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6 posts from November 2009

November 15, 2009

Study finds 457 chemicals released by common cleaning supplies

The Environmental Working Group - 11.09

Environmental working group chemicals
"Ordinary school cleaning supplies can expose children to multiple chemicals linked to asthma, cancer, and other documented health problems and to hundreds of other air contaminants that have never been tested for safety, a study by the Environmental Working Group shows. Laboratory tests done for EWG found that a typical assortment of cleaning products released 457 distinct chemicals into the air..."

Read the entire report here.

Our Take: This study reveals the ugly truth: that so many common products that we use every day are laden with potentially harmful chemicals. The good news - there are many simple DIY alternatives.

November 12, 2009

Investigation shows bottled water is "just water"

NewsNet5.com - Nov. 9, 2009

"Scan any store cooler and the choices may seem endless. But before you take that first sip, ever asked yourself why you've shelled out big bucks... for water? For an On Your Side consumer investigation, NewsChannel5 bought five different types of bottled water - ranging in price from $1.39 to $1.70 -- and took them to Dr. Michael Nichols. The John Carroll University chemist tested he bottled, and tap water, to see if they were worth the money." The study results showed a variety of minerals present in some brands, though Aquafina showed almost no traces of minerals at all, "meaning it is almost distilled."

Clinic dietitian Amy Jamison-Petonic's advises buying "whatever water you'll drink, but don't buy into the hype. Because at the end of the day, water is water. That knowledge alone can save you money."

Read the article here.

NYT opinion piece column draws attention to BPA in canned foods

The New York Times - 11.8.09

Op-ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristoff isn't taking Consumer Reports Magazine's latest study on BPA lightly. The report found BPA prevalent in an array of canned food products. BPA - "a synthetic estrogen that united states factories now use in everything from plastics to epoxies..." is found in more than 92 percent of American's urine, he said. The chemical has been linked to increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease and genital malformation, among other maladies.

He points to impending legislative action to limit the use of the chemical, and ends by noting that, "While the evidence isn't conclusive, it justifies precautions. In my family, we're cutting down on the use of those plastic containers that contain BPA to store or microwave food, and I'm drinking water out of a metal bottle now..."

Read the entire article.

Floating islands of plastic in ocean may be larger than expected

The New York Times - 11.10.09

"HAWAII- In this remote patch of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from any national boundary, the detritus of human life is collecting in a swirling current so large that it defies precise measurement. Light bulbs, bottle caps, toothbrushes, Popsicle sticks and tiny pieces of plastic, each the size of a grain of rice, inhabit the Pacific garbage patch, an area of widely disbursed rash that doubles in size every decade and is now believed to be roughly twice the size of Texas. But one research organization estimates that the garbage now actually pervades the Pacific...

Scientists say the garbage patch is just one of five that may be caught in giant gyres scattered around the world's oceans."

Read the entire article "Afloat in the Ocean, Expanding Islands of Trash."

November 04, 2009

Kauai County Council bans plastic shopping bags

The Star Bulletin - 10.8.09

The Kauai, Hawaii County Council voted to ban plastic "carryout bags," in a bill requiring that "retailers - from mini marts to plate-lunch spots, pharmacies, liquor stores and supermarkets - may offer only biodegradable plastic, 100-percent recyclable paper or reusable tote bags at checkout. Retailers can choose to charge for the bags. The bill goes into effect on January 11, 2011."

Read the entire article here.

November 03, 2009

Consumer Reports study finds BPA in "nearly all" canned foods

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online - 11.2.09

"A new test conducted for Consumer Reports magazine found bisphenol A leaching into food from nearly all cans, including those marked 'BPA-free' and 'organic.' The magazine's tests found that levels of the chemical in many of the cans were comparable to those found to cause cell damage and behavioral effects in animal studies... Last week, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences announced it will spend roughly $30 million over the next two years studying BPA. That includes $14 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or stimulus funds."

Read the entire Journal Sentinel article here.

Read coverage by the LA Times here.