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The Invisible Stuff and Why You Should Care

by Sandy Wong February 24, 2022 3 min read

The Invisible Stuff and Why You Should Care

When we look at a child's car seat, we assume that it is safe for our child.   It is designed to protect our child during a collision.  The things we don't think about are the invisible stuff.  Flame retardants, PFAS chemicals and formaldehyde are sprayed on car seats for their fire, water, stain and wrinkle resistant properties.  Yet we don't make the association that these chemicals have been proven to have negative health effects on our bodies (1).  We so willingly put our child into a car seat that potentially leaches micro toxins onto their skin and into the air that they (and we) breathe. 

Now, try applying the same thought towards a rug that you put in your baby's nursery.  As moms, we've all swooned over the perfect baby nursery photo on Pinterest.  We are often so focused on choosing the right colours and the right patterns that we don't think about the right materials.  People see a photo of a baby nursery with a rug in it and they automatically assume it is a baby safe rug when in fact it is made from a synthetic material, probably polypropylene, and contains glues, dyes and sprays that you cannot pronounce.

Oh Happy Home Nomad Natural Washable Cotton Area Rug

All too often, we have parents emailing in asking for advice on a rug for their child's room.  They want something soft and so they think they want a polyester rug.  I always start by having to demystify two facts.

One.  Polyester is not soft.  It is only made soft by chemicals and once the chemicals wear off, you'll likely need to replace the rug.  Second.  Polyester is not a healthy material that we would recommend, especially for a child's room.

The only polyester rugs we carry in our store are patio rugs that are meant for the outdoors.  We do not carry any indoor polyester rugs.  The only indoor rugs we carry are made from either wool, cotton or jute.  In fact, when we on-board a new supplier, we sift through thousands of rugs and pick and choose only the ones made from natural materials to put on our store.  This is because even within a supplier who may be eco-friendly and has a big heart for social causes, not all their rugs are made the same. 

We support brands that do not spray their rugs with chemicals.  In our minds, if you start with a high quality material (e.g. wool) and it is designed right (e.g. washable), then there is no need for flame retardants or stain resistant chemicals.  And if you really want to get serious, we recommend something that comes with certifications such as GOTS certified organic rugs.  That way, you can ensure that the cotton was not sprayed with pesticides, the wool was not sprayed with insecticides, and the dyes and glues that go into the rug during production are natural and non-toxic.  Not only are these the better choice for your family but they are also safer for the workers and artisans who made them.

I started on this Rugs by Roo journey because I realized that there is a huge misconception out there about what is safe and what is not safe.  All parents want the best for their child and are often misled by what's presented in magazines and media.  Just like how organic crib mattresses weren't popular back then but are now a no-brainer for many new parents, we realize rugs are going through the same transition.  It all starts with awareness.  And that is exactly why Rugs by Roo exists.

(1)  To learn more about flame retardants, PFAS and formaldehydes and the implications they have on our bodies, visit 3 Little Plums (formerly Non-Toxic Munchkin).  Aida is a non-toxic consultant who made it her mission to educate parents about hazardous materials and chemicals in their homes.


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