NORTHBROOK, Ill., Sept. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of Baby Safety Month, UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a world leader in advancing safety science, is reminding all parents to safeguard their children's health by focusing on the indoor air quality (IAQ) of their homes.
It may surprise parents to learn that indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which also reports that the average person receives 72 percent of his or her chemical exposure at home. UL's GREENGUARD Environmental Institute says that common household products like, mattresses, furniture, flooring, paint, and even cleaning supplies are items that can release potentially harmful chemicals, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), into the air of a home.
These chemicals can be harmful to the whole family, but especially to infants and young children. Babies are more vulnerable to experiencing adverse health effects from air pollutants because they inhale a greater amount of air relative to their body size, are closer to the ground where many airborne pollutants settle with gravity, and breathe more rapidly than adults do. As a result, experts say they are at an increased risk of suffering from many short- and long-term health problems associated with poor indoor air quality, including asthma and allergies. Exposure to chemicals like VOCs has also been linked to developmental disorders and, in rare cases, even cancer.
"Decorating a baby's nursery is an exciting project for parents-to-be, but with so much attention focused on design and decor, we often lose sight of the necessary safety and health considerations needed to prevent our nurseries from becoming a nest of harmful chemicals," says Dr. Marilyn Black, Founder of GREENGUARD Environmental Institute. "If we choose the right product first and take proper precautions, harmful chemicals won't get into the air we breathe. That's what low-emitting products can do—they help reduce the pollutants in the air we breathe."
As a safety science company that certifies products for low chemical emissions and administers the GREENGUARD certification mark, UL offers parents a free, searchable online guide featuring more than 10,000 GREENGUARD certified products. For all parents planning a nursery, UL suggests the following guidelines to breathe more easily throughout their home:
- Pick Paints Carefully: Look for third-party certified low-emitting paint, such as GREENGUARD Children & Schools certified paint, and be wary of paint products labeled "Low VOC," as this claim typically refers to paint's impact on outdoor– not indoor– air.
- Give Furniture Some Air: Allow furniture to off-gas for at least two weeks outside or in a well-ventilated space that's not heavily used. Wood finishes and engineered wood typically used in the construction of cribs are common sources of VOCs. Select a crib from UL's GREENGUARD Product Guide to ensure a healthier crib for your nursery.
- Choose GREENGUARD Certified Mattresses: UL's GREENGUARD certification mark on a mattress means that samples of that mattress have been verified for low chemical emissions by an independent third party.
- Clean Green: Choose cleaning products that bear third-party certification marks from UL Environment, EcoLogo®, or GREENGUARD. You might also consider making your own cleaning supplies out of household products like baking soda and vinegar.
- Consider Certified Flooring: Look for hardwood flooring that is GREENGUARD certified, or opt for carpet that is Green Label Plus certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI).
"When shopping for your home or nursery, look for UL's GREENGUARD mark, which indicates lower chemical emissions, says John Drengenberg, Consumer Safety Director for UL. "UL's GREENGUARD mark is one way to help assure parents that they are creating a healthier indoor environment for their family."
For UL's GREENGUARD product guide with a complete list of over 10,000 certified products visit SafetyAtHome.com.
UL is a premier global safety science company with more than 100 years of proven history. Employing nearly 9,000 professionals in 46 countries, UL is evolving the future of safety with five distinct business units – Product Safety, Environment, Life & Health, Verification and Knowledge Services – to meet the expanding needs of customers and the global public. For more information on UL's family of companies and network of 95 laboratory, testing and certification facilities, visit UL.com.
About the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute
The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute, part of UL Environment, aims to protect human health and enhance quality of life by improving indoor air quality and reducing chemical exposure. As an ISO-IEC Guide 65:1996 accredited, third-party organization, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions and serves as a resource for choosing healthier products and materials for indoor environments. All certified products must meet stringent chemical emissions standards based on established criteria from key public health agencies. GREENGUARD certification is broadly recognized and accepted by sustainable building programs and building codes worldwide. For more information and a complete listing of certified products, visit www.greenguard.org.