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A new environmental report, published by Environment California, claims cribs and changing tables may be exposing babies to unhealthy levels of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical typically used in consumer products and building materials. About six out of the twenty-one nursery furnishings tested emitted formaldehyde at levels high enough to prompt allergy and asthma attacks in children. Continual exposure to formaldehyde at levels greater than sixteen parts per billion indoors can lead to the development of a cough and allergies. Exposure to levels at about fifty parts per billion can lead to the development of asthma. The report also stated that no one is monitoring the formaldehyde being emitted from childrens’ furnishings; the only standards for formaldehyde exposure come from federal housing regulators who watch its use in prefabricated homes.


            The changing tables and cribs that were tested were made in either the United States or Canada, and found in Wal-Mart, Target and Babies “R” Us. The products made by Child Craft, Stork Craft, Delta, South Shore Furniture, and Jardine Enterprises had high formaldehyde emissions. An oak crib made by Child Craft emitted the largest amount of the toxin. The California Air and Resources Board has approved rules to regulate formaldehyde emissions in composite wood products made, used or sold in the state. A branch of the California Environmental Protection Agency has even gone as far as to state that there is no safe level of formaldehyde.

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