Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The top five actions parents can take to reduce child exposure to toxic chemicals at home

Date:
June 15, 2011
Source:
Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment
Summary:
Controlling house dust tops a list of five ways parents can protect their children from toxic substances in and around the home, say leading health and environmental experts in Canada. The five most important things for parents to do to safeguard their kids’ health are: dust, use green cleaning products, do renos carefully, avoid certain plastics and serve low-mercury fish.

Controlling house dust tops a list of five ways parents can protect their children from toxic substances in and around the home, say leading health and environmental experts in Canada.

Related Articles


Controlling house dust; switching to less-toxic, fragrance-free cleaners; taking extreme care with renovation projects; avoiding certain types and uses of plastics; and choosing fish that are low in mercury are the five priority actions recommended by the Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment (CPCHE) to reduce common sources of toxic exposure associated with child health risks.

"If parents take simple actions in these five areas, they can significantly reduce their children's exposures to toxics -- and even save money," says Erica Phipps, CPCHE Partnership Director.

"A clean environment is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children and our grandchildren. It ensures they have the greatest chance of success, both in their early developmental years and throughout their lives," said Ontario Minister of the Environment, John Wilkinson. "The Ontario government is committed to ensuring that parents have the knowledge they need to minimize their children's exposure to toxic materials. That is why the Top Five Actions are a must-read for all parents."

The Top 5 Ways for Parents to Prevent Child Exposure to Toxics at Home

1) Bust that dust

Frequent vacuuming or wet mopping, and dusting with a damp cloth, top the list of recommended measures.

"House dust is a major source of children's exposures to toxic substances including lead which, even at very low levels, is known to be harmful to the developing brain." says Prof. Bruce Lanphear of Simon Fraser University, a world-leading expert on children's environmental health who serves as an advisor to CPCHE.

"The developing brain of a fetus or young child is particularly susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of lead, mercury and other toxic chemicals," Dr. Lanphear adds. "An infant will absorb about 50 per cent of ingested lead, whereas an adult absorbs about 10 per cent. This, combined with children's frequent hand-to-mouth behaviour, places children at much greater risk."

In May, Health Canada researchers released data from the Canadian House Dust Study that showed measurable concentrations of bioaccessible lead (lead that can be absorbed by the body) in all homes tested, with values ranging from 8 to 3916 parts per million (ppm), as measured from analysis of the contents of vacuum cleaner bags.

CPCHE's recommendations, which are being presented to parents in a brochure and on the CPCHE website, focus on simple steps that parents can take now without making major changes. CPCHE will release a short video later this year to reach more parents with the recommendations.

"Expectant and new parents, in particular, need practical advice to help them safeguard their children from health risks -- such as learning and behavioural disorders, asthma, cancer and certain birth defects -- that researchers have linked to toxic chemicals found in and around the home," says Phipps. "The time of greatest vulnerability is in the womb."

2) Go green when you clean

Parents can reduce their family's exposure to toxic chemicals and save money by switching to simple, non-toxic cleaners.

Baking soda is a good scouring powder for tubs and sinks, and vinegar mixed with water works well for cleaning windows, surfaces and floors, the experts point out. Avoiding the use of air "fresheners" and selecting fragrance-free laundry detergents can reduce children's exposures to the chemicals used to make fragrance or "parfum," some of which have been linked to disruption of normal hormone function.

Echoing the advice of physician groups, including the Canadian Medical Association, the experts also advise against the use of antibacterial soaps.

3) Renovate right

If families are upgrading their homes, CPCHE recommends that pregnant women and children stay away from areas being renovated to avoid exposure to contaminant-laden renovation dust and toxic fumes from products such as paints, caulking and glues. Care must be taken to seal off the area being renovated from the rest of the home using plastic sheeting, and careful dust-busting is essential during and after any renovation or repair project.

4) Get drastic with plastic

Parents can take protective action by being selective in their use of plastic products, especially when it comes to serving and storing food. The experts caution parents not to use plastic containers or wrap in the microwave, even if the label says "microwave safe," as the chemicals in the plastic can migrate into the food or beverage. Eating fresh and frozen foods whenever possible will reduce exposure to Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in the lining of most food and drink cans. BPA is associated with a wide range of potential health effects, including impacts on the developing brain and disruption of endocrine (hormone) function.

The experts also caution about plastic products made of PVC, commonly known as vinyl, which contains a class of chemical plasticizers knows as phthalates that are associated with diverse health effects. Although phthalates are banned from some children's toys as of June 2011, many other vinyl products are still on the market, such as bibs, shower curtains and children's raincoats. The experts advise parents to discard older toys and teethers that are made of this soft plastic.

5) Dish safer fish

To reduce children's exposure to mercury, a metal that is toxic to the brain, the experts advise choosing varieties of fish that are low in mercury, such as Atlantic mackerel, herring, rainbow trout, wild or canned salmon and tilapia. If serving canned tuna, look for "light" varieties, as these are lower in mercury than albacore or "white" tuna. If you catch fish in local waters, check your province or territory's advisories to see whether it is safe to eat, the experts add.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment. "The top five actions parents can take to reduce child exposure to toxic chemicals at home." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110615171402.htm>.
Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment. (2011, June 15). The top five actions parents can take to reduce child exposure to toxic chemicals at home. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110615171402.htm
Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment. "The top five actions parents can take to reduce child exposure to toxic chemicals at home." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110615171402.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins