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)

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)


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.


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:  http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen

The Hall of Shame (worst offenders):  http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/buyer-beware/