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6 posts from November 2010

November 19, 2010

Another good reason to wash your hands...

Serving-hands Science News 12.4.10

French scientists recently published three alarming new studies on how Bisphenol-A enters the human body.

Their research supports the idea that BPA can pass through the skin with relative ease. One study focused on about 400 pregnant Cincinnati residents, and found that those with the highest levels of BPA worked as cashiers. Cashiers handle receipts, and many receipts that do not use ink to print contain BPA.

In order to confirm this, the researchers took several live skin samples from pig and human subjects, and then brushed the dry skin samples with varying amounts of BPA. Three days later, more than half of the endocrine-disrupting chemical had been absorbed.

Read more on the study at Science News.

TED talk: Are mushrooms the new plastic?

TED.com 10.4.10

In July, Eben Bayer gave a speech at an Oxford TED conference detailing how his company turns agricultural waste into truly biodegradable packing material. How biodegradable? It's literally grown from a fungus.

Polystyrene (or styrofoam, as many know it) is commonly used to pack delicate hardware and breakables for shipping; When it degrades in nature, it releases carcinogens. If adopted for widespread use, Bayer's packing material could reduce the production and disposal of polystyrene immensely.


November 18, 2010

ACC Helps Block BPA Legislation

 New York Times  11.17.10         

Just yesterday, the American Chemistry Council successfully mobilized Republicans to block a pending food safety bill attempting to limit the use of BPA in baby bottles and dinking cups.

The bill would allow a six-month grace period for baby item manufacturers to cease use of the endocrine-disrupting chemical.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, expressed consternation, positing that the ACC’s choice to block the bill placed potential monetary gain over the health of our nations infants.

Read the whole article at The New York Times.

Spreading the word, one vacuum at a time

Electrolux-Concept-Vacs-x2-178x178 10.18.10 MSNBC

Stockholm-based appliance company Electrolux AB recently produced a custom set of five vacuum cleaners made from water-bourne plastic trash.

The refuse was collected from different oceans and seas across the globe, with each locale’s most prevalent trash dictating its vacuum’s unique look.

Though the vacuums are not for sale, they do work. Electrolux hopes these fashionable, functional pieces of art will begin a discussion about the growing problem of water-bound plastic pollution and perhaps even move people away from the use-and-toss culture that led to the current situation.

Read more at MSNBC.

November 16, 2010

"Pollution in China" Documents industrial toll on the environment

Chinahush Lu Guang, a freelance photographer from the People's Republic of China, won the 2009 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography. He shot a series of images illuminating the environmental devastation resulting from an industrial society more concerned with the quantity of exports produced than the quality or global impact.

While this photography is almost a year old, we thought it was powerful enough to pass along.

Warning: You may find many of these images disturbing and/or graphic.

See the images collected at China Hush.

Cheap Chain Store Reusable Bags Contain Lead

11.16.2010 Tampa Bay Online

Illustrating in no uncertain terms the dangers of cheap, low-quality reusables, recent studies have found that the inks illustrating reusable bags sold at some chain stores contain alarming levels of lead. Stores involved include Winn-Dixie and Publix.

Read about our stance on the dangers of cheap reusables here.

Check out the complete New York Times piece here.

Update: And for those interested, here is the original article that broke the story.