fool you: Ingredients like lavender might be good for aging bodies, but not for young skin, Rubin says. “People have this perception that because it’s natural, it’s great, but we’re trying to debunk that myth,” she says.

She recommends:

  • Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick SPF 30, $8,
  • Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35, $15,
  • Dr. Robin for Kids All Natural Chemical-Free Sunscreen SPF 30, $28,
  • Lavanila Healthy Baby Block SPF 40, $20,


Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…


Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…


Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…


Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…


‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'


Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.


'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…


Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.


Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.


Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version


This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…


This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…


Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.


5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.