Category Archives: Toxic Products

Five Inconvenient Truths -Global steel industry

Interesting article, it discusses trade, overcapacity, raw materials, growth/slow down in building, and re-purposing of existing mills.  Maybe that is true. Read more here.

I must admit I am most intrigued by the existence of this group:

John Lichtenstein is a managing director for Accenture Strategy and the global lead of Accenture’s metals group.
The article did not discuss:  
  1. Changes in Environmental regulation. What if the total cost of an item was part of the selection process for materials (Aluminum vs. Steel)? What if LEED building specified LOCAL MATERIAL use or adding the effects of long distance shipping into the environmental degradation? What if shipping companies were forced to contribute money to the clean-up of the plastic gyre in the Pacific Ocean when shipping across the Pacific Ocean?  Unlikely, but possible and more sensible than carbon credits.
  2. Quality of the steel produced in China (I’d really like to know why the Bay Bridge is rusting with its low quality steel imported from China), coupled with the environmental devastation caused by converting raw materials to finished goods in a country that does not have strict environmental regulations and technologies.
  3. The main premise that global demand is slowing and will remain so, flies in the face of the greatest population being urban, and the population continues to expand. Housing in urban areas is made with steel, when it is high-density.

There is always room to learn more. I’ll be interested in Accenture’s next set of statistics.

There are many other Accenture articles; here is another from the same author.

How do you Pick your Beauty?

  • Honest Beauty lipstick –  antioxidant blend of coconut oil, murumuru butter, and shea butter, $18
  •  Hemp Organics lipstick –  made from 95% certified organic ingredients $15.80.

and Revlon is $5-10 and it lasts for 3 years. Can you imagine why it lasts that long?

Some Stores that Put Healthy First!

100% Pure – a whole line up of beauty. Take a look.

Drunk Elephant – this company describes ingredients and source, uses natural and “low-hazard” synthetic ingredients; that’s the way founder Tiffany Masterson, wants it.

Tata Harper –  has a natural beauty market, whose value is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018. Uses high-performance ingredients including Spanish lavender extract to help reduce wrinkle formation and retinoic acid from rosehip seed oil (instead of Retinol).

The Detox Market, the green beauty e-commerce shop; founder Romain Gaillard.

Ulta – beauty retailer in the U.S. – 950 stores, has natural products that includes a top-selling lip oil infused with green tea and avocado extracts.

Sephora – has natural products cleansers, anti-aging, shampoos, but also – biotechnology-backed Biossance, a 100% plant-based skin care line. Also has a “Naturals” landing page showcasing hundreds of items.

Beautycounter –  has their own line of products range from makeup basics like lipstick and blush to sunscreen and body scrubs.

Birchbox  – a NY startup debuted an “Ingredient Conscious” shop category.

WHY pay more?  Parabens and phthalates, , have been found to be endocrine disruptors linked to increased risk of breast cancer. A recent study  from UCB showed that stopping use of the chemical crap, can lower levels of people’s hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Remember, naturals have a shorter shelf life (2-3 months)!  You can also MAKE YOUR OWN cosmetics, then you know what you are getting. This is big-business and big money, you must read the label. We will know that we have made a change when the label is no written in “mouse print” and you can eat any of the cosmetics, creams, and lotions while actually being able to say the ingredients out loud!  Look at coconut oil, try out plant based products, recycle the jars of questionable stuff.

A lot of HOW you look, depends on WHAT you eat. Put down the cookie. Eat an Avocado.

Look for more interest in this area from businesses, start-ups and lawyers. Even Dianne Feinstein, a CA senator thought about legislation and  introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act. Please understand, YOU must know what you are putting on your face, I have almost no faith in legislation. It seens to add more watchers and less do-ers.

Gas Taxes & Gas Prices in CA

California Legislature passed a bill (Thursday April 6, 2017) —  a  $52 billion transportation package- passed with a two-thirds vote. This is a 12 cents a gallon increase in gasoline prices and more. 

We often pass bills, and learn about the consequences later. More than that, I believe what DOES NOT WORK is continuing to raise taxes without showing progress.

Let’s face it. We have a lousy track record on roads.

It seems everything is getting squeezed in California.  Will small businesses simply leave CA?

  • How will CA really fix our roads? (Roads are still unrepaired in cities and highways, and we keep paying.)
  • How can we ENSURE quality infrastructure updates? (Remember, corroding Chinese STEEL in the Bay Bridge?) (Road extensions that cost triple the estimate?)
  • How can we get fair, competitive bids? How can we stop year over year cost over-runs?
  • Will we address FLOODING on our highways? and Road Safety?  It has been a mess this year!

Senate Bill 1, which would fix California’s pothole-ridden roads and unstable bridges by hiking gas taxes and vehicle license fees.

  •  It squeaked by in the Senate 27-11
  • In the Assembly – It passed narrowly, 54-26.
  • After passing, the Legislature’s Democratic leaders began lining up for FUNDING  transportation projects for their districts. (Pork Barrel politics)
  • We really need oversight here, let’s prioritize, road repair, safety and removing hazards RATHER than “let’s build a new ITEM in my district”.

More details:

The deal will hike gas taxes +12 cents per gallon and diesel taxes +20 cents per gallon, starting Nov. 1, 2017.  It will create a new vehicle license fees starting Jan. 1.

  • nearly half of California drivers whose cars are worth under $5,000 would pay a $25 fee each year (50% of the cars in CA are worth less than 5K – WHO made this estimate?)
  • vehicles valued between $5,000 and $25,000 — about 40 percent of drivers in the state +pay $50.
  • Drivers of luxury cars would pay as much as+$175 more.
  • +$100 per year, starting in 2020, for electric vehicles

The bulk of the money would  go to road repairs, though it also includes more funding for public transit.

WHO will this affect? Many small businesses and consumers because cost increases would be passed on to consumers.  Construction workers, Landscapers, Mail-order, Internet Businesses (Amazon!), Tesla, Toyota, Diesel car owners, even the Clunker cars would take on a $25 registration fee.

We already have gas taxes, but judging by the pot holes that can pop tires and break axles, there has not been much investment in ROAD SAFETY OR MAINTENANCE. I wonder where the last 5 years of gas taxes went? Seriously, have you seen improvements in our roads? At least, Bike riders were not considered or included in this bill to provide road repairs.

It is often said that Democrats main concern is for Climate Change. Does this reduce driving from the average 40 miles /day? Does a gasoline tax reduce the numbers of cars on the road or lessen pollution? Does it even create local jobs? As a state, we need to take a look at our lack of strategic planning, cost to workers, state budget. As a Sanctuary City, SF & LA might be doubly concerned over Federal Funding cuts due to non-compliance.

Governor Brown, heard angry protests on:

  • environmental justice for low-income /working-class communities
  • regarding the Late-night concession to the trucking industry (politics in action!)
  • communities impacted most by dirty air

I imagine that CA tax-payers are wondering where this huge PILE of money will go. Where is the oversight? We keep paying and paying and still and still hear the standard line: We Don’t Have Enough $$.  We haven’t added roads to CA recently, we can’t maintain what we have, and our mass transit is a MESS. Go ahead, ride BART after 8pm, you’ll see that BART doubles as our “Bay Area homeless shelter”.

Another Viewpoint:  More pain at the pump? a video by PragerU

The Beeswax Workshop – a great Book!

Image resultThis new book has EVERYTHING!

You will learn how to make over 100 items: household cleaners, beauty balms, natural gifts for your friends and family and even hot glue.
The instructions are step by step so the projects are fun and easy to complete.

If you have tried to clean the toxics out of your home….. this is definitely the NEXT STEP. And it is way more fun than reading the labels (with impossibly small print) on all that horrid stuff in the supermarket and drug stores.

There are historical facts about the use of some of these awesome make-it-yourself items…. and facts to help motivate you to try something new.

For example, did you know:

Perfume and cologne are two of the more toxic personal care products on the market. Synthetic fragrance has been linked to dermatitis, asthma, insulin resistance and even cancer. Perfumes and fragrances represent more than 3,000 undisclosed chemical compounds. Manufacturers are not required to list the actual chemicals on the label. Using these recipes, those with sensitivities to fragrance can create their own unique solid perfume blends based on scents that they tolerate well.  from page 85

Some of the recipes are so wonderful, Calendula Hand Balm sounds like what my poor dry hands have been begging for …. (on page 79). There are so many things to try: bronzers, vinegar rinses for hair (my Mom did this), sunscreen and candles.  This book is packed with great information and recipes and …. you’ll get new ideas on hobbies and personal care and more!

It’s available on Amazon  and other stores / bookstores where fine products and great books are sold!

Clean-ups in our SF Bay Area

What’s in our soil? How do you really know if the soil is your area in contaminated? Since soil contamination can be limited to a small area  (the place where the body shop poured the solvent) it may miss detection and / or being part of a clean-up. It can leach into the water or contaminate your garden. It doesn’t have to be obvious.

With the increasing pressure for housing… a beautiful place near the water looks like paradise.  If you are looking for a great place to live in the SF Bay Area and you are a gardener, having a general idea that military bases usually have contamination or spent ordinance problems just isn’t good enough. An example close to my heart is Hunter’s Point. (Refer to Cleanup is Botched.)Now this area is the site of a massive rebuilding. “The Shipyard” is the subject of many catchy ads about this beautiful area. Is it? Most people point out the gentrification, but there are many claims and concerns about health issues that affect the residents. I have heard from groups charged with clean up that this is a HUGE issue for this area. Residents have claimed that the level of blood cancers and abnormalities are predominant in this area.

A birds-eye view of the Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. Candlestick Park, a Football stadium, is in the foreground

The amazing group, SCORES, has just built a great new soccer field at the Bret Harte School, it is build on the asphalt, artificial turf, nicely padded and makes a new, beautiful space in a high density area which has a tremendous need for a Play Place for kids. Is this area safe? I’m not trying to cast doubt, but I am calling for more careful and organized monitoring. Clean-up takes a lot of time and money. The concerned groups I worked with in 2000 are gone, and continuity remains difficult. Bottom line: How can you tell that it is done well?

No…. you don’t want to guess with the health of yourself or your family. If you have the right data, then amelioration can proceed.

There are companies that are pioneers in this area of clean-up.

Regenesis has been part of numerous successful clean-ups in our region . They have experience taking the necessary steps to resolve the problematic, environmental issues facing our region today.

From the development of the world’s first patented remediation chemical formulation, Oxygen Release Compound®(ORC), to the newest and most advanced groundwater remediation solution, PlumeStop® Liquid Activated Carbon™ (LAC), REGENESIS’ patented in situ products and techniques have been scientifically proven to remove or neutralize pollutants from sites contaminated by harmful toxins.

Regenesis is a global environmental remediation company leading in the research, development and commercialization of technology-based solutions designed to restore contaminated soil and groundwater. They have  scientifically proven, patented in situ products and solutions have successfully removed or neutralized hazardous industrial chemicals and toxins in more than 25,000 soil and groundwater cleanup projects across the globe. Check out their site to learn more about them. They participate in engineering, construction and environmental consulting –  serving a broad range of clients, including developers, insurance companies, manufacturers, municipalities, regulatory agencies and federal, state and local governments. Their goal is to simplify processes and significantly reduce costs while they  contribute to a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous world. Here is there URL, you can visit www.regenesis.com.

I’ll be looking forward to asking them some questions about the Shipyard and some toxic waste problems in our Bay Area.

Can skin cancer be prevented?

The best ways to lower your risk of skin cancer are to avoid long exposure to intense sunlight and practice sun safety. You can still exercise and enjoy the outdoors while using sun safety at the same time. Here are some ways to be sun safe:

  • Seek shade, especially in the middle of the day (between 10 am and 4 pm) when the sun’s rays are strongest. Teach children the shadow rule: if your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
  • Follow the Slip! Slop! Slap!® and Wrap! rules:
  • Slip on a shirt: Cover up with protective clothing to guard as much skin as possible when you’re out in the sun. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you can’t see through when held up to a light.
  • Slop on sunscreen: Use sunscreen and lip balm with broad spectrum protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (about a palmful) to all areas of unprotected skin. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling dry, or sweating.
  • Slap on a hat: Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears, and neck. If you choose a baseball cap, remember to protect your ears and neck with sunscreen.
  • Wrap on sunglasses: Wear sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB absorption to protect your eyes and the surrounding skin.
  • Sunscreen doesn’t protect from all UV rays, so don’t use sunscreen as a way to stay out in the sun longer.
  • Follow these practices to protect your skin even on cloudy or overcast days. UV rays can travel through clouds.
  • Avoid other sources of UV light. Tanning beds and sun lamps are dangerous. They damage your skin and can cause cancer.

Hopefully, this information inspired you! If you’d like to learn more from the American Cancer Society on this subject, click here.  I’d have to disagree with the “Slop on Sunscreen”, I’d rather stay out of the sun OR use natural sunscreens made from essential oils (check the doTerra site for recipes), than use chemical laden sunscreen. — the editor

POWER PLANT POLLUTION

NEW REPORT: EPA MUST PROTECT DRINKING WATER AND DOWNSTREAM COMMUNITIES FROM POWER PLANT POLLUTION

Health benefits of a strong rule worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year

Washington, D.C. – Power plants discharge more than 5.5 billion pounds of pollutants into U.S. waterways every year, contributing to the contamination of more than 23,000 miles of rivers and 185 water bodies whose fish are too toxic to eat.

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) weighs the nation’s first limits on toxic water pollution from power plants — due in September — a new report details the damage caused by the wastewater and the need for strong regulations to protect public health.

The report, “Selling Our Health Down the River,” presents evidence that EPA has been under-estimating the public health benefits of controlling metals including arsenic and hexavalent chromium (which can increase the risk of cancer), as well as lead and mercury (which can cause brain damage) released by power plants into rivers, streams, and lakes.

While EPA has estimated that controlling these pollutants would provide $14 million to $20 million worth of health benefits per year, a more accurate assessment would likely far exceed $300 million annually, according to the report, which was written by Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club, Earthjustice and Clean Water Action.

“EPA has a historic opportunity to update Clean Water Act protections and to make sure our nation’s drinking water systems and their consumers aren’t bearing the burden and footing the bill to clean up coal plant water pollution,” said Clean Water Action Water Programs Director Jennifer Peters. “EPA must put the prevention of contamination and public health protection  before the interests of an industry that has had a free pass to poison our nation’s waters for decades.”

The current wastewater pollution guidelines for power plants have not been updated since 1982 and do not restrict discharges of heavy metals, despite the fact that the electric power industry is responsible for the majority of toxic water pollution from industrial sources.

“For more than 30 years, power plants have dumped toxic chemicals into our waters, even though there are laws on the books that require the industry to clean up its act,” said Thom Cmar, Earthjustice’s lead attorney on this issue.  “This report shows the EPA the enormous benefits of finally righting this wrong, and why cleaning-up the nation’s biggest water polluters is a no-brainer.”

The proposed rule, formally the Effluent Limitations Guidelines for the Steam Electric industry, or “ELG,” contains a menu of options that the agency is considering.  The authors of the report urge the EPA to choose the strongest possible protections against water toxics from power plants, which are outlined in the agency’s proposal as options 4 and 5. Both would eliminate almost all heavy metal water pollution from the industry.

“Strong clean water laws are about a child’s right to grow up healthy and holding polluters accountable for decades of toxic dumping,” said Casey Roberts, an author of the report and staff attorney at the Sierra Club. “As things stand today, thousands of lives are unnecessarily put at risk due to outdated policies and irresponsible polluters. In September, EPA has a chance to change that for the better.”

“Coal-burning power plants are pouring poisonous heavy metals into our waterways. These toxic substances – like mercury, lead and arsenic – are putting at risk the health of our children and the developing brains of our babies”, said Barbara Gottlieb, Director of Environment and Health at Physicians for Social Responsibility. “We need robust, effective protection from the EPA to get this dangerous pollution under control.”

The benefits to public health, downstream communities, and the economy justify the largest possible reduction of toxic discharges.  Unfortunately EPA’s analysis only estimated the economic value of three specific human health benefits.  EPA disregarded the positive impact of, among other things, safer drinking water and fish that are safer to eat in waterways downstream from power plants.   When the full range of benefits is taken into account, the strongest possible regulations are justified.

“Americans will be much healthier because of this rule, and that has a huge economic benefit,” said Abel Russ, the lead author of the report and Attorney at Environmental Integrity Project.?”If you add it all up, looking at the human health benefits alone, the rule will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic value each year.”

For a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/1ff7wmD

Propyl Paraben

Are you eating an endocrine-disrupting chemical?

According to a new EWG analysis, the preservative propyl paraben  (link to article)– linked to disruptions in the body’s hormone signaling and not allowed in food in the European Union – is an ingredient in at least 49 widely available processed foods, including Sara Lee pastries, Weight Watchers cakes, Cafe Valley muffins and La Banderita Corn Tortillas.

Yup, that’s the same propyl paraben that cosmetics makers have begun to remove from their products.

AND you’ll find it in cosmetics…. take a LOOK at the fine print before you put it on your FACE!!!!! 

Store clerks will tell you when you ask: it’s only a little bit, look – it’s the last item on the list, its a preservative….. like this makes it OK, it most certainly does not!  –the editor

View this Post too! 

Force of Nature

Wal-Mart has embarked upon an unprecedented green makeover. The company’s move reflects the simple yet compelling philosophy that the most sustainable, clean, energy-efficient, and waste-free company will beat its competitors every time. Wal-Mart dispelled the long-held belief that going green kills jobs and profits, as it has been able to boost its bottom line even in the toughest of economies. In Force of Nature, Edward Humes chronicles the course of this unlikely second industrial revolution in which corporate titans enlist their supply chains to tackle product stewardship and sustainability, bridging the gap between planet and profit.

Jib Ellison was the change agent credited in proclaiming that Wal-mart could take a new green path. The Wal-Mart I remember? Low wages, skimpy benefits, and medical insurance that the tax payers pay for the giant Wal-Mart workers, add to that, Lousy products, careless location planning, poor disposal and clean up actions. To hear something different? Amazing! I am glad to read this book, it has been good for my brain and heart to be able to STOP ranting about Wal-Mart and its unending “bad-for-everyone” practices. Whew!  — the editor

 It makes me think ANY COMPANY can improve, set a goal and do better.  Green actions and conservation ARE GOOD for the Bottom-line. Read it with me!!

The Most Natural Organic Pool You Can Build Yourself

The Most Natural Organic Pool You Can Build Yourself
There are many reasons to avoid chlorinated pools, most of all due to your health and the environment. Natural Pools allow nature to provide hygienic water for swimming. The vibrant ecology of plants and animals condition the water so there is no need for any chemical disinfectants. These pools are healthy for people and wildlife. In fact the water quality in a natural pool is so good, many are well within drinking water standards!

Natural Organic Pools by PreventDisease

Scientists have known for decades that along with the good that comes with disinfecting water with chlorine, chemicals called disinfection byproducts can also be formed when chlorine reacts with organic substances like human skin and residues from body care products.
Why is absorbing chlorine through the skin thought to be so dangerous? When you swallow water, you can count on the liver to filter out many toxins- but when something gets absorbed through your skin, it goes straight into the circulatory system.
Studies have shown that drinking, bathing or swimming in chlorinated water may increase the risk of bladder cancer. Chemicals, most commonly chlorine, used to disinfect water can produce by-products that have been tied to increased cancer risk.

Organic Pools 

The nutrient level in an organic pool is carefully restricted so competition for the limiting nutrient (usually phosphorous) is fierce. In these circumstances, pond plants outperform algae, keeping it suppressed and barely hanging in at the margins. A pond, low in nutrients, is a healthy environment for wildlife. An organic pool is teeming with life. If an alien micro-organism, a human pathogen for instance, enters the water, it faces battalions of hungry pond dwelling micro-organisms to either starve it out of existence, or devour it. A water analysis of this pond water showed that it contained zero organisms of e coli. per liter of water.

Chlorine does NOT completely clean the pool. You may think so, but you are betting with your life! Pool water can enter your abdomen and cause devastating infection and illness. I know, because this happened to my daughter, who was a champion swimmer. She survived her ordeal AFTER abdominal surgery.   Thought you’d want to know.  — the editor

Swimming in a Natural pool among flowering plants of lilies, iris and marsh marigolds is a celebration of life. Soothing your limbs and mind and skin and eyes, it seems every cell in your body is telling you – this is the way swimming should be. Natural Pools work entirely with nature to provide hygienic water for swimming.