By Tesi Johnson
Asthma, neurobehavioural disorders, lead poisoning and even cancer are some of the ailments that studies have shown to be caused by the presence of environmental contaminants in the places where children play and grow.Here are four easy ways a parent can reduce their child’s exposure to such toxicants, and give them a chance at a healthier future.
Studies found that tobacco smoke carries about 250 poisonous gases, chemicals and several harmful metals. Children who are exposed to these compounds through second-hand and even third-hand smoke are at risk for developing respiratory illnesses such as asthma, and even cognitive deficits and psychological problems such as ADHD. So if you are a smoker, and a parent, now’s the time to quit.
2. Use “green” cleaning agents
Many conventional cleaning solutions are comprised of various toxic chemicals that can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can cause damage to the heart, liver or kidneys; cancers; or damage to the central nervous system in children. Instead of these potentially harmful products, use environmentally-friendly cleaning agents in the home that do not contain such pollutants. In many cases, you can even make your own safe cleaning solutions using common household products such as vinegar and baking soda.
3. Feed them organic foods
Children are at a greater risk for developmental defects from pesticide exposure and food preservatives due to their smaller size, fast growth rate and speedy metabolism. Reduce, or eliminate their intake of processed foods, and foods grown using pesticides and instead fill their diet with organically grown and prepared fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
4. Be careful of the toys they play with
Lead, even at very low levels as that found in the paint used on some toys, is a serious threat to the central nervous system of children, especially in children under the age of six years old. Prevent your children from coming into contact with lead by ensuring that your child does not have access to surfaces painted with lead-based paint, including toys. Also test your home for the presence of lead dust and be sure to wash children’s hands before they eat. Wash their bottles, toys and pacifiers often too.