Compact fluorescents can cause cancer?

CFLI’ve written a number of articles about the shortfalls and risks of compact fluorescent light bulbs. These include that CFL’s are expensive and, unless you’re willing to spend beaucoup bucks, they won’t deliver the kind of higher wattage we’ve come to expect from incandescents. Another concern is that CFL’s contain mercury, a highly toxic substance in itself, and if a bulb breaks, this poses a real hazard.

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Recycling and Product Responsibility programs reduce landfill waste

This is Part 1 of a 2-segment feature on California-based recycling and Product Stewardship programs. Check out Part 2 for recyclable specifics.

Recycle logoThe growing consumer demand for green products means that responsibly managing not-so-green products is crucial. California, which often leads the way with environmental issues, is working to create green solutions for “stuff” that until recently wasn’t recyclable.

Here’s the growing list of California’s recyclables.

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LED bulbs brighten up with SWITCH

SWITCH Lighting's new LED builb draws a line in the sand with other LED's

Recently, SWITCH Lighting gave me a personal demonstration of their new LED bulbs, and it convinced me that incandescent light bulbs’ days are numbered with this new technology coming out next month.

Right now we have to choose between compact florescent bulbs (CFLs), which contain a measure of toxic mercury, and expensive, not-quite-bright-enough light-emitting diodes (LEDs). SWITCH Lighting’s new LED bulbs, however, draw a line in the sand from any other bulb I’ve tried.

To find out how strikingly bright and affordable these new LED bulbs are, see the full article at http://bit.ly/wQr1Jy.

Grave Matters brings helpful green alternatives to modern burial

Grave Matters offers tasteful green alternatives to traditional burials

Two things in life are certain – death and taxes.

Death’s a subject rarely discussed unless one is forced to. Whatever the reason, death and burials are mired with grief, strained coping abilities and a myriad of details to deal with.

With a mind-numbing cost upwards of $10,000. traditional funerals and burials are generally left to funeral homes to manage. But this fairly new impersonal tradition is changing.

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Two companies caught by EPA trying to export hazardous discarded electronics to Vietnam

Two recycling companies were caught by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency trying to illegally export e-waste to Vietnam.

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EPA expands on clean-up rules for broken CFL

CFL’s (compact fluorescent light bulbs) contain what the Environmental Protection Agency and major retailers consider a “small amount” of powdered mercury in them.

Today, the EPA has updated their policy on how to safely deal with a broken compact fluorescent light bulb, a backhanded way of telling consumers that “small” is still toxic and dangerous.

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Safe Omega-3 from the ocean

Approximately 2 million tons of calamari are caught each year to produce calamari rings and fillets for food markets around the world. Almost 200,000 tons of that go unused – either thrown away or used for animal feed.CardioTabs Inc. is turning this massive waste into something healthy and beneficial.

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Innovative Water Wand makes tap water healthier

Water-In-Human-BodyThe human body consists of 75 percent water, though babies are over 90 percent. The amount and quality of the water we drink daily has a profound effect on our health and well-being. 

Over the past 15 years, the purity of the drinking water has improved in the US. But a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows tap water is getting worse, due in large part to old pipes that can leach contaminants and breed bacteria, weakened legislative water protections. delayed or weakened standards of levels of contaminants and/or the elimination of water protection programs. 

The government allows a percentage of contaminants in our tap water, which almost none of the water filters available on the market today – from the moderately priced to the more expensive ones – completely filter out. 

The Water Wand, a compact personal water filter made of high-grade stainless steel, is about to change that. 

The Water Wand infuses tap water with the best qualities of pure mountain spring water

The Water Wand infuses tap water with the best qualities of pure mountain spring water

 

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Are you eating endangerd tuna?

Sushi 1Seafood tracability is becoming an important factor for consumers, particularly with the steady rise in mercury and other harmful pollutants in our oceans.

Knowing where you fish came from – and how much mercury it contains – has just gotten a little easier.

DNA barcoding research conducted by the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History has shown that sushi purchased in supermarkets might actually be healthier than that from restaurants, where it’s likely you’ll end up eating endangered species of tuna.

The new research revealed that one-fourth of the tuna served on sushi menus is bluefin, while some was escolar, a waxy, buttery fish often labeled “white tuna” that’s banned for sale in Japan and Italy because it can cause gastrointestinal distress. 

Bluefin tunaNew DNA barcoading allows consumers to know what kind of tuna they’re really getting.

Jacob Lowenstein – a graduate student affiliated with the Museum and Columbia University – and colleagues used DNA barcoding to identify the kind of fishes labeled “tuna” in one Denver and 30 New York City restaurants. Almost half the restaurants did not accurately label the kind of tuna sold, and only 14 of the samples used for this study were listed on the menu by a specific name like bigeye tuna, albacore, or bluefin.

The results of the investigation showed how misled consumers have been when ordering their favorite sushi.

  • The most prevalent tuna found in sushi is bigeye (30, or almost half, of the 68 samples collected for this study). 
  • Nearly a third of the tuna was bluefin.
  • Only eight of the 22 bluefin samples were labeled “bluefin” on menus, and nine restaurants that sold the bluefin didn’t label it as such on the menu, although restaurants that did, did so accurately and charged more for the sushi.
  • Five of the nine samples labeled in restaurants as “white tuna” were not albacore but escola.

“It is very difficult to get reliable information about the species you are eating, especially since the FDA’s approved market name for all eight species of Thunnusis simply ‘tuna’,” says Lowenstein. New requirements that would market each species under its own name would help to clarify cases of economic fraud and allow conservation-minded consumers to avoid bluefin.

Like anychange, it has to start with consumer demand. Speaking up and asking questions are the first steps to really knowing what you eat and how safe it is for you and the environment.

No wonder the environment is losing

The worldThere’s been much lamenting across the media about the apparent failure of the Copenhagen Summit last month. Yet in reading today’s headlines, it really couldn’t have ended any other way.

Take for instance the following: Continue reading