CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A parent five times over, Misty Toung of Chesapeake stays busy managing her five daughters: Tracie (14), Christina (11), Katie (9), Abigail (4) and baby Adreanna (16 mo.)
However, in an exclusive interview with News 3, Young says she became obsessed with alternative, healthy options for her children after her first four daughters developed a learning disability at a young age.
“They all…have been harmed by chemicals and metals that are in our environment, in our clothing, in our food,” Young told News 3’s Merris Badcock.
Watch this full report on News 3 at 11 Sunday night.
But Young says baby Adreanna is as healthy as can be. She credits putting Adreanna in only organic clothing, something she didn’t do with her first four daughters.
“[I’ve learned] it’s definitely important to wear organic when your brain is developing,” Young said.
Now, parents in Hampton Roads do not have to travel far for alternative options. Inspired by her own experience, Young opened up an organic clothing store in Chesapeake just for little ones: Le Bebe Chic Boutique.
“It’s French for ‘the classy baby’.” Young said with a smile.
Young’s store is the only brick and mortar store of its kind in Hampton Roads. Le Bebe Chic Boutique specializes in carrying organic options for parents, clothing made from natural fibers, free of harmful dyes and chemicals.
Dr. Erica Steele, a naturopathic doctor in Virginia Beach, agrees with Young’s organic choices.
“A lot of the dyes can create a lot of development issues,” Steele told News 3.
As a naturopathic doctor, Steel studies toxins in our environment.
“From the air we breathe, to the water that we drink, to what’s in our clothing, what’s in our furniture,” Steele told News 3’s Merris Badcock, listing off examples.
Steele says her patients are typically shocked to find out how chemical-filled most of our lives are.
“Formaldehyde is found in just about everything,” Steele said.
Air fresheners, flame retardant spray, even that new car smell – according to Steele, it’s all toxic.
When it comes to your baby, Steele says she sees more parents taking action to protect their baby from harmful chemicals.
“We don’t want to walk around in a bubble all the time, because even if we did it would have to be BPA free,” Steele said jokingly. “The reality is that we want to build our immune systems to be susceptible.”
According to Steele, the first seven years of childhood are when children are most likely to be harmed by powerful chemicals.
Young says facts like this are what caused her to make what she considers life-altering changes for her children.
“Our absorption of chemicals and metals is pretty much at its limit when we become adults, but babies...their skin is less resistant to toxins, so they absorb it more easily.”
At $20 to $35 dollars for an outfit, Young works hard to keep her prices competitive with big name stores like Target. Sale by sale, Young hopes to help transform her community into a more environmentally conscious one, a community her five children can live to see.