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It Is NOT Easy Being GREEN Part I

And anyone who tells you otherwise, is lying. Here's where I'm coming from:

Over the past several years I've gotten more environmentally conscious — and as more and more studies have come out linking all of our man-made synthetics and plastics to a whole host of conditions including cancer, fertility problems, allergies, asthma, and behavior disorders, I've tried to be as green as I could not only for the planet, but also for my health. For me, that's meant eating organic food as much as possible, avoiding mercury-laden fish, and buying natural cleaning products (brands like Seventh Generation and Shaklee) in lieu of traditional cleaning products with chlorinated bleach. Easy steps to take, right? Right.

But of course when I started to think about getting pregnant, my interest in living a life that is as pesticide-free and natural as possible skyrocketed to a whole new level. (I'm not the only one, as evidenced by the quest this writer took, published in New York Magazine.) And I'm not crazy for doing so. As any self-respecting environmental expert will tell you (and I've interviewed many of them for articles I've written) the synthetic chemicals that are ubiquitous in our food, our kids' toys, our beauty products, our carpeting, our plastic containers, and more, are particularly dangerous to fetuses and babies. Their tiny bodies are in the process of developing immune systems and endocrine systems, so doing away with as many toxins as possible during this crucial developmental time is key. (Here is just one article highlighting the issue) The problem is, I've discovered, that finding natural alternatives can be far from easy.

Have you tried finding an organic couch or rug that isn't at least three times as expensive as conventional ones? Have you called the manufacturers of regular furniture companies and successfully gotten them to tell you if there is polyurethane in their foam cushions, or if their fabric is treated with synthetic chemicals? Have you been able to determine if the glue in your baby's crib contains formaldehyde? Do you know if there is synthetic latex in your seemingly harmless wool rug? Do the manufacturers of the furniture in your home even KNOW about what goes into their products, and are they willing to admit it? Well, I — and my mom, bless her — have spent countless hours on the phone and on the Internet trying to find the answers to these questions so we can simply get basic items for my home and nursery that aren't filled with potentially harmful chemicals — and we are still searching for answers.

And no, I'm not a raving lunatic who's been drinking the hippie, tree-hugging Kool-Aid. I am a fairly conventional person (really!), who has simply been convinced over years of research — both personal and professional — that our environment is filled with toxins. So I'm going to do what I can to limit them around my baby. I know I can't possibly eliminate all toxins from my baby's world — as I said, they're everywhere and I'm going to have to deal with that — but I'm trying to make her nursery and my home as safe a place as possible. And it's enough to drive a pregnant lady insane!

To be continued...stay tuned for the progress I've made on going green.