When it comes to education, there is nothing nobler than homeschooling. It takes real guts and an immense dose of love, devotion and patience to educate your child at home instead of sending her off to the wing-breaking (and highly corruptive) institutions we call schools.

And the results can be pretty phenomenal: truly educated and emotionally resilient children, who can think for themselves and respect and trust their uniqueness.

Victory!

But since you offer your child the opportunity to develop optimally in a safe environment, wouldn’t you want to at least be aware of dangers in your own home that can sabotage children’s cognitive development and normal behavior?

Probably yes and this is what this article is about.

The average home contains a fair amount of chemical toxins that most people are not aware of because nobody ever told us!

These universal household toxins can effectively steal our kids’ intelligence and emotional resilience away because scientific studies link them to neurodevelopmental and cognitive delays, behavioural problems and even increased risk for psychiatric disease later in life.

Such poisons come in our homes from various external or internal sources (from pesticides/herbicides stuck in shoe soles to flame retardants in upholstered furniture and many more) but they eventually end up in the dust and indoor air to be inhaled or ingested by our children.

27

pesticides found in household dust (on average)

19

 hormone disrupting compounds found in indoor air (on average)

Children are in more danger

While every member of the family is exposed to these chemicals, babies, toddlers and young children not only ingest much higher quantities of toxins, due to hand-to-mouth behaviour, but their detox system is not mature enough to eliminate them very well. This is why recent research from 2014 (check it out, it is a really impressive study) showed that babies have on average 3 times more flame retardants in their bodies compared to their moms.

That’s a lot of chemicals for a rapidly developing body and brain…

Furthermore, exposure during critical windows of development, when kids are more sensitive to chemicals, can be even more harmful in the long run for babies and young children.

How is this allowed? Is it legal???

One (BIG) part of the problem is that public health policies are notoriously slow to take into account the available scientific evidence, even when it is overwhelming. And when they do catch up, these toxins persist in indoor spaces for many years after being banned. For example, research from 2003 showed that DDT is still found in 65% of household dust although it was banned 30 years earlier.

But let’s talk a bit more about flame retardants and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

These chemicals are added to cushioned furniture, mattresses and even baby products.

If your children are homeschooled, flame retardants is one of the major groups of concerning household toxins, because your kids spend a lot of time at home.

There is a big debate about flame retardants since the 70s, when they started adding a specific chemical, called brominated tris, to children’s PJs. When they found out that after just 1 night sleeping in these PJs this chemical had already passed in the blood of children, public outcry forced manufacturers to stop using this specific chemical. They substituted it however with another very similar one (chlorinated tris) until again public objections questioned the necessity of loading children’s bodies with these toxins. [Weird that we have to actually convince the industry that this is not ideal, huh?]

And with a good reason because exposure to flame retardants is now well known to negatively affect motor skills, learning, memory and hearing in developing babies and young children. Even more research has shown that children with the highest exposure to flame retardants display aggressive/ bullying behaviour, hyperactivity and inability to focus.

Not exactly the best start or future for children…

Unfortunately the very same chemicals are used in a variety of consumer products and policy makers are only in the initial stages of considering the possibility of phasing them out entirely.

Pretty shocking, right?

The question is, what do we do about flame retardants and other household toxins that affect cognitive development and behaviour in babies and children?

How can we protect them from experiencing the short and long term effects of such poisons?

 

Detoxifying your home is easy

The good news is that detoxifying our home is actually doable, when we have the right information and tools in our hands. It is essential to know where these toxins hide and how they end up in our living spaces. Sure there are toxic sources that are harder or more expensive to manage or eliminate, but even in these cases, knowing what we are up against opens up the way for planning ahead and making realistic and pragmatic decisions for reducing exposure in a gradual and consistent manner. This is the only way to avoid paralyzing overwhelm and frustration when you first start learning about all the different kinds of toxins that surrounds us.

For example, until 2015 flame retardants were added in all upholstered furniture by the pound. A large sofa had on average two (yes 2!) pounds of flame retardants in its foam, which are released continuously every time we sit on the sofa (that cloud coming out is not just dust…) and as the foam ages, even more chemicals escape into our home.

Is your sofa dangerous?

It depends.

If it was made (not purchased) before 2015 then it probably contains flame retardants. If you can/want to change it, there is a whole list of manufacturers that are now using barrier fabrics instead of flame retardants thanks to a fantastic update to the flammability standards for upholstered furniture in 2013.

And if you can’t replace your sofa right now or in the immediate future, there are some more cost effective solutions, like swapping the contaminated foam for untreated one.

This is how having the right information can help you understand what are the potential toxic sources in YOUR home, find suitable alternatives and then plan and make smart decisions in order to protect your children. You only need a step-by-step plan, to effectively eliminate these toxic nasties, up-to-date resources and pragmatic advice that works.

If you want to detox your home in a systematic & organised manner (like room by room), with all the research done for you, do check my brand new program SAFE. It is designed to show busy moms how to create a healthy home for thriving children.

Are you passionate about raising healthy & happy kids?

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