When I shop for furniture, I usually think of what NOT to get - no sprayed-on stain protection, no flame retardants, no unsustainable wood, and the list goes on.
So it's a relief to find out that there is at least one furniture maker who frees you from having to ask all those questions or fret over all those worries, because they're thinking about your health and the environment for you.
Introducing the Q Collection, a furniture line out of New York City that EWG President Ken Cook likes to joke he'd be happy to eat with a little mango salsa.
The Q Collection has a mission
This company's mission has to do with your home and the environment (how refreshing): Be people safe and planet safe. How? By designing and manufacturing long-lasting furniture that doesn't rely on harmful materials typically used in furniture and fabrics. That means making eco-healthy choices like:
- No formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is used in most furniture adhesives, but the Q Collection uses only water-based adhesives.
- No polyurethane, no dacron
Polyurethane, a known carcinogen, is used as a topcoat and in the manufacturing of foam and dacron (part of foam padding) contains toluene. This company uses only water-based stains, topcoats and natural latex foam rubber.
- No brominated flame retardants
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are banned in Europe but are still being used extensively in US upholstery manufacturing.
- No heavy metals
Leather tanning is the most harmful of all fabric production processes because it relies on harmful heavy metals like chromium 6.
- No toxic stain resistant chemicals
Fabrics often contain dioxin (typically as a byproduct of the dyeing and finishing processes), a powerful carcinogen that is also known to damage the human immune system. Dioxins are also on the "dirty dozen" list of persistent environmental pollutants (POPs).
- Sustainably harvested wood, 100% certified
The source of most wood used to make furniture today is unknown. Unfortunately, it can come from some of the world's most threatened ecosystems, such as old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest or the Amazon rain forest. The U.S. is by far the largest importer of virgin timber from the Amazon.
- Organic or European ecological cotton
Cotton is the world's most polluting crop because of enormous levels of pesticides and herbicides used in growing it.
- Non-toxic, low-impact fabric dyes
Fabric dyes often contain toxic chemicals that are suspected to cause cancer, reproductive or developmental damage.
Find out more environmental health details about the kids' line.
Where to get Q Collection furniture
The Q Collection Junior is available online and in these stores in the US, Canada, Australia and the Cayman Islands. The studio line (all ages!) is available online or in their NYC Flagship store.
Beyond the sheer joy of knowing that it really is possible to find safe furniture for you and your children, there's a larger, important message here: making safe, environmentally friendly furniture is possible, and it doesn't have to break the bank. Thank you, Jesse Johnson & Anthony Cochran, for showing the way with the Q Collection.
[Gorgeous photo is of the Q Collection Junior line.]