Updated: Jul 7
I often hear that New Leaf Preschool smells good as parents walk through the door, and I pride myself on that much more than you may imagine! Why, well because we use no "fragrance" to do so! So what's the big deal with fragrance, and why is it so bad? Most of us are aware of potentially harmful substances in the environment such as pollution, exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke. We even know that some cleaning products, paint, glues and stains can be hazardous when inhaled. However it may have never occurred to us that our sweet smelling fragrances often contain various chemicals that are considered toxic.
Perfumes used to be made from natural ingredients like flowers and herbs. today however, they are approximately 95-100% synthetic. Phthalates, which are used to make fragrance last longer, have been linked to many health conditions, and are a banned carcinogen in many other countries! According to the Environmental Working Group, a fragrance, on average, contains about 14 secret chemicals that aren’t labeled, many of which are linked to hormone disruption and allergic reactions. even worse? Approximately 80 percent of them are not tested for safety in personal care products. Synthetic fragrances can be found in just about anything from lotions and perfumes to laundry and cleaning products.
Fragrance in Early Education Centers
Because children are naturally smaller, still developing and more susceptible to hormone disruptors I feel that fragrance in the child care setting should really be avoided. If you are looking for a child care center be sure to think about things like how does the center keep their air smelling fresh? Many centers use automatic air fresheners that disperse synthetic fragrance regularly throughout their classrooms. Other things to consider in regards to fragrance include the lotion that the teachers use and the detergents and cleaning products used within the center.
So what are some natural, safer ways to keep your air smelling fresh? The best way in my opinion is plants! Plants are known for their ability to absorb gases through pores on their leaves. Scientists that study the air-purification capacities of indoor plants have found that plants can absorb many other gases in addition to carbon dioxide, including a long list of volatile organic compounds (typically referred to as VOC's). A few common indoor VOCs that plants help eliminate include Benzene (which is found in some plastics, pesticides and cigarette smoke) and formaldehyde (which is found in some dish detergents, carpet cleaners and cosmetics.) and to keep yourself smelling fresh consider using products (or creating your own) that use essential oils (properly diluted) or herbs to create their aroma. Steer clear of the term "fragrance" on the ingredients list.
The New Leaf Preschool Difference
Our name really says it all... we have a great deal of live plants within our center to help keep the air safe, clean, and smelling good! Ask any of the teachers and they're sure to tell you that I'm not the one keeping them alive but hey, I'm working on my green thumb. We use safe natural cleaning products throughout our facility and fragrance free detergent on sheets in our cribs. We only use a natural spray that we make ourselves (using white distilled vinegar and pure kid-safe essential oils) when those pesky poo diapers try to overtake, and an organic naturally scented lotion is available to any teachers who may find their hands needing a little pick-me-up in the middle of the day.
So there it is, my first ever blog post... sort of scary but sort of exciting!