Archive: Safety

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.


Environmental Working Group’s overview of BPA:

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

June 7, 2010

Who knew? National No Plastic Day is this week!

At Q Collection Junior, we don’t use plastic in our products or packaging. We prefer natural, biodegradable alternatives.  Our work is all about the environment & health…so naturally, we’re concerned about the impact of plastics on both.

Lots of stories have appeared in the past 2 weeks about potential health concerns with plastics (no doubt causing some parents to worry).

Here are a few articles and resources that have been helpful in sorting through the discussion:

Want more resources?  Please just email us at

May 27, 2010

‘green nursery’ goes to the beach: the lowdown on sunscreens

At Q Collection Junior, we’re always thinking about how the products out there for children impact their health and the health of our environment.

Getting out of the nursery & into the sun for a moment, I wanted to draw your attention to a great resource as summer begins:  Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s 4th annual sunscreen report is out.

They reviewed an additional 500 brands, screening for effectiveness, problematic materials, etc.  Ultimately they only recommend 39 products, or 8% of what they’ve reviewed.

On their site (links below), you can search by the “greenest” options or enter what you typically use and see how it ranks.

Quick points:

  • For kids & infants:  sunscreen is best used as a secondary precaution; it is best to use a hat and protective cloths.
  • The top ‘green’ rated products all use some combination of zinc or titanium.
  • Most brands vastly overstate their SPF (and get away with it); high SPF ratings sell a false sense of security.
  • Given some new concerns, EWG recommends avoiding sunscreens with added vitamin A.

To view the full report:

The Hall of Shame (worst offenders):

May 24, 2010

BPA is yucky – steps to keep it out of your home

Chances are you’ve heard about the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) by now.  Baby bottles are going BPA-free, state governments are banning its use; the U.S. Government is considering legislation, etc.

A new report out last week points to the widespread use of BPA in metal cans.  Below are all of the links you could ever want to learn more about this including press articles, Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s blog, the original report “Contaminated Without Consent” and a 16 minute youtube video.

Quick points to remember:

  • When possible, avoid the use of foods stored in metal cans
  • Look for glass jars (tomato sauce, etc), paper boxes or less toxic plastics (1,2, 4 and 5; avoid 3, 6 and 7)
  • When possible, select fresh food (local and organic preferred), followed by dried or frozen products
  • A small number of companies are now providing BPA-free metal cans and no doubt many more will be arriving soon

Dig deeper:

Full report:


YouTube video (embedded below):

May 18, 2010

in the news: yet another reason to eat organic

In case you were looking for another good reason to shift your family to a more organic diet…..CBS News (and many others) are covering the release of a new study strengthening the link between higher pesticide exposures in children and higher rates of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD).

The video link is below:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

To read the text story,

April 15, 2010

a good day for families everywhere

It is a good day for parents who have been trying to create a healthier, greener home.

Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ) introduced a bill today that would reform the way chemicals are regulated.  This has been a long time in the making and stands a solid chance of passing.  If passed, it would make the process of creating a home free of concerns surrounding toxic chemicals much easier.  The basic concept is that chemicals would have to be proven safe before being allowed on the market (today they are allowed without any data on this).

You can read more on this topic by clicking here.

April 12, 2010

who is keeping our kids safe?

We at Q Collection Junior have long worked to draw attention to the need to overhaul how toxic chemicals used around children are regulated in the US.  The tide seems to be gradually moving in the right direction but just last week another news story was out that made the need that much more urgent.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was reprimanded by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for failing to keep kids safe from toxic chemicals.  You can read a full article from USA Today here.

Thankfully legislation is in the works to reform our current regulatory system.  Senator Frank Lautenberg is leading the charge.  We will continue to follow this and keep you informed.

In the meantime, organizations to follow that are on the front lines:

March 12, 2010

alert – cheap, metal children’s jewelry recall in the news again

This is a follow up to a previous post on cheap, children’s jewelry containing dangerous levels of toxic materials.  My previous post can be found here.  There is additional news out today that the recall scope has expanded.   Here is a link to the specific article from today.

February 25, 2010

New York Times & CNN: chemicals in our homes

There are two particular good news items on chemicals in our homes out there today.

Nicholas Kristof has written a few great op-eds recently on the health impacts of chemicals in our lives.  Today’s New York Times contains another one that points to the growing links between autism and chemicals in our environment.  Not the most uplifting reading but I am sure of interest to this community.  You can read the full article by clicking here.

CNN’s medical coorespondant, Dr Sanjay Gupta, covered the issue of chemicals in our homes today as well.  That video can be seen here.

January 25, 2010

make my day: the gun that helps keep your nursery healthy

In the late fall we had the pleasure of hosting Michael Green, the founder and executive director of the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), here in our Q Collection Junior showroom. CEH’s mission is to protect people from toxic chemicals and promote business products and practices that are safe for public health and the environment.

CEH invited several friends and we did as well, Ali Wing included.

Michael gave us a demo of the famous XRF gun.  This is the device behind all of the various ‘toxic toy’ reports (Healthy Toy report here).  At a cost of over $30,000 each, they are rare to see in action.  Essentially, you point the scanner at a particular product, pull the trigger and a minute or so later you get a read out of what materials are present down to the parts per billion level.  Arsenic, lead, cadmium, bromine (likely brominated flame retardants) – all of the red flags show up.  You can’t hide.

We tested our cribs, changing tables, organic cotton bedding, a baby bottle and several toys (a metal toy, “Duck on Bike”, from Chinatown and two different rubber duckies).  Our cribs and bedding were free and clear.   The duckies passed but with some concerns.  The baby bottle was fine.  The metal ‘Duck on Bike’, however, contained dangerously high levels of lead.  It has now graduated from toy to art (image below).

duck on bike