Hidden & Harmful Chemicals for Young Children

When we think of chemicals harmful to children and young babies, our minds are immediately cast to places like under the sink and in our sheds. Those are the most obvious places and should be kept out of babies reach or locked up using a Basic Cupboard Lock or Value Multi-Lock. But are we really considering all the places in our home where your little one could encounter harmful chemicals and substances? Apart from the obvious and acute safety issues that arise from direct contact with harmful chemicals, there may be other areas in the house that have the potential to cause more long term issues such as cancer, ADHD and other harmful conditions and diseases. Here we run through some of those often overlooked and hidden dangers posed by chemicals in items found around many homes.

Formaldehyde - A  known carcinogen and skin irritant is Formaldehyde – with the potential to promote various types of cancer and skin reactions and even symptoms like stinging eyes and sore throats. Products that contain Formaldehyde can be found in obvious products such as glue and cleaning products, but also in more hidden places such as beauty products and even pressed wood that's often found in presses and drawers! Steer clear of pressboard MDF products if possible, and avoid any household or beauty products that contain the following:

  • Quaternium 15
  • Bronopol
  • Diazolidinyl urea,
  • DMDM hydantoin,
  • Imidazolidine urea,
  • Sodium Hydroxymethyl Glycinate.


Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates - BPA (Bisphenol A) is the basic material used in plastics – hard plastics are found everywhere including water bottles, CD’s, car dashboards and even some toys.

When BPA is absorbed into our bodies it mimics natural hormones such as estrogen and studies have shown that even with low-level exposure can lead to early puberty, increased risk of cancer, depression, and obesity. Studies can be found everywhere on the subject and as a result, BPA is almost never used in baby feeding bottles and baby feeding products. It is certainly worth confirming before purchasing any baby feeding products that they are BPA-free. In addition to this, ensure you take steps the necessary steps that your child's food is heated in BPA-free containers in the microwave and always purchase canned foods or foods storage containers that are BPA-free.

Another risk of ingesting BPA is through the use and re-use of plastic, disposable water bottles. While many people find these types of water bottles convenient to use, you should never drink water from bottles that have been sitting in your car for a couple days, exposed to heat over a long period of time, or just re-using over and over in general. It's best to use an eco-friendly, washable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated and away from the harmful substance BPA.

Mercury - is a naturally occurring chemical that is found in water and soil and even air. Exposure to mercury even in very small quantities can cause serious health problems and is a significant threat to a child’s health even during pregnancy. Mercury is considered by the WHO (World Health Organization) as one of the top 10 chemical groups to avoid and can have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems. Mercury can be found in products such as thermometers but people are mainly exposed to mercury when they consume shellfish and fish that contain the compound (check out this video with actor Jeremy Piven who fell victim to mercury poisoning from eating seafood below):



Arsenic - is well known for its potential to be carcinogenic and has been linked to various cancers including lung cancer, skin cancer, and kidney cancer. Arsenic is all around us as it occurs organically in nature, however, certain foods have higher concentrations. Grape juice and rice are known to contain higher, naturally occurring arsenic as well as the potential for increased levels if inorganic arsenic that have been absorbed from pesticides during agriculture. Of course, rice, rice-based products, and grape juice/grapes can be consumed in limited amounts even on a daily basis but consideration should be given not to over do it on rice and grape-based products at multiple meals throughout the day. Watch out of products such as rice drinks and cereal mixes and keep consumption moderate.

Leave a Reply