Below is a list of the three worst offenders of SVOC (semi volatile organic compounds) as discussed on Houston Radio’s Green Minute:

1. Phthalates: Phthalates are chemicals that mimic estrogen and therefore are highly toxic, especially for the fetus and children. They are commonly used as an ingredient in many formulations for building and interior materials and furnishings, from caulks and glues to wood fillers, spackles and products used to skim coat walls before paint is applied. Some toys contain phthalates, as do most kid’s activity mats. Any vinyl aka PVC product contains phthalates, such as vinyl flooring, black out curtains and shades, vinyl blinds and even conventional crib mattresses. First, insist that all the materials and products used in your nursery are 100% PVC-free. For other sources of phthalates in new products, do this: CHECK ALL MATERIALS AND PRODUCTS FOR PHTHALATES BY REVIEWING THE MSDS (material safety data sheet) FOR EACH PRODUCT, THEN CALL THE MANUFACTURER FOR POSSIBLE UNDISCLOSED LOWER LEVELS OF PHTHALATES.

2. Organophosphate Flame Retardants: The organophosphate class of flame-retardants, whether the halogenated or non-halogenated types his highly toxic, and some are carcinogenic . They are present in polyurethane foam of any kind and in any amount, whether it’s in mattresses, sofas, and all foam joint sealants, insulation or weather-stripping. Organophosphate flame-retardant chemicals are usually not disclosed by manufacturers. Toxic flame-retardants are present in many bu9lding and interior materials, but by avoiding all sources of polyurethane foam, you’ll have eliminated the most common sources. For the crib mattress, window treatments, carpet padding and other furnishings, double ch3eck that they are all 100% polyurethane foam free, and 100% organophosphate flame-retardant free.

3. Biocides: Bi8ocides include toxic anti-microbial chemicals, including both mildewcides and bactericides such as triclosan. Many baby products are treated with toxic antimicrobial chemicals that resist mold and bacteria. Antimicrobial chemicals are also present in many buildings and interior materials, including paints and finishes, drywall, caulks, and many other items. I suggest you use 0 VOC paints, which contain les chemicals than No VOC paints. A good synthetic brand if you’re going for least toxic synthetic paint (meaning made from synthetic petroleum products), is Mythic Paint. If you prefer pa9int made with all natural ingredients, Bioshield Clay Paints, and Aqua Trim Enamel for walls and woodwork provide a peaceful, soft and natural feel in the room

**** Note **** all information gleaned for the Green Minute and this blog was written my Mary Cordaro and published by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide.

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