Archive: Products

January 18, 2011

Trying to create a healthier, greener home? Behold the green shopping guides.

I’m always looking (and so many people ask us) for quick answers on how to create a greener, healthier nursery.  Lots of environmental nonprofits have added “green shopping” guides to their sites. Here are some of Q Collection Junior‘s faves. Are we missing any that you love? Add them to comments and build on our list!

5 Basic Steps to a greener nursery (Healthy Child)

Seafood Guide (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Mercury in fish (NRDC)

Healthy School Lunches (Healthy Child)

Organic Vegetables (Organic Center)

How to avoid pesticides (EWG)

Pacifiers and teething (Healthy Child)

Healthy Baby Food (Healthy Child)

Healthy Formula Guide (Healthy Child)

Baby care products (Healthy Child)

Healthy Pets (NRDC)

Confused on green labels?  (NRDC)

November 29, 2010

Best nature/environment books for kids

With the holiday season just around the corner, we turn to one of the best gifts for kids….books.

I know for my son Reeve (just about to turn 4) his first glimpse into the natural world was through books – he was so excited by things like shooting stars, beavers building houses, a bear hibernating, the sound of wolves at night, a caterpillar changing into a butterfly….

I often think about what would make my ‘best of’ list…  so I polled some friends including Lexy Zissu, author of The Complete Organic Pregnancy & The Conscious Kitchen.  Feel free to post some of your favorites to comments.  No doubt we missed some great ones. Read more…

November 9, 2010

how to find the healthiest / greenest home improvement materials

The Ecology Center is a trusted voice in the search to find the healthiest / greenest products for your home and family.  Past reports exist on:

Their latest report was just added….on home improvement materials.  They look at flooring, wallpaper, carpet cushioning and much more.

For detailed information:

Thanks to The Ecology Center for their great work!

October 14, 2010

quick & easy – finding the healthiest products for your child

Looking for a simple way to quickly locate the healthiest infant and children’s products on the market?

The best resource is the “Healthy Stuff” database, run by the Michigan based non profit The Ecology Center.  It is a great shopping tool that includes product reviews on over 5,000 items, screening for chemicals of concern to human health & our environment.

Here are some of the key links from their site:


September 9, 2010

Bisphenol A (BPA): Why is this so confusing?

The suspected endocrine disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is back in the news.  A New York Times article this week reminds us how confusing this topic is.

Environmentalists & a growing number of elected officials call for the precautionary principle – when in doubt, be cautious. Some industry and trade groups claim that the concern over the health risks of BPA is overblown. They argue that to phase out such a widely used chemical (it’s found in plastics, aluminum cans…almost all of us are exposed to it) is needlessly expensive considering the inconclusive findings on its health impacts.  Our chemical regulatory structure today is innocent until proven guilty and when problems crop up, they can be far reaching (think Erin Brokovich, Love Canal, GE’s dumping of PCB’s in the Hudson River).

My wife Mary & I stopped using BPA, wherever possible, long ago.  The calculation seems pretty simple…For us, if there is even a small possibility of BPA creating lasting problems, I want to keep it away from my kids.  It used to be very hard to do this. Today, you can find almost any baby item in a BPA-free form (e.g. plastic baby bottles, cups, toys, jewelry, etc).

What does all of this back-and-forth mean for you though?  We don’t know for certain the long term impacts of BPA. It could be years until we do and a lot of money is at stake. In the meantime, the best approach for a concerned parent seems to be to leave the politics to Washington and exercise caution – look for plastics that don’t have BPA.

HELPFUL LINKS:

Environmental Working Group’s overview of BPA:

http://www.ewg.org/featured/218

Canada bans BPA.  Why Haven’t We?  (Grist)

http://www.grist.org/article/food-canada-bans-BPA-why-havent-we/

September 6, 2010

Bedbugs don’t make good pets – a ‘greener nursery’ guide


The thought of bedbugs gives us the heebie jeebies. We hope you don’t have to deal with them, but just in case…there are effective AND non-toxic alternatives.

Reports of bedbugs in cities like New York are down this year compared to last year, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the papers (see recent press below).  It’s hard to know how much is hype. Remember all of the press coverage of shark attacks a few years back?

We’ve been asked a lot at Q Collection Junior recently, by both customers and friends: what’s the best, non-toxic way to deal with bed bugs?  Thankfully bed bugs don’t carry diseases. They are a nuisance but not a public health concern.

Some of the best tried-and-true solutions to bed bugs don’t involve nasty chemicals at all:

1)      Heat: bed bugs can’t survive in very high heat so putting your linens and clothes through a cycle in the washing machine and dryer will remove them from those items

2)      Steam: there are services that can come in and steam treat mattresses and entire rooms. Orkin, the pest control company, recently received industry accolades for devising a pesticide-free treatment that uses 212°F steam-cleaning to beat the bugs.

3)      Vacuuming: vacuuming items or areas that have bed bugs can be effective

4)      Bed covers: you can find mattress covers that protect from bedbugs without the use of chemicals (they are made from particularly tightly woven cottons). Many infant mattresses have a waterproof plastic (hopefully nylon rather than vinyl – read why here) layer that will protect from bugs.

Here are two links to much more detailed info on how to identify and deal with bed bugs, without relying on the use of potentially harmful chemicals:

v     Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “top ten bed bug tips”

v     New York State integrated pest management (IPM) report

A few articles from Tuesday, August 31st are included below:

US grapples with bedbugs, misuse of pesticides. A resurgence of bedbugs across the U.S. has homeowners and apartment dwellers taking desperate measures to eradicate the tenacious bloodsuckers, with some relying on dangerous outdoor pesticides and fly-by-night exterminators. Associated Press

They crawl, they bite, they baffle scientists. This month, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a joint statement on bedbug control. New York Times

August 26, 2010

a healthier & safer back to school experience

My family and I just got back from some restful time in the mountains (my son fishing above).  It proved to me all over again the power of teaching children an appreciation of the outdoors from a young age.

Our attention is now, slowly, turning to back to school.

I came across this just released safer & healthier ‘back to school’ guide and thought this community would find it helpful.  It includes quick & easy information on art supplies, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc.

http://www.ewg.org/healthyhometips/backtoschool

July 6, 2010

When is organic truely organic?

There is a ton of confusion right now on what is and isn’t legitimately organic.

Q Collection Junior relies on the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) to inspect and certify that all of cotton we use on our bedding collection (viewable here through Giggle) is in fact 100% certified. There are many examples out there of companies overstepping – either claiming to have an organic product but with no certification to back it up or labeling it as organic but still using materials that aren’t organic (like polyfill in bumpers).

Food has the USDA National Organic Program monitoring claims and enforcing guidelines. No such body or mechanism exists for children’s products, personal care, cosmetics, clothing, etc. Whole Foods made a statement on their blog last week that got attention. Starting next June, all non food items sold there must include third party certification. A step in the right direction for sure.

Here is a link to that post:  http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2010/06/organic-labeling-for-body-care/

June 29, 2010

The hardest item to find for a green nursery

A few weeks ago I wrote about my family’s misadventures trying to find a simple ‘green’ rug for the room our kids will soon share (link to previous post on this topic here).

Rugs and carpets seem to be the trickiest item to find when your goal is greener and healthier. It seems simple enough: something good looking that doesn’t use any chemical treatments (stains, flame retardants, etc) and is made of decent materials (no PVC plastic, etc).

Natural Home Magazine’s current issue (June/July) has a few resources. As I learned in my search, it’s worth asking a few questions to be sure these aren’t treated with chemicals we don’t want around our kids (several times a sales person said one thing and the company said something different).  Ask specifically about flame retardants, stain repellents, and materials.  Stick with natural fibers (cotton & wool) without PVC backing.  Please post a comment if you have a question.

-         Earth Weave (wool):  www.earthweave.com

-         Flor (recycled carpet tiles):  www.flor.com

-         Nature’s Carpet (wool): www.naturescarpet.com

-         Garuda Woven Art (cotton & wool):  www.garudawovenart.com

June 14, 2010

When is local not local? How to look out for greenwashing.

We all see examples every day of greenwashing – companies overstating the environmental and health benefits of their products. I saw one particularly bad example last week on the topic of eating local.

What does local production and material sourcing mean to you?  To us at Q Collection Junior, it means the goal of sourcing our wood from within 150 miles of our production (all of which is here in the US). That is local.

A well-known seafood restaurant in Florida uses the term “local” in a very different way.  They’ve been luring customers in for the “belly buster’ fish sandwich by claiming to serve fresh seafood “from our docks.”  The image is clear – a boat pulling up at their docks with fish just caught off the coast of Florida. But the reality isn’t nearly that simple. Turns out, the fish is a variety of catfish that traveled all the way from Vietnam. Not local.

When questioned, the restaurant manager said he was comfortable using the ‘local” label because the distributor who sold him the fish “was just down the road”….?!

With tricky marketing like this, it’s tough to know which companies are telling the truth and which are stretching the truth, or greenwashing. Asking a few questions is a great start. If you see the term ‘local’, simply ask:

v     Where is it made?

v     Where are the materials (fish in your sandwich, wood in your furniture, etc) from?