Cellphones shown to be “possibly carcenogenic”

An article in today’s Washington Post reports that an international panel of experts organized by the World Health Organization says the radiation from cellphones is “possibly carcinogenic.”

After an extensive review of scientific evidence during an eight-day meeting in Lyon, France, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – which included 31 scientists from fourteen countries – reached its conclusion.

A rating of “possibly carcinogenic” is the IARC’s third-highest rating, falling below “carcinogenic” and “probably carcinogenic.”

The IARC’s assessment now goes before the entire WHO and other national health agencies to determine possible guidelines for cellphone use.

There is evidence that heavy cellphone use is linked to several types of brain cancer

After their week-long meeting, the panel said there was some evidence that cellphone use was linked to two types of brain tumors but cautioned that there was inadequate evidence to draw conclusions for other types of cancer.

Although a controversial study in 2010 showed no clear link between cell phones and cancer, some advocacy groups contend it did raise concerns of a possible connection between heavy cellphone use and a rare but deadly form of brain cancer called glioma. As many cancerous tumors take decades to develop, experts say it’s impossible to conclude cellphones have no long-term health risks.

Earlier this year, a U.S. National Institutes of Health study found that cellphone use can speed up brain activity, but it’s unknown if that can cause any dangerous health effects.

This isn’t a new conversation. We reported a story in late 2009 on the findings of the Environmental Working Group outlining radiation risks posed by a wide range of cellphones. It will be interesting to see what action, if any, the WHO or other agencies decide to take on this issue.

Will the WHO create guidelines to help minimize radiation espoxure from cellphones?

Information on how radiation is transmitted via cellphones has been available for sometime.

To officially state that cellphone use – even if heavy amounts – could be a direct cause of cancer is a statement sure to cause deep fear and panic within the multi-billion dollar global industry. One wonders too what impact the lobbying efforts and pressure from the large telecommunication giants will have on those decisions. We can only sit back and watch what happens.

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Sustainable Packaging Coalition to launch new recycling label program

The current resin code for recycling plastics definitely has consumers confused

It’s challenging for consumers to know which numbered plastic bottle or container is recyclable and which isn’t these days, especially with the new types of plastic that are hitting the market.

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition plans to launch a voluntary labeling pilot program that they hope will eliminate the confusion about all the resin numbers we have to contend with.

The labeling system will classify packaging as “widely recycled”, “not recyclable” or “with limited recycling” — meaning consumers will need to check to see whether it’s recycled in their area. The labels will not address any recycled content the package may or may not contain.

“This is an effort to create a harmonized system that applies to all materials and to move away from resin identification codes because a lot of people think RIC codes mean an item is recyclable and that is not always the case,” said Anne Bedarf, an SPC project manager.  “Municipalities and local and state officials tell us that there is no question that people find the RIC codes confusing and that it causes significant consumer confusion.”

Bedarf said the program’s been designed so that the recycling category for a product or product component can change as its level of recycling changes — and hopefully improves. Though initially only SPC industry members will be able to use the new numbering system on their products until late 2012, the plan is to make it a universal labeling system sometime after that time.

Ziploc’s newest reusable – VersaGlasss containers

Almost every kitchen in America has a plethora of plastic containers ready to hold all sorts of left-overs. Chances are you’ll have a tough time finding lids to fit most of them.

With BPA in plastics getting plenty of attention in the news, consumers are looking for good alternatives that work. Ziploc®, a long-trusted household brand, has come up with a unique durable option.

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Plastic industry sues to keep plastic bags in place

There’s a growing movement to ban single use plastic bags. Countries are jumping on this environmental bandwagon. A number of states are in the process or have already banned them. Oregon is currently considering a state-wide ban, while Evanston, Illinois is debating whether to become the 22nd city to ban them .Other communities have imposed a tax on the bags, with Montgomery County, Maryland, passing a five-cent plastic-bag tax on May 3.

The plastics industry isn’t taking this lying down. Led by South Carolina-based bag manufacturer Hilex Poly, opponents in the plastic industry are waging an all-out campaign to deny that plastic bags pose a threat to the environment.

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Sip ‘N Go – the foldable water bottle that cuts waste

The Sip 'N Go water bottle can fold up to fit in your pocket

Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. That’s 1,500 every second! Out of the 50 billion bottles of water purchased each year, 80 percent end up in a landfill, even though plenty of recycling programs exist.

Many folks have begun toting a reusable water bottle. Even though it’s heavy when it’s full, it’s better than buying all those plastic water bottles, right?

But why can’t someone invent a lightweight, eco-friendly water bottle that’s easy to take wherever you want?

Someone has.

For more on this revolutionary flexible water bottle, see http://bit.ly/lytxC2.

The Toy Industry helps bring toys to kids in military families

Although this isn’t an environmental story, it is important. Doing something that makes children feel happy – particularly kids in military families –  simply takes a willingness and commitment to act.

It's often unrecognized that kids of military families serve too

Our military helps keep our nation strong and safe. But there’s an often-overlooked segment behind our military – the children. When one or both of their parents are called to active duty. the children suffer in silence, generally unrecognized for their involuntary service.

Realizing the enormous challenges these kids face, the Toy Industry and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America have created a program that distributes toys to children at military bases with the highest rate of deployment. Launched in late 2009, Play Comforts is the first national toy distribution program to serve every branch of the military and its families.

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The next sustainable source of rubber – dandelions?

 

Could a dandelion's milky liquid be a sustainable resource for rubber?

Ford Motor Company. has been working with researchers at Ohio State to create a new sustainable resource for rubber. Odd as it may seem, that source could well be the innocuous dandelion weed.

The sticky, milky white  liquid that seeps from the roots of the Russian dandelion (Taraxacum kok-haghyz) is currently being grown at OSU’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. If successful, Ford could use this substance as a method to improve the impact strength of plastics.

Russian dandelion could be the next sustainable source of rubber

It could then be used in things like  floor mats and interior trim if it meets Ford’s standards for durability,

Whoever thought that dandelions could prove durable, much less a potential enhancement and/or replacement for rubber? Sort of makes you think twice about pulling up those weeds.