Chemical exposure – How can I reduce the risk for myself and my baby?
10-Minute Baby à la Carte has asked the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) about what parents can do to avoid exposing their children to harmful chemicals. Emelie Hansson, an agronomist at the SSNC has provided the following recommendations:
How does exposure to chemicals affect infants compared to adults?
Infants are particularly vulnerable to risks from harmful chemicals. This is partly because sensitive systems are still developing in their bodies, but also because their exposure in relation to their body weight is higher. Also, infants taste everything –even things that aren’t food – and they move around close to the floor where dust gathers. Infants are more exposed to residue from pesticides on fruits and vegetables because they eat and drink more in relation to their body weight. Also, at times they eat larger amounts of one particular food.
What are your recommendations when choosing:
It’s important for us to eat more fruits and vegetables in general. It’s good for us and for the environment! But I think it’s important, whenever possible, to choose organic vegetables for babies and pregnant women. One tip is to switch to less expensive organic vegetables. Non-organic tomatoes are often twice as expensive as organic Swedish carrots. My children eat organic carrots every day at home. I can sneak them into almost every dish I prepare.
When it comes to fruits, there are some “worst offenders” that I choose not to buy if there isn’t an organic option available. These include grapes, which are a real problem when it comes to chemicals, and citrus fruits treated with chemicals that are known to affect our health. I usually say that organic bananas aren't more expensive because they’re smaller and priced per kg. A large non-organic banana is often larger and therefore weighs more :)
3. Food in general...
Never have a bad conscience! Instead be happy about the positive steps you can take for you and your baby. Maybe it’s important to you to start switching to organic fruits or organic milk. When it comes to other choices in the kitchen, I’d like to suggest avoiding canned foods because the cans often contain the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA), as well as other plastic materials that come in contact with food. Plastic is more likely to leach chemicals when heated, so avoid heating food in plastic containers in the microwave, and serve hot food and drinks in vessels made from other materials.
4. Common products in the home, such as clothes, cleaning agents, hygiene items etc.
We can’t possibly protect ourselves from all harmful chemicals. But it is possible to avoid many of them. We’ve prepared ten tips to make it easy for you to get started. (These tips will soon be included in the 10-Minute Baby à la Carte app)
Any other tips for parents of small children?
When you have a baby it’s a golden opportunity to start thinking about your habits and about changing your priorities. Many companies are aware of this and take advantage of the opportunity to tell you what to buy as a responsible parent. A lot of what is offered is unnecessary. Moist towelettes may be practical if you have no access to water, but they contain chemicals that can enter the body through the skin. Babies have extra thin skin, particularly on their bottoms. A wet wash cloth, perhaps with a little soap, is the best thing for a baby’s bottom. Here are some more tips:
A big thank you, Emelie, for your great tips!
10-Minute Baby à la Carte
10-Minute Baby à la Carte is a smartphone app that facilitates buying and preparing food for children up to 12 months old. It features healthy and simple recipes based on Scandinavian cuisine, practical advice, facts and inspiration.