With over 3 million cases each year in the U.S. alone (based on data from Mayo Clinic), asthma is an extremely common ailment. The condition, which involves constriction, inflammation, and increased mucosal production in the airways, can range from a nuisance to life-threatening. Research by the Asthma Initiative of Michigan (AIM) has produced evidence suggesting that anywhere from 50-80% of children diagnosed with asthma “develop symptoms before their fifth birthday.” With the ailment able to present at such an early age, it follows that many parents today are choosing to buy baby safe paint for cribs.
What is in paint that can trigger a reaction?
An article by Allergy Standards advises that people with asthma and allergies in particular “avoid volatile organic compounds (VOCs),” chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at room temperature and thus can evaporate at any moment and be respired by a room’s environs. We recognize these VOCs and leaves them out of their paint products. The most common of these compounds, found in other paints, includes:
- Ethyl acetate
- Methylene chloride
These compounds can cause problems for children and adults alike. If you take this issue seriously, you are not alone; a study by the Survey Research Institue at Cornell University found that 59% of travelers would choose one hotel over another based on whether or not allergen-friendly rooms were available.
Why buy low-VOC paint?
Whether painting a porch, priming a floor, or putting the finishing touches on a new shed, many people, whether to prevent allergic reactions or simply to reduce environmental impact, prefer low VOC paint. However, because of the aforementioned prevalence of childhood asthma, it is particularly important to make sure to use baby safe paint for cribs. Infants spend large amounts of time sleeping and playing in their cribs, and as noted in an article by LiveStrong, “besides inhalation, physical contact is the most frequent means by which allergy sufferers are exposed to allergens.” Paint may not only trigger these reactions—recent research by the Harvard Schoool of Public Medicine suggests it may be helping to cause the conditions in the first place. Chemicals found in house paints actually been linked to “high rates of asthma, eczema, and congestion in children.”
Parents cannot control what paints are used at school, or at the mall, or anywhere else they may take their children. What they can control is which paints they use in the home. Using baby safe paint for cribs, and low VOC paint on other household surfaces, can minimize exposure to dangerous chemicals at a key time in life.