What are the three most common mistakes parents make when it comes to the environment?
Experts: Deirdre Dolan and Alexandra Zissu, authors of The Complete Organic Pregnancy
1. Using plastic bottles
Parents spend too much time obsessing over what might be lurking in plastic bottles, sippy cups, toys, and food storage containers, and an inordinate amount of time trying to locate “safer” plastic versions. Avoiding plastic altogether eliminates both the obsessing — if it isn’t plastic, what’s the worry? — and the hours spent trolling the internet. Tried and true environmentally-friendly and safe materials like glass, stainless steel and (hard) wood cover pretty much everything most families own in plastic versions. If there’s something only available in plastic, make sure it’s #2, #4 or #5. Don’t remember the numbers? Write them down on a scrap of paper and tuck it in your wallet.
2. Renovating during pregnancy
It’s natural when pregnant to want to build a nest for the little one, and that usually involves ripping down walls, tearing up carpets, and new coats of paint. As counter-intuitive as it feels, try to totally avoid renovation, particularly during the first few months while baby’s organs are developing. You have no idea what toxins – lead, formaldehyde and VOC’s – are being unearthed and inhaled, especially in older homes. Your pumpkin-sized new roommate probably won’t mind if the walls are a little dingy and she’s sleeping in a closet. If you absolutely must do some work, try and get out of the house for as long as possible while it’s going on.
3. Not buying green
We used to assume there was adequate government regulation with regard to pretty much everything we saw on the shelves of our supermarkets and stores, but the reality is far from it (lead paint? Teflon?). Food is the only thing that can be certified organic, so it’s up to you to do your own homework when it comes to everything else – cleaning products, personal care products, furniture and household products. Use green cleaners (or make your own), and choose organic/biodynamic beauty products (Saffron Rouge is a very reliable source). Ask questions and Google away.
Interview by Robert Quigley