I am expecting a baby and want to prepare the baby’s room. Are there any safe products for me to use?

Even though it is a very common thing to fix up the baby’s room when you are expecting, we actually recommend that you avoid all home renovation work when you are pregnant. You already know that your developing fetus is at risk if you smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs. Likewise, toxic substances in the environment like lead or solvents also create health risks for a developing fetus. These and other toxic substances can occur at very high levels during home renovation and repair activities, especially in older pre-1990 homes.

  • Renovations and repair work can create dust containing high levels of lead. Other toxic substances in airborne or settled dust may include asbestos, PCBs, and toxic flame retardants.
  • New building materials, insulation, paints, caulking, and sealants may give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs often have a strong chemical smell. Some VOCs, such as formaldehyde, are very toxic, and many others can have harmful health effects.
  • Normal house dust is already a key source of exposure for children to toxic substances. Renovation and repair activities, especially in pre-1990 homes, can greatly increase levels of toxic substances in dust.

Ask yourself if the work is really necessary or let someone else to do it. Stay away while the work is going on, and make sure your home has been well aired-out and is as dust-free as possible before you come back. Be sure that the person doing the work follows best practices (see more information at the www.renovate-right.ca webpage on the CPCHE website).

Last updated June 2012