Sunday, May 25, 2008

Carcinogenic Cribs ... and why you need to check out

Given that we are only buying two very efficient pieces of furniture for the Babe, a lot went into our decision on the crib, or at least I thought. Cost, space and ultimately quality were all top considerations. Last weekend we ordered the Sorelle Sophia from Buy Buy Baby. I did a quick gut check in the infamous Baby Bargains book and found Sorelle cribs receive a B rating; they are tops for quality but get dinged for customer service. But perhaps I wasn't fastidious enough. I only wish I had picked up an issue of BabyTalk magazine before we committed. Going through the June/July issue last night, I dogeared an ad for Healthy Child Healthy World. It's websites like these that I both love and loathe. It's chock full of great information on toxins, pesticides and other scary things you can bring into your home. My mistake was to click on a blogpost about formaldehyde in cribs. Yes, FORMALDEHYDE IN CRIBS.

Author Jennifer Taggart, writes: "Formaldehyde in cribs and changing tables shouldn’t be a surprise. It is common for composite wood products – like particle board and medium density fiberboard (MDF) – are held together with formaldehyde based resins. Unfortunately, the formaldehyde escapes from these products, polluting indoor air. And formaldehyde can be released for many years. But, you might not have thought that a crib or changing table could contribute significantly to formaldehyde emissions in the home. Unfortunately, Environment California’s testing shows that cribs and changing tables can be significant sources. And when you consider that your baby spends a lot of time in that nursery, you might want to look for alternatives. A bit of good news? The California Air Resources Board has enacted a regulation that will start to limit formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products beginning in 2009."

The full blog post, which I highly encourage you to read, lists some of the most offending products. None of the Sorelle products were listed but how can I be sure my quality wood crib isn't fashioned with composite wood. The catalog says simply it is made of pine, but somehow I need more reassurance.

Googling "Sorelle Sophia" doesn't get me very far. I first click on a link for which tells me that Sorelle products are "custom crafted with European designs using solid wood and veneers." Solid wood. Sounds promising. But this is not the bullet-proof affirmation I now find myself at 6:45 on a Sunday morning looking for.

After scrolling through a few pages of useless information, I return to my best friend, the Google search box. I punch in "Sorelle Crib Materials." (Kudos to NexTag for the good search placement; all I'm seeing on the first page is a bunch of product offerings. The only thing I learned so far is that we actually got a very good deal on our crib.) I see a few product reviews claiming that Sorelle cribs feature non-toxic finishes but the marketing speak makes me dubious.

Looks like I'm going to have to call the manufacturer on Tuesday, which means I now get to spend the rest of my weekend worrying about it.


ONNO said...

I would never have thought to worry about formaldehyde in cribs. There is so much to worry about in protecting our children from day one. Thanks for sharing this information.

Dagny McKinley
organic apparel

Sustainababe said...

Hi Dagny -
Thanks for writing. I hate to say it but it is a bit comforting to know I'm not the only one who was unaware.

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