If you’ve already built your baby’s bed foundation with a non-toxic crib mattress, you’ll want to dress it up with organic baby bedding that’s not only healthier for their tiny bodies, it’s healthier for the earth, too.
Like conventional cotton used to construct your baby’s mattress, common cotton used in your baby’s sheets and mattress covers can come with several health and environmental ills. Cotton uses enormous quantities of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides—all chemicals that stay with the cotton and come in contact with your baby’s skin as she sleeps. As we’ve mentioned before, most of these chemicals are classified as hazardous to human health by the World Health Organization (WHO), so you don’t want those things poisoning your baby.
The dyes used to make your baby’s sheets whimsical and coordinated with the room’s color scheme can also harm their health. Many dyes used to print patterns on cotton contain toxic ingredients like lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium, all of which have grave health consequences if large exposures are experienced.
Many sheets and mattress covers are also made with polyester, which is a petroleum-by product. That means not only is it non-renewable, it contributes to environmentally-disruptive oil drilling practices that result in ocean, air, and land pollution.
Finally, most mattress covers are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This soft plastic results in serious environmental and health risks throughout its manufacture and disposal. Most importantly, it contains phthalates, which is a group of chemicals that can cause testicular diseases and disrupt hormone function. But disposing of PVC also results in the release of dioxins, one of the most toxic environmental contaminants invented by humans and a known carcinogen.
So, what are good alternatives to conventionally-made baby bedding options? Here are some clues to choosing safe, healthy sheets and mattress covers for your little one:
- Organic cotton: Grown without chemicals, this option means your child will be exposed to fewer agricultural toxins while they sleep. You can usually find organic cotton blankets, sheets, and comforters—sometimes at your local department store, but also through online retailers that specialize in natural baby bedding, such as Coyuchi, Sage Creek, and Under the Nile.
- Fiber alternatives: Opt for cotton fabric alternatives, like bamboo and hemp. These are both renewable, are incredibly soft, and are most often grown without agricultural chemicals and can be found online through Baby Bambu, Bamboosa, and Kiddopotamus.
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