Shopping for your family? These are the toxic materials you should avoid in everyday products

BPA in your baby’s socks? Lead in plastic toys? Formaldehyde in furniture? Phthalates in your air freshener? Find out which toxic materials your family should be avoiding and why.

How to avoid chemicals in baby clothes

It’s safe to say that not all products are made equal. Due to the fact that it’s much cheaper to source materials from overseas and more convenient to opt for genetically modified ingredients, companies from every industry tend to turn a blind eye and happily print their misleading labels claiming they are, ‘natural, green and safe.’ But to what standard?

While we’re not saying you should go out and get each member of your family a plastic bubble to live, we are saying that it pays to check what might be lurking in the everyday products you buy for your home.

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • The reality of regulatory bodies
  • The chemicals you should be avoiding and why
  • The Tot approved non-toxic baby and kids products

Scroll down to learn more!

 

The reality of regulatory bodies

While it makes sense that you would think you could trust regulatory bodies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the truth is – they’re usually reactive instead of proactive when assessing products. This means one too many people are being exposed to chemicals that potentially wreak havoc on their bodies. Babies and children are particularly at risk because of their sensitive skin and delicate immune systems. (And desire to put everything into their mouth!)

At The Tot, we have a green living expert who looks at independent third party testing for every single product we recommend. Even she admits that it’s shocking to see the levels of ingredients that can be deemed as ‘safe.’ For example, in the US, paint is considered safe when it has toxic materials under 300 parts per million (ppm). In order for a company to claim low toxicity, it must have no more than 90 ppm (as mandated by CPSIA section 101). For us, that’s still too much. We want products, especially ones that our babies and kids use, to come in at less than 10 ppm.

 

The chemicals you should be avoiding and why

To help you shop a little smarter and a whole lot safer, we’ve listed the chemicals you should be avoiding and why.

 

Ingredient: Heavy Metals: Lead, Mercury and Cadmium

 

Why we avoid it:

When ingested, heavy metals such as lead, can cause nerve damage, learning and behavioral problems, reproductive damage and irreversible brain damage. Just as dangerous, mercury and cadmium can harm your body’s cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems. 

 

Where it’s found:

Heavy metals can be found in anything and everything and the tricky part is: you won’t see them listed on an ingredients list. This is because they’re a contaminate and even the FDA doesn’t mind if they’re there.

Products that may contain heavy metals:

  • Diapers
  • Cribs
  • Creams
  • Toys (plastic, painted wood, ceramic and metal!)
  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Strollers
  • Car Seats
  • Jewelry (particularly kids jewelry)
  • Paint
  • Furniture
  • Dyes
  • Makeup
  • Skincare
  • Household cleaners

 

Ingredient: Bisphenols (BPA + BPS)

 

Why we avoid it:

Bisphenols mimic the hormone, estrogen, and have been linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer, female infertility and obesity. BPA is an especially dangerous endocrine disruptor since even small amounts of this chemical have been shown to cause serious reproductive damage, especially when the exposure occurs in utero.

 

Where it’s found:

More likely than not, you’ve probably seen ‘BPA Free’ stickers plastered on baby bottles and other food storage containers at the grocery store. But did you know that it’s still allowed to be used in the manufacturing of toys? The extra depressing part: items that claim to be ‘BPA free’ should still be treated with caution because BPA is often replaced with other bisphenols like BPS, which is proving to be similarly harmful to our health.

Products that may contain bisphenols:

  • Baby bottles
  • Food storage containers
  • Lunch boxes
  • Water bottles
  • Canned food and beverages (the inside can be coated with BPA)
  • Plastic toys
  • Socks
  • Synthetic clothing
  • Plastic furniture
  • Receipt paper

 

 

Ingredients: PVC and Phthalates

 

Why we avoid it:

PVC is an incredibly toxic chemical that is harmful to our bodies and to the environment right from the production phase through to disposal. It contains additives like phthalates, lead, cadmium, organotin that are quite toxic and have been linked to asthma, allergies, reproductive problems and cancer. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors associated with liver and kidney lesions, a higher risk of certain cancers, and may exacerbate asthma and allergies in children.

 

Where it’s found:

PVC, also know as vinyl, is a soft flexible plastic that is widely used in the production of toys, clothing, furniture, gear and packaging. Phthalates often leach out of PVC, which is where that artificial plastic smell comes from. Even if a product is made of PVC and labelled ‘phthalate free,’  the PVC may still contain other additives like lead or organotins, which are also toxic and can affect the central nervous system, skin, liver, immune system and reproductive system.

Products that may contain PVC and phthalates:

  • Toys like plastic dolls and pretend makeup kits
  • Jelly shoes
  • Stroller accessories (like rain covers)
  • Skincare
  • Makeup
  • Hair products
  • Synthetic clothing
  • Furniture
  • Air fresheners

 

 

Ingredient: Formaldehyde

 

Why we avoid it:

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and very low levels can irritate and burn the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. Those with asthma may have exacerbation of symptoms when exposed to formaldehyde.

 

Where it’s found:

Often used as a preservative, formaldehyde seems to lurk in a lot of places. Toys and furniture made of composite wood could contain adhesives that release formaldehyde, which is why you want to make sure any wood products you buy are Title TSCA VI compliant. Formaldehyde is also sometimes used to bind pigments to fabric (in dolls and stuffed animals) in order to achieve wrinkle resistance and water repellence.

Products that may contain formaldehyde:

  • Wooden toys
  • Wooden furniture
  • Dolls and stuffed animals
  • Clothing (to prevent wrinkles)
  • Makeup
  • Skincare
  • Hair products
  • Nail polish
  • Carpet
  • Paper towels

 

 

Ingredient: PFAS

 

Why we avoid it:

PFAS (poly-fluoroalkyl substances) are a large family of different chemicals that have been shown to cause developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals.

 

Where it’s found:

PFAS chemicals are used to provide water and stain proofing finishes for fabrics. They’re also used to achieve non-stick surfaces.

Products that may contain PFAS:

  • Non-stick cookware
  • Furniture
  • Outdoor toys
  • Strollers
  • Outerware
  • Footwear
  • Lunchbox lining

 

Ingredient: Flame Retardant

 

Why we avoid it:

Flame retardant chemicals have been linked to endocrine and thyroid disruption, impacts to the immune system, reproductive toxicity, cancer and adverse effects on fetal and child development.

 

Where it’s found:

Preventing fire from spreading is incredibly important, but many brands are using chemicals that are far too dangerous. Luckily, companies like Nuna have opted for naturally flame-resistant materials like wool in their car seats, while HART + LAND opts for snug fitting pajamas.

Products that may contain flame retardants:

  • Play tents
  • Pajamas
  • Toy vehicles
  • Changing pads
  • Bath and pool water toys
  • Wigs
  • Stuffed animals
  • Mattresses
  • Furniture
  • Car Seats

 

The Tot Approved Non-Toxic Baby & Kids Products

Scroll down to discover and shop our best selling non-toxic products!

 

 

Erbaviva Organic Stretch Mark Trilogy

Erbaviva Organic Stretch Mark Trilogy

 

$72

BUY NOW

 

 

The Tot Feeding Sets Nursing

The Tot Feeding Sets: Nursing

 

$139

EXCLUSIVE

BUY NOW

 

 

Natursutten glass baby bottles

 

Natursutten Glass Baby Bottles (2 Pack)

 

Ranging from $30 – $34

BUY NOW

 

 

EKOBO Bambino Baby Feeding Set Blush

 

Ekobo Baby Feeding Set

 

$22

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

The Tot Mastering Mealtime

 

The Tot Feeding Sets: Mastering Mealtimes (18m +)

 

$119

EXCLUSIVE

BUY NOW

 

 

PlanetBox Rover Lunch Box

 

PlanetBox Rover Stainless Steal Lunchbox

 

$55.95

BUY NOW

 

 

PlanetBox Stainless Steel Water Bottle

 

PlanetBox Stainless Steel Water Bottle

 

$24.95

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Babyletto jubilee crib

 

Babyletto 3-in-1 Jubilee Crib

 

$599

BUY NOW

 

 

Nico & Yeye Minimo Bookcase Maple White

 

Nico & Yeye Minimo Modern Kids Bookcase – Maple

 

$358

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Babyletto Toco Swivel Glider & Ottoman White Linen

Babyletto Toco Swivel Glider & Ottoman

 

$499

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Clek Liing Jersey Knit Chrome

 

Clek 2020 Liing Infant Car Seat

 

$419.99

BUY NOW

 

 

Clek Foonf 2019 Slate

Clek Mammoth Wool Foonf Car Seat

 

$509.99

BUY NOW

 

 

Nuna Mixx Stroller in Oxford

 

Nuna Mixx Stroller

 

Ranging from $649.95 – $669.95

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

The Tot Learn & Play Set 0-3 m

 

The Tot Play & Learn Set 0 – 3 Months

 

$120

EXCLUSIVE

BUY NOW

 

 

PlanToys Vet set

 

PlanToys Vet Set

 

$30

BUY NOW

 

 

Hart + Land $150 Gift Set in Micro Chip Grey

 

HART + LAND Organic Essential 7 Piece Gift Set

 

$150

BUY NOW

 

 

jefferies socks white

 

Jefferies Organic Cotton Socks

 

$4.99

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Nest Diaper Size 1

 

Nest Baby Diapers

 

Ranging from $57 – $65

BUY NOW

 

 

Coterie Baby 8-Pack Wipes

 

Coterie 8 Packs of 56 Wipes

 

$47.95

BUY NOW

 

 

Erbaviva Baby Sun Stick

 

Erbaviva Sun Stick

 

$16

BUY NOW

 

 

Gryph & Ivyrose Newborn Essentials

 

Gryph & Ivyrose Newborn Essentials

$87

BUY NOW

 

 

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