June 17, 2010
A recent bio-monitoring survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found traces of 212 environmental chemicals in Americans — including toxic metals like arsenic and cadmium, pesticides, flame retardants and even perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel. "It's not the environment that's contaminated so much," says Dr. Bruce Lanphear, director of the Cincinnati Children's Environmental Health Center. "It's us."
As scientists get better at detecting the chemicals in our bodies, they're discovering that even tiny quantities of toxins can have a potentially serious impact on our health — and our children's future. Chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates — key ingredients in modern plastics — may disrupt the delicate endocrine system, leading to developmental problems. A host of modern ills that have been rising unchecked for a generation — obesity, diabetes, autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — could have chemical connections. "We don't give environmental exposure the attention it deserves," says Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at New York City's Mount Sinai Medical Center. "But there's an emerging understanding that kids are uniquely susceptible to environmental hazards."
Read More: The Perils of Plastic
Posted Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:01am PDT
Most of us know that baking soda can be used for more than just making homemade cookies and other dough rise. It's not uncommon to see an open box of this leavening agent deodorizing refrigerators, for example. But did you know that there are at least 40 different ways to use baking soda?
Baking soda makes a perfect stand-in for many personal care, cleaning, and deodorizing products. The list of benefits is long: It is inexpensive, free of toxic chemicals, versatile, and effective.
Wondering how baking soda, aka sodium bicarbonate, works its magic? It helps regulate pH — keeping a substance neither too acidic nor too alkaline. When baking soda comes in contact with either an acidic or an alkaline substance, its natural effect is to neutralize that pH. Beyond that, baking soda has the ability to retard further changes in the pH balance, known as buffering.
This dual capability of neutralizing and buffering allows baking soda to do things such as neutralize acidic odors (like in the refrigerator) as well as maintain neutral pH (like in your laundry water, which helps boost your detergent's power). It's a simple reaction, but one that has far-reaching effects for a number of cleaning and deodorizing tasks.
And so without further ado, here are some of the many creative ways you can use baking soda.
1. Make toothpaste
A paste made from baking soda and a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution can be used as an alternative to commercial non-fluoride toothpastes. (Or here’s a formula for a minty version.) You can also just dip your toothbrush with toothpaste into baking soda for an extra boost.
2. Freshen your mouth
Put one teaspoon in half a glass of water, swish, spit, and rinse. Odors are neutralized, not just covered up.
3. Soak oral appliance
Soak oral appliances (like retainers, mouthpieces, and dentures) in a solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in a glass or small bowl of warm water. The baking soda loosens food particles and neutralizes odors to keep appliances fresh. You can also brush appliances clean using baking soda.
4. Use as a facial scrub and body exfoliant
Give yourself an invigorating facial and body scrub. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub in a gentle circular motion to exfoliate the skin. Rinse clean. This is gentle enough for daily use.
5. Skip harsh deodorant
Pat baking soda onto your underarms to neutralize body odor.
6. Use as an antacid
Baking soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach, and/or acid indigestion. Refer to baking soda package for instructions.
7. Treat insect bites and itchy skin
For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower.
8. Make a hand cleanser and softener
Skip harsh soaps and gently scrub away ground-in dirt and neutralize odors on hands with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water or 3 parts baking soda with gentle liquid hand soap. Then rinse clean.
9. Help your hair
Vinegar is amazing for your hair, but baking soda has its place in the shower too. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly — baking soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable.
10. Clean brushes and combs
For lustrous hair with more shine, keep brushes and combs clean. Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking combs and brushes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a small basin of warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.
11. Make a bath soak
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration. It also makes your skin feel very soft. Or just focus on soothing your feet. Dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of warm water and soak feet. Gently scrub.
12. Make a surface soft scrub
For safe, effective cleaning of bathroom tubs, tile, and sinks — even fiberglass and glossy tiles — sprinkle baking soda lightly on a clean damp sponge and scrub as usual. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. For extra cleaning power, make a paste with baking soda, coarse salt, and liquid dish soap — let it sit then scour off.
13. Hand-wash dishes and pots and pans
Add 2 heaping tablespoons baking soda (along with your regular dish detergent) to the dish water to help cut grease and foods left on dishes, pots, and pans. For cooked-on foods, let them soak in the baking soda and detergent with water first, then use dry baking soda on a clean damp sponge or cloth as a scratch-less scouring powder.
14. Freshen sponges
Soak stale-smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution to get rid of the mess (4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water). For more thorough disinfecting, use the microwave.
15. Clean the microwave
Baking soda on a clean damp sponge cleans gently inside and outside the microwave and never leaves a harsh chemical smell. Rinse well with water.
16. Polish silver flatware
Use a baking soda paste made with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub onto the silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry for shining sterling and silver-plate serving pieces.
17. Clean coffee and tea pots
Remove coffee and tea stains and eliminate bitter off-tastes by washing mugs and coffee makers in a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. For stubborn stains, try soaking overnight in the baking soda solution and detergent or scrubbing with baking soda on a clean damp sponge.
18. Clean the oven
Sprinkle baking soda onto the bottom of the oven. Spray with water to dampen the baking soda. Let sit overnight. In the morning, scrub, scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge, or vacuum, and rinse.
19. Clean floors
Remove dirt and grime (without unwanted scratch marks) from no-wax and tile floors using 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water — mop and rinse clean for a sparkling floor. For scuff marks, use baking soda on a clean damp sponge, then rinse.
20. Clean furniture
Clean and remove marks (even crayon) from walls and painted furniture by applying baking soda to a damp sponge and rubbing lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.
21. Clean shower curtains
Clean and deodorize your vinyl shower curtain by sprinkling baking soda directly on a clean damp sponge or brush. Scrub the shower curtain and rinse clean. Hang it up to dry.
22. Boost your liquid laundry detergent
Give your laundry a boost by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry to make liquid detergent work harder. A better balance of pH in the wash gets clothes cleaner, fresher, and brighter. Or you can add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle for fresher sheets and towels or to neutralize gym clothes and odoriferous clothing.
23. Clean and freshen sports gear
Use a baking soda solution (4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water) to clean and deodorize smelly sports equipment. Sprinkle baking soda into golf bags and gym bags to deodorize and clean golf irons (without scratching them!) with a baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda to 1 part water) and a brush. Rinse thoroughly.
24. Remove oil and grease stains
Use baking soda to clean up light-duty oil and grease spills on your garage floor or in your driveway. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and scrub with a wet brush.
25. Clean batteries
Baking soda can be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars, mowers, etc., because its a mild alkali. Be sure to disconnect the battery terminals before cleaning. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water and apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion from the battery terminal. After cleaning and reconnecting the terminals, wipe them with petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion. Please be careful when working around a battery — they contain a strong acid.
26. Clean cars
Use baking soda to clean your car lights, chrome, windows, tires, vinyl seats, and floor mats without worrying about unwanted scratch marks. Use a baking soda solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Apply with a sponge or soft cloth to remove road grime, tree sap, bugs, and tar. For stubborn stains use baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge or soft brush. Eliminate odors by sprinkling baking soda directly on fabric car seats and carpets. Wait 15 minutes (or longer for strong odors) and vacuum up the baking soda.
27. Deodorize your refrigerator
Place an open box in the back of the fridge to neutralize odors.
28. Deodorize trashcans and recyclables
Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your trashcan to keep stinky trash smells at bay. Clean your recyclables container periodically by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge. Wipe clean and rinse. Also, sprinkle baking soda on top as you add recyclables to the bin.
29. Deodorize drains and garbage disposals
To deodorize your sink and tub drains and garbage disposal and keep lingering odors from resurfacing, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water — it will neutralize both acid and basic odors for a fresh drain. (This a good way to dispose of baking soda that is being retired from your refrigerator.)
30. Deodorize and clean dishwashers
Use baking soda to deodorize before you run the dishwasher and then as a gentle cleanser in the wash cycle.
31. Deodorize lunch boxes
Between uses, place a spill-proof box of baking soda in everyone’s lunch box to absorb lingering odors.
32. Remove odor from carpets
Liberally sprinkle baking soda on the carpet. Let set overnight or as long as possible (the longer it sets the better it works). Sweep up the larger amounts of baking soda, and vacuum up the rest. (Note that your vacuum cleaner bag will get full and heavy.) An added bonus: You'll also deodorize your vacuum cleaner.
33. Freshen closets
Place a box on the shelf to keep the closet smelling fresh.
34. Deodorize pet items
Cover the bottom of your cat box with baking soda, then fill as usual with litter. To freshen between changes, sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter after a thorough cleaning. Eliminate odors from your pet's bedding by sprinkling liberally with baking soda, wait 15 minutes (or longer for stronger odors), then vacuum up.
35. Deodorize sneakers
Keep odors from spreading in smelly sneakers by shaking baking soda into them when not in use. Shake out before wearing.
36. Freshen stuffed animals
Keep favorite cuddly toys fresh with a dry shower of baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on and let it sit for 15 minutes before brushing off.
37. Cure all camping needs
Baking soda is a must-have for your next camping trip. It's a dish-washer, pot-scrubber, hand-cleanser, deodorant, toothpaste, and fire extinguisher, and has many other uses.
38. Extinguish fires
Baking soda can help in the initial handling of minor grease or electrical kitchen fires, because when baking soda is heated, it gives off carbon dioxide, which helps to smother the flames. For small cooking fires (frying pans, broilers, ovens, grills), turn off the gas or electricity if you can safely do so. Stand back and throw handfuls of baking soda at the base of the flame to help put out the fire — and call the fire department just to be safe.
39. Care for the septic system
Regular use of baking soda in your drains can help keep your septic system flowing freely. One cup of baking soda per week will help maintain a favorable pH in your septic tank.
40. Scrub fruits and vegetables
Baking soda is the food safe way to clean dirt and residue off fresh fruit and vegetables. Just sprinkle a little on a clean damp sponge, scrub and rinse. Here’s another way to clean your vegetables as well.
OK, so there are my 40 suggestions (with a little help from the Arm & Hammond baking soda site, thank you). Do you have any tips or tricks that I missed? Please share in the comments.
June 14, 2010
The agency has been reviewing data from several studies on a potential connection between retinyl palmitate, a common sunscreen additive, and cases of skin cancer since July but has yet to issue any rulings or guidelines, said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
"With the recent reports suggesting a possible link between skin cancer and a common chemical found in sunscreens, the FDA must act now to protect consumers," he said at a news conference and in a later statement. "Summer is here, people are soaking up the sun and the FDA needs to immediately provide guidance and reassurance to consumers," he said.
The FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research and the National Toxicology Program have conducted studies that suggest there may be a connection between skin cancer and retinyl palmitate, Schumer said in calling for the agency to provide its evaluation of the data and recommendations immediately.
He also pressed the FDA for a time line for new sunscreen regulations.
Retinyl palmitate, a vitamin A derivative, is found in hundreds of the most popular sunscreen products.
One study found that tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent faster in lab animals coated in retinyl palmitate-laced cream than those treated with a cream that did not contain it, Schumer's office said.
June 07, 2010
June 01, 2010
Peter Syrett, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C
Senior Project Designer
“Regulation is bad for business” — it is an all too common refrain in the business world today. This old argument is now being used by industry to lobby against efforts to require more transparency about chemicals in the proposed reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. I think that this is a misguided position that is blind to the growing business opportunities offered by the green building industry.
Construction has long been the cornerstone of our domestic economy. Even in today’s sluggish economy, sustainable building is a fast-growing business sector . The green building movement has grown exponentially in the last two decades. Since its inception in 1994, the United States Green Building Council’s(USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system has grown to have over 35,000 participating projects, comprising over 4.5 billion square feet of construction in all 50 states and in 91 countries.Read more - Transparency is good for business
May 24, 2010
May 22, 2010
May 21st, 2010
Do you believe that toxic chemicals in our products are killing us? If so read on. If you are a non-believer please read, do some research, ask some questions and then lets discuss your opinions. I love a healthy debate. One statistic; 40% rise in breast cancer from 1973 to 1998. What could be causing that? Are we just that much more unhealthy today?
We have been talking about Toxic Chemicals, cleaning products, and various other home issues for several months now. Most of the time I'm getting questions about how to start, what's the first step to going green, or how do I get rid of toxic chemicals in my home.
The truth of the matter is you will have difficulty eliminating toxins from the home if you try to do it all at once. The primary reason is you don't know what you are looking for, how to read it, what's dangerous and what's not. So the first step really is awareness; what should you be aware of:
- Become aware of the chemicals that you are using to clean your home and the harm these cause
- Become aware of the toxins in and on your food
- Become aware of the toxins in your personal care products
- Lastly become aware of the toxins you come into contact with everyday outside your home.
Click here. Join the folks at Safer Chemicals Healthy Families on Facebook, Twitter, online, and others.
Getting started with awareness is step number 1 in cleaning your house and your body of toxic chemicals.
Step 2 we will focus on looking at an easy thing to get rid of in your home; toxic cleaners.
May 20, 2010
There is growing agreement across the political spectrum that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 does not adequately protect Americans from toxic chemicals. In the 34 years since TSCA was enacted, the EPA has been able to require testing on just 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals produced and used in the U.S., and just five chemicals have been regulated under this law. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson has asked Congress to provide her agency with better chemical management tools for safeguarding our nation’s health.
Much has changed since TSCA became law more than 30 years ago. Scientists have developed a more refined understanding of how some chemicals can cause and contribute to serious illness, including cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, neurologic diseases, and asthma.
The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition believes that, by reforming TSCA, we can reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals, improve our nation’s health, and lower the cost of health care. This report documents some of the scientific findings and economic analysis underlying our position.
Chronic disease is on the riseMore than 30 years of environmental health studies have led to a growing consensus that chemicals are playing a role in the incidence and prevalence of many diseases and disorders in our country, including:
- Leukemia, brain cancer, and other childhood cancers, which have increased by more than 20% since 1975.
- Breast cancer, which went up by 40% between 1973 and 1998. While breast cancer rates have declined since 2003, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is now one in eight, up from one in ten in 1973.
- Asthma, which approximately doubled in prevalence between 1980 and 1995 and has stayed at the elevated rate.
- Difficulty in conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy affected 40% more women in 2002 than in 1982. The incidence of reported difficulty has almost doubled in younger women, ages 18–25.
- The birth defect resulting in undescended testes, which has increased 200% between 1970 and 1993.
- Autism, the diagnosis of which has increased more than 10 times in the last 15 years.
The health and economic benefits of reforming TSCAAccording to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 133 million people in the U.S.—almost half of all Americans—are now living with these and other chronic diseases and conditions, which now account for 70% of deaths and 75% of U.S. health care costs.
Estimates of the proportion of the disease burden that can be attributed to chemicals vary widely, ranging from 1% of all disease to 5% of childhood cancer to 10% of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and neurodevelopmental deficits to 30% of childhood asthma. Whatever the actual contribution, effective chemical policy reform will incorporate the last 30 years of science to reduce the chemical exposures that contribute to the rising incidence of chronic disease. And any decline in the incidence of chronic diseases can also be expected to bring health care cost savings. Even if chemical policy reform leads to reductions in toxic chemical exposures that translate into just a tenth of one percent reduction of health care costs, it would save the U.S. health care system an estimated $5 billion every year.
The U.S. now spends over $7,000 per person per year directly on health care. This sum does not include the many other kinds of costs, such as the costs of raising a child with a severe learning disability or coping with a young mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. Chemical policy reform holds the promise of reducing the economic, social and personal costs of chronic disease by creating a more healthy future for all Americans.
May 19, 2010
Nine out of ten. According to a study released today, those are your chances of having some bisphenol A (BPA) with tonight’s dinner, if canned food is on your menu. New testing for BPA sampled 50 cans of food and drinks, and found that the hormone-disrupting chemical is a near ubiquitous presence in canned food.
The study, titled No Silver Lining and published by the National Work Group for Safe Markets, found what appears to be the highest level of BPA ever detected in canned food. A can of Del Monte green beans from a Wisconsin pantry clocked in at 1140 parts per billion BPA, several times greater than the highest levels reported by other recent studies.
Dr. Laura Vandenberg, a leading BPA researcher at Tufts University, reviewed the results.
Some Bisphenol A With Your Green Beans?
May 17, 2010
May 12, 2010
The cleaning aisle at just about any grocery store is stocked with a dizzying array of options—and when it comes down to it, there are a lot of expensive, toxic, superfluous products crowding the market. Chances are, you already have one of the best, all-purpose cleaning agents in your pantry: white vinegar. As noted earlier, vinegar actually works as a great laundry booster, stripping away the chemical build-up that detergent leaves behind (and gets rid of clingy odors in the process). And beyond that, there are tons of other applications for the stuff around your home. Here, from vinegartips.com and frugalfun.com, 25 ideas for making the most of vinegar:
1. Deodorize the sink: Pour 1 cup baking soda, followed by 1 cup hot vinegar, down the drain. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, then rinse with hot water.
2. Deodorize the garbage disposal: Make ice cubes out of vinegar. Run the disposal with a few vinegar ice cubes and cold water.
3. Clean countertops: Wipe down surfaces with a rag dipped in vinegar.
4. Clean the fridge: Use a mixture of half water, half vinegar to wipe down the interior shelves and walls.
5. Remove soap build-up and odors from the dishwasher: Once a month, pour 1 cup of vinegar into an empty dishwasher and run the machine through its entire cycle.
6. Bust oven grease: If you’ve got grease spots on the oven door, pour some vinegar directly on the stains, let it sit for 15 minutes, and wipe away with a sponge.
7. To make old glassware sparkle: To get rid of the cloudy effect, wrap a vinegar-soaked towel around the glass and let it sit. Remove and rinse with hot water.
8. Get rid of lime deposits on your tea kettle: Fill the kettle with vinegar and let it boil. Allow it to cool, and rinse with water.
9. Remove stains in coffee cups: Create a paste using of equal parts vinegar and salt (or in lieu of salt, baking soda) and scrub gently before rinsing.
10. Treat Tupperware stains (and stinkiness): Wipe the containers with a vinegar-saturated cloth.
11. Remove stains on aluminum pots: Boil 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water.
12. Deter ant infestations: Spray outside doorways and windowsills, and anywhere you see a trail of critters.
13. Clean can openers: Scrub the wheel of your can opener with vinegar using an old toothbrush.
14. Remove stickers or labels: Cover the sticker with a vinegar-soaked cloth. Let it sit overnight—it should slide right off by morning.
15. Shine porcelain sinks: A bit of vinegar and a good scrub should leave them sparkling.
16. Clean grout: Pour on some vinegar, let it hang out for a few minutes, and buff with an old toothbrush.
17. Clean the shower door: Spray them down with vinegar pre-shower, or post (after you’ve squeegeed the glass) to remove hard water deposits.
18. Clean a grimy showerhead: To get rid of scum, fill a Ziploc with ½ a cup of baking soda and 1 cup vinegar and tie it around the showerhead. Let it sit for an hour, until the bubbling has stopped. Remove the bag and run the shower.
19. Make a toilet sparkle: Pour in a cup or two of vinegar and let it sit there overnight before scrubbing with a toilet brush.
20. Polish linoleum floors: Add 1 cup of vinegar for every gallon of water you use to wash the floor.
21. Clean paintbrushes: Soak paintbrushes for an hour before simmering them on the stove to remove hardened paint. Drain and rinse.
22. Clean grills: Spray vinegar on a ball of tin foil, then use it to give the grate a firm scrub.
23. Disinfect wood cutting boards: Wipe down wood boards with a wash of vinegar.
24. Clean the microwave: Fill a microwave-safe bowl with 2 cups water and ½ cup vinegar. Heat it on full power for 3-4 minutes until it comes to a boil. Keep the door closed for a few minutes longer to let the steam fill the microwave, loosening the grime. Remove the bowl (carefully!) and wipe down interior walls with a sponge.
25. Polish patent leather accessories: Give them a rub with a vinegar-soaked cloth. Buff with a dry cloth.
May 11, 2010
May 11th, 2010
I was pleased to read that Sen Lautenberg had introduced legislation that would create more strict laws on product manufactures. This legislation intends to make it more difficult for companies to put 80,000 chemicals in our products without having tested them for human safety and consumption or better said would require companies to prove their products are safe for human use.
Yes that's right currently the EPA is responsible for testing chemicals to determine if they are dangerous for human consumption. Can you imagine that shampoo can be manufactured with any of a number of toxic chemicals and the manufacturer has no responsibility to test the chemicals for safety for human consumption. This isn't to say that they are blatantly putting out dangerous products but since they aren't responsible for proving the safety of their products they are certainly cutting corners. BPA is a prime example; its now going to be regulated by the EPA after being in use for decades. Having the EPA responsible for "proving" the health concerns of the chemicals manufacturers put in consumer products seems a bit backwards.
I was intrigued by this legislation so I sent Sen. Reid (my Senator) an email via his website. Here is the response in its entirety - pay special attention to the bold print;
Dear Mr. Rickman:
Thank you for contacting me about the regulation of hazardous chemicals. I appreciate hearing from you. As you may know, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with authority to require reporting, record-keeping, and testing requirements, as well as restrictions relating to certain chemical substances. In September, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that EPA will analyze and regulate six high-profile, widely used chemicals that have raised health concerns. Included in this list are: bisphenol A (or BPA), phthalates, brominated flame retardants, and perflourinated compounds. TSCA has been criticized as inadequate in providing for the effective testing and regulation of industrial chemicals, and for this reason some groups are calling for legislation to reform it.
On April 15, 2010, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced S. 3209, which would require manufacturers to provide a minimum set of data set for each chemical they produce, and would give EPA the authority to request any additional data it deems necessary to make a safety determination. This would significantly change the current method of chemicals regulation, as manufacturers would have to provide information about chemicals in consumer products instead of presuming substances are safe until proven dangerous, as is currently the case. This bill is currently in the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Please know that I will keep your support for reforming TSCA in mind should this or similar legislation come to the full Senate for consideration.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. For more information about my work for Nevada, my role in the United States Senate Leadership, or to subscribe to regular e-mail updates on the issues that interest you, please visit my Web site at http://reid.senate.gov. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
My best wishes to you.
United States Senator
So the bottom line is that "some groups" feel the 1976 law needs to be revised...it doesn't appear that Sen Reid is very excited about this legislation and perhaps doesn't see the merit in making companies responsible for ensuring the safety of their products. The bill is currently in "committee".
So I pose the question; is anyone out there concerned about the untested chemicals in your products? Are we going to continue to sit on the sidelines and allow corporations to sell us toxic products that may well be responsible for the prevalence of cancer in our society, certainly impact our immune systems, and impact our well being and that of our children daily?
Am I the only one "UPSET" that our government has done this poor a job at protecting its citizens? Regulate ALL chemicals and do it now Sen Reid. Push the legislation forward Mr. Reid...you are the Majority Leader in the Senate and you have the power to make this an issue. If the health of your constituents is what drove the Health-care legislation enacted earlier this year as you have stated, then this should be attached to it and passed quickly. Make corporations responsible for the toxic products they sell; not the EPA, and not the government.
Protect our Children Sen. Reid.
May 08, 2010
EPA now has to demonstrate the chemicals are unsafe. According to a summary of the bill Lautenberg’s office released, EPA has only required testing for about 200 chemicals of the 80,000 in the agency’s inventory. EPA has regulated only limited uses of five chemicals.
Industry lobbyists say they are willing to accept tougher federal enforcement in exchange for the growing number of state restrictions on chemicals. “We hope it can get done sooner rather than later,” said Keith Belton, a lobbyist with Dow Chemical Co.Dooley said in the statement, however, that the bill “undermines business certainty by allowing states to adopt their own regulations and create a lack of regulatory uniformity for chemicals and the products that use them.”
A Lautenberg aide said tougher federal chemical laws will negate the need for states to act. “Sen. Lautenberg is a strong defender of the states’ ability to protect their citizens from environmental hazards, and the Safe Chemicals Act does that,” the aide said. “But the bill would also provide certainty and consistency for industry by establishing a strong federal program that will ease the political pressure on state legislatures to pass their own laws.”
Environmental groups offered more support for the legislation but said they would work to strengthen it further by forcing the most hazardous chemicals off the market sooner.
“Changing the existing law would make a significant difference in people’s lives by reducing daily exposure to toxic chemicals,” said Daniel Rosenberg,an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement.
The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental groups, commended Lautenberg for introducing the legislation.
“Requiring the chemical industry to prove the safety of chemicals, and ensuring that workers are notified if a safety determination is not issued by EPA, are important to ensuring the health and safety of the public and workers,” the group said.
Hazardous chemical law overhaul would increase power of federal regulators - The Hill's E2-Wire
"It is suggested that 5% of cancers, 10% of Neuro Behavior Disorders, and 30% of Asthma cases in children are caused by toxic chemicals..."
May 05, 2010
So I ask the question; if cleaning products had warnings like: "This cleaner can suppress the immune system" or "this cleaner has a suspected carcinogen as a main ingredient" would you still buy it? The problem is cleaning chemicals are KNOWN health hazards yet so few people truly are paying attention. So I ask; how can we change this? What are your thoughts on educating the masses on what bleach does to the body? Write your comments below.
In today's world you don't need cleaning products that are poisonous to get the job done. How about this as a means of understanding the dangers; If you have to put childproof locks on your cabinets because you are "Afraid" your child will get into the cabinet and consume poison you need to go green. Toxic cleaning chemicals are not any better than the green products that can be purchased or made for that matter. What they are is a danger to your health and that of your loved ones. While they clean the surface of dirt they leave VOC's behind on the surface and in the air to be absorbed by the body at a later date.
What chemicals should you be on the look out for? Here is a short list that isn't complete but will give you some idea. If all else fails don't buy it if it says danger, warning, poison, or anything along those lines. Here is the list:
1) Chlorinated phenols found in toilet bowl cleaners are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
2) Diethylene glycol found in window cleaners depresses the nervous system.
3) Phenols found in disinfectants are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
4) Nonylphenol ethoxylate, a common surfactant (detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe; it has been shown to biodegradeslowly into even more toxic compounds.
5) Formaldehyde found in spray and wick deodorizers is a respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen.
6) Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners damage mucous membranes.
7) Perchloroethylene, a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage.
8) Butyl cellosolve, common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver.
We could literally write a book about the health affects of cleaning chemicals but suffice it to say that the warnings on the labels are enough. "Poison" is a clear indicator. Now the question is what are you going to change? If you'd like more info on green cleaning products that are safe for you and your family read these articles:
Life without laundry soap
Green cleaning products list
As always we would love to hear your thoughts and how we can help you or someone you know. It literally only takes a small change to make a huge difference. Have a great and green day!
May 02, 2010
Dream2clean serves the Reno/Tahoe area with Green cleaning services for Residential and Commercial clients. Check us out at Dream2clean.com.
Otarian, the first in a planned chain of vegetarian restaurants opened in New York this week, with two more locations planned for London later in the year.
Carbon reduction company Sustain measured the carbon footprints of each menu item for the company, which will appear alongside the footprint of a comparable meat dish.
The aim is to encourage customers to think about the impact of their food choices on the planet and understand the environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption.Items that represent the biggest carbon savings will be actively promoted to customers.
Working with food sustainability consultancy Eat England, Sustain has carried out comprehensive "cradle-to-grave" carbon footprinting, which calculates greenhouse gas emissions from each stage of the products' lifecycles.
This includes sourcing the raw materials for each ingredient, manufacturing, packing, transporting, cooking and disposal of the product.
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The calculations were performed according to PAS 2050 -- the U.K. Government's widely accepted carbon footprint specification.
Otarian founder Radhika Oswal, said: "With Otarian I hope to show that food can be delicious and good for the planet.
"If each vegetarian meal saves even one kilogram of carbon emissions or grain, or one litre of water or oil, the cumulative benefits of eating at Otarian can change the planet's current trajectory."
Jean-Yves Cherruault, environmental accounting manager at Sustain, said: "The work we have been doing for Otarian is very relevant given the ongoing debate about low carbon food choices.
"The carbon footprint assessment was instrumental in encouraging engagement with suppliers and identifying ways of reducing greenhouse gases from the menu.
"This hopefully marks the start of a new way of doing things for the restaurant industry."
Read more: http://www.greenbiz.com/news/
April 26, 2010
For all the excitement over low cost solar power, much of it is still in the development stage backed by government resources and has yet to prove that it can compete on the market with cheap fossil fuels. However some private investors are starting to bet on low cost solar in a big way. Among them is tech specialist Len Batterson, whose startup NextGen Solar is kicking into gear.
NextGen Solar will use nanoscale solar “paint” technology developed by Argonne National Laboratory, with the goal of lowering production costs while increasing efficiency compared to thin-film photovoltaic materials.
Many Roads to Cost-Competitive Solar
From turnkey solar kits to the use of low-cost solar materials, there are many different angles from which to push solar into the competitive energy market. A solar paint that can be economically applied to different surfaces is one solution. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is already working on a silicon based solar ink, and The University of Texas is developing spray-on solar cells. According to chicagobusiness.com writer Paul Merrion, Argonne’s solar technology can be applied to many types of building surfaces, including windows. It goes on like paint, then dries to form microscopic interconnected solar cells.
Affordable Solar Power in Action
If commercialization proves successful, solar paint and other forms of low-cost solar power will have an impact that goes beyond lowering utility costs for private property owners and renters. Even in today’s market, solar power is helping to bring costs down in the subsidized housing sector. It’s only a matter of time before low cost renewable energy becomes ubiquitous among all facilities owned or subsidized by the government, relieving taxpayers from the budget-sucking burden of fossil fuel utilities.
Original article: Tina Casey
April 24, 2010
April 24th, 2010
Going green has never been easier yet I have noticed that even many of my closest friends still use toxic cleaners in their homes; around their toddlers, on the floor where they play, on the counters where they eat, and in the dishwasher where they clean. I have asked them the reasons over the past year and as you can imagine have heard various excuses why they have not made the change to green cleaning products. We hope to dispel the reasons here today and get them moving in a healthier direction.
As you can imagine the most compelling reason heard is that its more expensive to buy green products. True or false? FALSE. While many of the products you can purchase off the shelf at your local store may cost more the alternatives that are online or that can be made are anything but "expensive". The key is to buy green cleaning products that can be diluted. For example - Shaklee sells a product called Basic H2 that can be diluted into 3 different products; window/mirror cleaner, all-purpose, and degreaser. In a normal home environment the $16 kit will last 18-24 months. That's only three bottles of off the shelf 409 (which is really not good for you) and how quickly do you use a bottle? Further you can make you own cleaning products in your home. We've blogged about this before so go check it out. Vinegar and water make a fantastic glass/mirror cleaner and its cheap but more importantly it works as good if not better than that nasty toxic windex product you buy off the shelf.
The other reason we hear is its not convenient; recycling is a hassle, buying green cleaning products takes time, making better decisions regarding food ingredients is time consuming, and I'm already strapped for time. We would argue that you DO NOT have the time to buy toxic products; you'll spend more time visiting the doctors office as a result of using bad chemicals in your home. Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC's are items in your home that are known dangers. Many of the cleaners used in homes today increase the amount of VOC's in your air and therefore can impact your health and the health of your loved ones. Some of these VOC's depress the immune system making it easy for you and your family to get ill. Spending more time sick; missing work, school, or play time means that toxic cleaners actually take more of your time. There is a simple solution; ask. At Dream2clean we are here to help you make better choices for your family - choices that will improve health and save you money at the same time.
The last issue is a bit more difficult to overcome because it falls in the category of habit. Changing habits is one of the most difficult things to do. As we get older we become more resistant to change. It is said that a habit takes 30-45 days to change and since this is the case each of us would have to make a concerted effort to change. Instead of reaching for Tide (that your mother used) reach for the laundry ball that you bought online which will save you a ton of money in the next 12 months and prevent toxic products from being on/in your clothes. Removing toxic cleaners from your home is like stopping smoking. It won't happen overnight and you will have to put effort into it. The great thing is there are companies out there that will make your transition easy; just ask. We all habit ourselves into health issues; we eat poorly cause its habit, we don't exercise because its habit, we smoke because its habit, and we don't clean up our home because we either don't know any better or its habit.
Going green is not only the right thing to do for your families health its the right thing to do for mother earth. Many folks talk about leaving a legacy of debt behind for the next generation and while that is a concern it will be moot if we don't take care of the one thing that matters most - Mother Earth.
April 23, 2010
Originally uploaded by digimanstudio
If you aren't familiar with the great work the folks at New2U computers are doing here in Reno. Go check them out:
They recycle computers and computer parts. Then rebuild and sell them to the public at greatly reduced prices. You need something for a computer, extra computer for the kids, printer, HD, etc. You have to check them out first.
Great stuff you guys are doing...congratulations on your success!!
Originally uploaded by digimanstudio
Larry & Renay at the Monthly Reno Green Drinks event at the Siena. Great time for everyone, meet many green business owners, and others. Good people, great food, good wine...can't ask for much more than that.
Thanks to Larry DeVincenzi and Smartbrands for being the host and the Siena Spa and Casino for putting out a great spread in a great venue.
See everyone next month at Amendment 21!
April 21, 2010
A brewing fight over a chemical is threatening the support of a key stakeholder in the food-safety bill expected to hit the Senate floor as early as this week.
At issue is the safety of Bisphenol A, a chemical used to manufacture food and beverage containers like baby bottles, infant formula packaging, canned fruits and vegetables, office water coolers and soda and water bottles.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation to ban the substance, also known as BPA, from being used in food and drink containers and has signaled that she plans to offer a similar amendment when the food safety bill is debated on the Senate floor.
“I introduced my bill to ban BPA from being used in food containers because I feel very strongly that the government should protect people from harmful chemicals. I continue to believe that BPA should be addressed as a part of the food-safety overhaul and plan to offer an amendment to do so,” Feinstein said in a statement to POLITICO.
Feinstein’s office did not provide any more details on what the amendment would say.
Opponents are concerned that Feinstein will attempt to ban the substance and argue that the science does not support such drastic action.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association sent a letter last week to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatening to pull its support for the food-safety bill if it is amended to include a ban or phaseout of BPA.
The group urged the Senate leaders to oppose a ban while the Food and Drug Administration completes a review of the substance’s safety.
“BPA has been used for over 30 years to improve the safety and quality of food and beverages, including by providing protective coatings for cans and metal closures for glass jars,” GMA President Pamela Bailey wrote. “Because adequate alternatives are not currently available, [a ban] would adversely impact an exceptionally wide range of canned and other packaged food, from fruits and vegetables to soft drinks and beer.”
But Janet Nudelman, policy director of the Breast Cancer Fund, said, “BPA is a poster child for bad-acting chemicals linked to breast cancer and other diseases.”
Bisphenol A battle makes way to Senate - Chris Frates - POLITICO.com
April 21st, 2010
Dream green: News from the front lines of the (R)evolution
We all know plastic bottles last for years, and years, and years, and years, and years, and years (you get the point) sitting in landfills. Don't we all know this? No? Well then lets get everyone educated. Plastic, especially hard plastic, could possibly be our only legacy? Imagine that you go to 7-11 and buy a bottle of water you are very thirsty so you drink it very quickly and throw the bottle in the trash can outside. You go on living the rest of your life; 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years pass and you die. The plastic bottle you drank when you were 20 will go on living in the landfill for another 400-1000 years (depends on which study you subscribe to). So in fact your legacy is a filled landfill full of plastic bottles.
|167 plastic bottles per person per year in the US|
Many commentators tell you to abandon the plastic bottle completely. While this would be a great thing for the environment, energy consumption, the future, etc. I favor myself as a bit more of a realist. The average American uses 167 plastic bottles a year, 20 of them are recycled. If we could cut this consumption by 75% we would lose over 4 Billion water bottles annually. Think about that what does 4,000,000,000 billion plastic bottles look like? You could wrap the earth 109+ times.
I don't expect you to abandon your old ways that easily so lets start with baby steps; don't buy bottled water to put in your refrigerator. You are spending $10-20 a week on bottled water. That is $520-1040 a year. Instead buy 5 reusable (non-BPA) water bottles like the below. Fill it up in the morning and go; you can continue refilling it throughout the day if you need to with no need to buy plastic water bottles or soda bottles.
Last thing I'll leave you with is; eliminate off the shelf cleaners and instead use green products that can be diluted at home. You will eliminate the waste of the throw away plastic bottle the off the shelf products come in saving the landfill, energy used to create the bottle, etc. Look under the green products tab above for some green cleaning product recommendations.