I recall a few days before I gave birth to my twins 26 years ago. I decided to paint the baseboards of their nursery a soft green to match the topiary green wallpaper. So elegant.
There I was, 50 pounds heavier and full of two babies. I was so big I could barely move. But I was determined. I’d crouch to the floor, paint a few strokes, then stand up because I couldn’t breathe in that position due to the weight of the babies.
My family’s nickname for me during my pregnancy was Darth Vader since you could hear me breathe from the other room. But I finished the baseboards!
Fast forward to today. I now know that the paint and all the décor and furniture in my kids’ nursery was completely toxic and filled with chemicals. It was a nursery full of poison, tragedy and despair.
If I knew then what I know today, boy, that nursery would have done a 360 in its design. I would never have used anything animal based and not only for ethical reasons.
Vegan design is healthier and humane. Leather, fur, down and wool originates from beautiful, living, breathing creatures. Once the skin or material is removed from an animal, it will rot and become infested with bugs unless it’s soaked in highly toxic chemicals.
For example, leather contains over 250 toxic chemicals. One of them is cyanide, a poison that can cause severe and fatal illnesses. The production of leather is responsible for pollution to waterways and tannery workers suffer a range of health problems.
Most crib sheets are soaked in formaldehyde, another toxin that can be deadly.
The majority of crib and toddler mattresses are filled with lethal toxins.
Some chemicals used for animal-based and factory-made decor in nurseries and kids’ rooms have been linked to health issues including allergies, asthma and sleep problems.
These chemicals don’t magically disappear when you place them in your child’s room. They are there, all around them, and your baby or child is absorbing everything through their porous skin and lungs as they breathe. Small children are fragile.
Humans aren’t the only one who suffer and become ill from chemicals.
The runoffs from the textile and furniture manufacturing facilities all over the world find their way into local rivers, streams and oceans.
All beings, human and non, drink and bathe in these toxic waters, become ill and even die. It is tragic and unnecessary.
A safe, clean and ethically (vegan) positive environment is crucial for children to be happy, healthy and strong.
Here’s 10 chemicals that you must avoid in your infants and child’s room. These chemicals are in fabrics, mattresses, paint, rugs and furniture:
• PBDE flame retardants. A recent study found these chemicals are the greatest contributor to intellectual disabilities in children.
• PFAS (pee-fas). PFAS is in almost everything including upholstery where it’s used to protect the fabric. It’s called the forever chemical. A recent study found PFAS was detected in the blood of 97% of Americans.
• Formaldehyde. A colorless chemical with a strong odor that is commonly found in pressed-wood products and furniture, glues, adhesives, plywood, fabrics, and product coatings including wrinkle free sheets.
• Azo dyes. Commonly used in the textile industry. It’s highly toxic and carcinogenic.
• Chlorine. Used in the process of cleaning wool.
• Pesticides. Used to keep animal derived materials free from insects.
• Phthalates. A class of chemicals used in nearly every consumer product, from plastics to tablecloths. As for furniture, they can be found in floor tiles, furniture, upholstery and carpet backings. More than 470 million pounds of phthalates are produced or imported in the United States each year, according to the EPA.
• Arsenic. A deadly chemical found in leather and other products. Animal skins are transformed into leather hides in tanneries. Tanneries are one of the most toxic industries globally and cause immense environmental pollution.
• Lead. A lethal chemical used in fur production.
I know it’s a lot to take in. But it’s crucial for the mental and physical development of your child to surround them in as “clean” and positive an environment as possible.
Deborah DiMare’s online course Vegan & Safe Babies & Kids Room Design 101 teaches you how to decorate, with Deborah’s guidance, a beautiful space for your baby and child that is healthy, non-toxic and non-animal based. Use code 25VBM to get $25 off. Details are here.
Deborah DiMare is a vegan and wellness design expert, interior decorator, author, speaker and global influencer for the ethical, healthy design movement. She is the founder of DiMare Design and the creator of the Vegan Design Specialty Certification Course. Her design expertise has been featured on the Today Show, NBC, TLC and in national and global publications including Forbes, The Los Angeles Times and more.