How to Create a Toxin-Free Environment For Your Family

Here you’ll find a guide to air quality indexes nationwide.
This site lists what specific products contain.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site has information on lead and other metals, smoking, traffic, mold and moisture, VOCs, personal care products and local drinking water.

At, you’ll find art and outside activities related to the environment, plants and animals, recycling and more.
This Web site has a great section on kids from infancy to college age.
The focus of this site is on environmental change in the oceans and on land.
This kid-friendly site provides environmental education for all ages.
Discover eco-conscious family tips here on everything from eliminating toxic chemicals from your house to buying tissue paper.

The most important thing to remember about toys is to avoid plastics that contain phthalates or PVC. Additionally, toys painted with bright colors, mostly imported from other countries, can contain lead (remember the toys-from-China scare?). For the most environmentally friendly toys, try these Web sites:

Whenever possible, buy organic cotton and wool, and natural fibers such as bamboo. Wash everything in a nontoxic detergent before you put it on your baby. Better yet, an environmentally friendly and cost-conscious way to obtain clothes is from friends’ kids (hand-me-downs usually come with great stories, too) or at secondhand stores. For new clothes, browse our new organic store, featuring Organically Grown items. Visit now!

A basic rule: Any ingredient you can’t pronounce has no place in your child. Buy organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible and wash all produce well. The best place to buy is at farmers’ markets, where you can talk to the growers. As your baby gets older and eats adult food, avoid added thickeners, salts, sugars, starch and chemicals. This is easy if you eat mostly unprocessed foods. These Web sites offer organic or sustainable formula, baby foods and more:

Mary Jane Horton is a writer and editor in Pasadena, Calif., whose two teenagers have taught her everything she knows about being green.