Friday, February 28, 2014

Keep antibiotics off your plate!

Keep antibiotics off your plate!

Next time you bite into a pork chop or enjoy chicken salad this summer, you might want to thank Uncle Sam and the pharmaceutical industry for that special ingredient in your meat — antibiotics.
That's right! Up to 80% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in industrial animal confinements for chicken, beef and hogs at sub-therapeutic levels, not to treat disease, but to make the animals grow faster. While this practice has slightly increased profit for livestock producers, doctors have found that overuse of antibiotics in livestock feed is putting human health at serious risk.
According to the landmark "Antibiotic Resistance Threat Report" published by the Centers for Disease Control last year, 2 million American adults and children become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and at least 23,000 die as a direct result of infections. Tragically, even more die from complications. This is alarming and it has to stop.By adding a small amount of antibiotics in the feed or water daily, livestock producers not only promote faster growth, but also try to make up for the overcrowding and unsanitary conditions of factory farms. In recent decades, medical doctors and public health scientists have become alarmed at the steady rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that no longer respond to frontline antibiotics to treat disease in humans and have found proof that overuse of unnecessary antibiotics in factory farms is contributing to this growing problem.
Unbelievably, last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposed Veterinary Feed Directive, or VFD, that allows agribusiness to continue to feed antibiotics to healthy livestock and poultry, putting our health at risk. Instead of putting human health first and calling for the mandatory elimination of sub-therapeutic use, the FDA is calling for “voluntary” measures to curb antibiotic usage by agribusiness giants. This is outrageous! What we don’t need now is another set of toothless suggestions by the FDA when antibiotic-resistant "Superbugs" are on the rise.
For the past several years, mainstream medical and scientific groups like the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Union of Concerned Scientists and The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming have called for an end to this practice of using antibiotics for growth promotion because of the rise of new “Superbugs”.  To speak u you clan visit:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baking Soda (Again)

1. Wash your fruits and vegetables
Dissolve a few tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of cool water. Soak the fruits or vegetables for 10 minutes and rinse.

2. Deodorize your fridge or freezer
Place an open box of soda in your fridge or freezer to let it absorb the odors. Replace after 3 months.

3. Deodorize your cutting board
Clean and remove odors from your cutting board with the help of a sponge and a paste of baking soda and water.

4. Remove coffee stains from cups
Dampen the cup and start rubbing baking soda with a cotton cloth until the stain is gone. Rinse. Baking soda works great against tea stains as well.

5. Unclog drains
Pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of hot vinegar. Wait 15 minutes before flushing the drain with hot water. Repeat a few times if necessary.

6. Polish silver
A fast and easy way to polish silver, stainless steel and chrome is to put a pinch of baking soda on a damp cotton cloth and polish. The results will be immediate.

7. Remove stains
To remove wine, oil or grease stains from fabrics just sprinkle baking soda and leave for a few hours then brush off. If necessary, rub again with a paste of soda and water.

8. Use as fabric softener
Baking soda can successfully replace your fabric softener. Add half a cup to the rinse cycle and you will never think of going back to store-bought softener. It is also great for sensitive skin.

9. Exfoliate
Baking soda is the perfect exfoliator, able to remove dead skin cells from your skin. Just wash your face with lukewarm water, pour a teaspoon of baking soda on your palm and massage your face gently with circular movements for about 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water.

10. Brush your teeth
Baking soda can be used not just for cleaning your teeth but also as a natural whitener. You should be careful though, because it is abrasive and might hurt your gums, so do not press to hard.

Baking soda can be used in all spheres of life, from treating different disease to extinguishing fires. Its universal qualities as well as the fact that it can replace dangerous environmental pollutants we use on a daily basis make it my all time favorite and I hope yours too!
-repost via EcoEtsy.com_

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Homes Resistant to Bullets and Earthquakes

This fascinating piece is compliments of  Who, as usual, shares with such generosity.  What caught my eye and my head was that these structures are resistant to both bullets and earthquakes!

© Andreas Froese/ECOTEC
Thousands of pieces of trash that would otherwise be clogging waterways and landfills in Nigeria have been turned into sturdy, and surprisingly attractive, construction materials in the village of Yelwa, where the country's first plastic-bottle house is drawing curious visitors and plenty of press.
"Hundreds of people -- including government officials and traditional leaders -- have been coming to see how the [house's] walls are built in the round architectural shape popular in northern Nigeria.
Stronger Than Conventional Construction
The bottles are actually filled with dry soil or construction waste, not sand (an "unnecessary expense"), John Haley of ECOTEC, the firm that is training local masons in the technique, told in an email. They are then laid in rows like bricks and bound together with mud, producing a sturdy, well-insulated, and inexpensive three-room structure that is resistant to both bullets and earthquakes.

© Andreas Froese/ECOTEC
"In Nigeria millions of plastic bottles are dumped into waterways and landfill each year causing pollution, erosion, irrigation blockages, and health problems. Bottle houses take this dangerous waste out of the environment and make it useful," the environmental blog Eco Nigeria wrote earlier this year as the construction was in progress.


This is a short post....just a question.  Please, what’s the key detail lacking from all of these subsidies purported to ensure a “safe and secure” energy future?  
No matter how you define that nebulous term, fossil fuel subsidies are about increasing supply, not encouraging efficiency or reducing the external costs to human health and the environment.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recycling Facts

Recycling Facts [Infographic]

Re-blog posted by ecokaren on October 10, 2011 · 9 comments
We talk about recycling to death. We know which plastic number should be recycled and which numbers don’t. Although recycling is a way of life in most cities, there are communities that still don’t recycle. So then, it’s no surprise that the U.S. is not the recycling nation in the world.
Did you know that:
-Glass can be recycled over and over without ever losing its purity
–70% less energy is used to manufacture recycled paper
–The energy conserved from recycling one bottle can power a light bulb for one hour
–One recycled can of aluminum contains enough energy to power a Sony TV for three hours

All About Recycling
Source:Reusable Bags

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More On Water

Nearly half of all bottled water sold in the United States is tap water, which companies put in plastic bottles and sell at huge profits, according to a new report by Food & Water Watch. Tap water's share of the bottled water market grew from 32.7% in 2000 to 47.8% in 2009 (the rest is spring water), according to the group, which based its analysis on of the bottled water industry's own data. In all, 2.5 billion gallons of municipal tap water, which taxpayers pay to treat, is bottled and sold for $1 (or often much more) per gallon, when the same municipal tap water typically costs a penny or less per gallon ... and is conveniently delivered to your home.
"These are the numbers the bottled water industry doesn't want you to see," said Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter. "These figures reveal that more and more bottled water is basically the same product the flows from consumer taps, subsidized by taxpayer dollars—then poured into an environmentally destructive package, and sold for thousands of times its actual value."
According to Food & Water Watch, the increase in the use of tap water comes down, primarily, to Nestle's decision to switch its Pure Life brand from spring to tap water in 2005 ... and it's subsequent advertising campaign, which boosted sales nearly 20% (for an arguably less desirable product).
This all reminds us of our piece on the problems with bottled water, which we reprise here:
For years, advocacy groups have been raising concerns about bottled water: Not only do bottles end up littering the landscape, and not only are those plastic bottles derived from fossil fuels, but they also may leach chemicals into water and the quality of the water is not stringently monitored.
But many Americans have a healthy distrust of advocacy groups. If you're one of them, then consider this. The Government Accountability Office, the well-respected and nonpartisan research organization that serves Congress, has concluded a yearlong investigation, and come up with basically the same conclusions. Here's a summary:

Water Quality

Surveys have shown that perceived health benefits are behind the staggering increase in the consumption of bottled water -- from 13.4 gallons per person in 1997 to 29.3 gallons per person in 2007. While on paper, the Food and Drug Administration limits on contaminants in bottled water mirror the Environmental Protection Agency's strict limits on contaminants in tap water supplied by community water systems, that doesn't mean bottled water is as closely watched or as safe as tap water. Here's why:
  • Phthalates
    Unlike the EPA, which has set limits on phthalates in water, the FDA has stalled for more than 15 years in publishing a limit on the phthalate DEHP in bottled water. DEHP is an ingredient in plastic, and (the GAO report does not detail the chemical's potential health effects as we do here) laboratory studies have linked some phthalates to problems with male fertility -- including decreased sperm counts and penis and testes sizes -- with obesity, and with other health problems related to hormonal imbalances. Several phthalates have been banned in children's products for this same reason: They inhibit the normal function of testosterone, the male hormone.
  • Testing
    While the EPA requires drinking water suppliers to use certified labs to test their water, the FDA does not have this authority. Further, test results don't have to be reported to the FDA -- even if the test results show violations of drinking water quality standards. Even those states that have rules that exceed FDA requirements typically don't match EPA requirements.
  • Labeling
    While the EPA requires public drinking water systems to annually publish the results of water quality testing, along with information about the drinking water source and known threats, the FDA does not require this of bottled water companies. The GAO reports: "In 2000, the FDA concluded that it was feasible for the bottled water industry to provide the same types of information to consumers that public water systems must provide. However, the agency was not required to conduct a rulemaking requiring that manufacturers provide such information to consumers, and has yet to do so."
  • "High Risk" Regulation
    The GAO has repeatedly warned that the FDA is not up to the task -- lacking staff, funding and regulatory authority (while seeing staffing drop 19%, the facilities it was charged with inspecting increased 28% between about 2001 and 2007) -- to adequately police the nation's food supply. In January 2007, the GAO noted that the nation's food safety is a "high risk" area, in great part because it is policed by 15 separate agencies. Drinking water is only one more example.

Environmental Impact

  • Waste
    While recycling of carbonated beverages, like soda and beer, is encouraged in many states with deposit laws, these bottle bills are much less common for bottled water. As a result, about 75% of water bottles are thrown in the trash, rather than recycled.
  • Energy
    "Regarding the impact on U.S. energy demands, a recent peer-reviewed article noted that while the production and consumption of bottled water comprises a small share of total U.S. energy demand, it is much more energy-intensive than the production of public drinking water."
There are reasons to keep bottled water around: It's handy in case of an emergency, for instance. In most everyday cases, however, it's better for you and the environment to use a reusable water bottle and tap water (filtered if you think it improves the taste). Many of the issues with bottled water that the GAO identified can be solved with changes in regulation: Water quality could be assured if it matches EPA standards; labeling could provide full disclosure of source, testing contaminants detected; the nation's food safety regulatory structure could be totally overhauled; and recycling rates could be improved with new bottled deposit laws. However, bottled water will remain an item that lacks commonsense as long as U.S. tap water remains among the safest and most rigorously tested in the world.
The Daily Green previously summarized the problems with the bottled water industry like this:

The 7 Sins of Bottled Water

  1. Plastic bottles are made from petroleum.
  2. The bottles often go into the trash, rather than the recycle bin (in part because many states don't offer five-cent deposits to encourage recycling, as they do on soda and beer cans and bottles).
  3. The water is pumped far from where it is sold, creating needless pollution as trucks and barges transport it across the country or around the world.
  4. Some local communities have objected to the sale of their water, arguing that the water underground or flowing from natural springs is publicly owned and should not be exploited for profit.
  5. Bottled water is rarely as closely monitored as tap water.
  6. Tap water in the United States, when provided by a municipal system, is the most highly monitored and safe supply in the world.
  7. Fifty percent of the water sold in little plastic bottles is tap water, but it costs an awful lot more per gallon.