High levels of plastic byproducts discovered in children, study finds

September 18, 2019 by  
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A “human biomonitoring” study, jointly conducted by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute, is sounding the clarion warning that plastic pollution is present — and not just in our oceans, estuaries and the fish we eat. Rather alarmingly, the study found toxic levels of plastic byproducts in 97 percent of the blood and urine samples gathered from 2,500 children tested. The children in the research study ranged from 3 to 17 years of age. Of the 15 plastics under scrutiny, researchers detected 11 in the children’s test samples. Presence of these plastic byproducts in the children’s bodies increases their risk of hormonal dysfunction. That’s because plastics , at the micro level, can mimic the action of particular hormones, thus confusing the human endocrine system. The disruption, in turn, can manifest as obesity, metabolic disease, cancers, reproductive disorders, behavioral aberrations or developmental delays. Related: How to teach children about climate change What’s disquieting is that exposure to these plastic substances can arise from the most mundane things — storage containers, DVD cases, receipts, package linings, PVC piping, imitation leather, treated furniture, carpeting, even toys and medical devices. Plastics and microplastics surround us; consequently, we cannot avoid being exposed. One of the scientific authors, Marike Kolossa-Gehring, stated, “Our study clearly shows that plastic ingredients, which are rising in production, are showing up more and more in the body.” The study also revealed that the most susceptible subjects were younger children and children from poorer families. Both at-risk groups registered more plastic residue than their counterparts. Similarly, the study addressed the issue of replacements, citing that substances classified as perilous to humans should not be replaced by similar chemicals. After all, the substitutes might be just as toxic and detrimental. Hence, replacing with similar chemicals does not mitigate the chances of being exposed to harm. Researchers expressed uneasiness about the high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the young subjects. The apprehension surfaces from the fact that PFOA is extremely persistent, bioaccumulative and rather toxic. PFOA is typically used in the process for making Teflon, which explains why it is usually found coating non-stick cookware and waterproof clothing. PFOA is a threat because it is toxic to both the reproductive system and the liver. The European Union is expected to ban PFOA in 2020. The scientists concluded that more research is needed to discover the pathways that plastics take to enter the human body. A solution is likewise needed to minimize the risks of children accumulating plastic byproducts at unsafe levels. Via Spiegel Online and TreeHugger Image via Ruben Rubio

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High levels of plastic byproducts discovered in children, study finds

Ireland plans to ban single-use plastics

September 18, 2019 by  
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In a move that has environmentalists cheering, Ireland recently overhauled its waste sector by announcing a ban on single-use plastics, including cutlery, straws, cups, food containers and cotton bud sticks. The initiative also called for doubling the rate of recycled material and is considering new levy requirements for non-recyclable plastics, such as those found in food packaging at groceries. Richard Bruton, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, explained that the new policies are part of the Irish government’s improved climate action campaign to eliminate unnecessary packaging, reduce food waste by 50 percent, improve plastic recycling by 60 percent and cut landfill disposal by 60 percent. Related: Ireland will plant 440 million trees in 20 years In recent years, single-use plastic pollution has skyrocketed, prompting dismal reports that project an Earth of 2050 where our oceans are filled with more plastic than fish. Many people are realizing the urgency, and government officials are being pressured into addressing the plastic waste dilemma. Accordingly, the European Union has proposed banning single-use plastics — and Ireland is the latest EU member to join the bandwagon. That the campaign to remove single-use plastics has already taken hold on the Emerald Isle is a profound step in the right direction. To date, it is estimated that every person in Ireland annually generates more than 400 pounds of waste packaging, of which 130 pounds are plastic, and these per capita statistics are above the EU average. Implementing this single-use plastic ban is expected to bring promising results to Ireland’s ongoing war on plastic pollution . Bruton said, “All along the supply chain we can do better — 70 percent of food waste is avoidable, half of the material we use is not being segregated properly, two-thirds of plastic used is not on the recycling list and labels are confusing.” For those sectors unable to readily comply with the ban, heavy environmental taxes will have to be paid. These tax levies are a further measure designed to deter the widespread use of single-use plastics, especially non-recyclable ones. Conservation and ecology advocates are supportive of Ireland’s ban, confirming that plastic consumption must be reduced to safeguard the environment. Supporters also uphold that the cost of the added tax should reflect the dire impact single-use plastic has on the environment. Of course, the issue is not without its critics, some of whom claim the tax would do little to alleviate environmental conditions but would instead disproportionately affect lower-income consumers. Nonetheless, optimists assert that the Irish ban on plastic waste will mobilize a shift in industrial, business and consumer behavior that can ultimately contribute to a cleaner, greener Ireland, perhaps bringing the country closer to a sustainable Emerald Isle ideal. Via EcoWatch , RTE and Irish Times Image via Flockine

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Zen-like Seattle retreat keeps a minimal footprint in a lush landscape

July 20, 2017 by  
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For those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, feast your eyes on this beautiful light-filled cabin just outside Seattle in Greenwater, Washington. Robert Hutchison Architecture designed Crystal River Ranch House, a cedar -clad home hidden in the shadow of Mount Rainier that exudes a zen-like air of tranquility. Crafted to blend into the lush evergreen landscape, the 1,900-square-foot retreat was kept as compact as possible to minimize site impact and to epitomize the small home living movement. Set within a forest on the banks of the White River, the two-bedroom Crystal River Ranch House emphasizes connection with nature through its large glazed walls and natural materials palette . Custom-run and blackened Western Red Cedar planks clad the building and help it blend into the landscape. The entry courtyard serves as a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor environment. Despite the home’s compact size, the interior looks surprisingly spacious thanks to use of a centrally located double-height space , large glazed windows, white-painted surfaces, and abundance of natural light. The modern design is characterized by simple, clean leans and a cozy yet minimalist aesthetic. The communal areas, including the open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room, as well as a covered patio and outdoor patio, are located on the east and south sides of the home. The two bedrooms are placed on opposite ends of the house, with the master suite on the northeast side and the guest bedroom on the southwest side. Related: Natural material palette brings warmth to minimalist Swiss home The architects write: “Designed as a zen-like retreat from the bustle of the city, the open living area uses large glass walls to create a sense of space and light even on the Northwest’s darkest, rainy days. A steel-clad fireplace mass serves as a central architectural feature and utility, complementing the natural wood interiors while separating the living room from the covered outdoor patio.” + Robert Hutchison Architecture Images by Mark Woods

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Zen-like Seattle retreat keeps a minimal footprint in a lush landscape

PlasticWaste Labyrinth is a stunning look inside our plastic waste problem

July 20, 2017 by  
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Much of our trash is hidden from our daily lives, which is why design collective Luzinterruptus is shining the light on wastefulness in their latest environmental art installations. Located at the heart of Madrid’s popular tourist attraction Plaza Mayor, PlasticWaste Labyrinth is a massive maze constructed from the thousands of plastic bottles that had been consumed in and around the plaza in the past month. The Madrid City Council commissioned the installation, built in June for the fourth Centennial Celebration of Plaza Mayor within the “Four Seasons” city art program. The PlasticWaste Labyrinth design developed out of Luzinterruptus’ desire to create a large-scale interactive installation befitting the historical plaza. The giant plastic bottle maze is intentionally claustrophobic so as to make the public feel disoriented while exploring the intricate path and narrow passages flanked with three-meter-tall walls. Wrapped around the King Philip III statue, the 300-square-meter maze features corridors measuring 170 meters in length and takes three minutes to pace. “The idea was to graphically visualize the amount of plastic we generate in our daily lives which we don’t often recycle accordingly,” said Luzinterruptus. “As a consequence, all this plastic is dumped in nature and ends up floating in the ocean, forming huge plastic islands that are destroying the marine ecosystem and will not ever decompose. Bearing all this in mind, we thought it was paramount that the piece didn’t look friendly.” Related: Glowing circle made from thousands of recycled notebooks celebrate Bilbao’s book festival Around 15,000 plastic bottles, inserted with lights and placed in bags, were used for the walls of the PlasticWaste Labyrinth. The plastic bottles were collected from businesses surrounding the square as well as from local residents and visitors who could dispose of their plastic waste in two giant containers placed in the square. The maze was open day and night for four days. + Luzinterruptus Photography: Lola Martínez © 2017

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PlasticWaste Labyrinth is a stunning look inside our plastic waste problem

Artist Robert Lach Transforms Old Suitcases into Delicate Bird Nest Sculptures

May 16, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Artist Robert Lach Transforms Old Suitcases into Delicate Bird Nest Sculptures Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco design , eco-art , green design , Nest Colonies , recycled art , recycled suitcases , Robert Lach , sustainable design        

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Artist Robert Lach Transforms Old Suitcases into Delicate Bird Nest Sculptures

GSK’s US Headquarters Awarded Double LEED Platinum in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard

April 8, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of GSK’s US Headquarters Awarded Double LEED Platinum in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , Buro Happold , double leed platinum , double leed platinum certification , eco office , Francis Cauffman , glaxo smith kline , glaxosmithkline , green architecture , Green Building , green design , green office , green roof , LEED platinum , navy yard , philadelphia , philadelphia navy yard , Robert A.M. Stern , robert am stern , Sustainable Building , sustainable design        

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GSK’s US Headquarters Awarded Double LEED Platinum in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard

Robert Magno Makes Colorful iPhone Skins From Recycled Boxes

September 26, 2012 by  
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Wanting to make a unique and affordable iPhone skin, San Diego-based designer Robert Magno decided to work with what he already had: boxes. “I’ve been noticing that there are a lot of products that have packaging with great graphics,” Magno writes on his Kickstarter page . “This is a way to extend the life of the artwork on those boxes.” Magno hand-cuts the skins from actual boxes and applies a removable adhesive; and he says the skin still leaves plenty of clearance for the camera port and flash. Sure, they may look like ads for Hershey’s and Kellogg’s, but they’ll keep your phone from getting scratched! + Magno Designs The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to  see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following  this link . Remember to follow our  instructions  carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cardboard iPhone skin , DIY iPhone skins , green gadgets , handmade iPhone skins , iPhone , iphone case , iPhone skins , recycled boxes , recycled cardboard , Robert Magno , smartphones

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Robert Magno Makes Colorful iPhone Skins From Recycled Boxes

Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb Shop Dazzles at the London Design Festival

September 26, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb Shop Dazzles at the London Design Festival Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: british crafts , crystal bulb , Crystal Bulb Shop , Crystal Light , led light , Lee Broom , london design , London Design Festival , reclaimed design , salvaged shop fittings , upcycled display

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Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb Shop Dazzles at the London Design Festival

Designer Robert DuGrenier Makes Hand-Blown Glass Shells for Hermit Crabs

July 31, 2012 by  
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Glass blower Robert DuGrenier has been blowing glass for over 30 years, but for the last 15 he has been creating hand-blown glass terrarium sculptures to house living art compositions for about 50 hermit crabs (or “Crabitats,” as we’ve taken to calling them). Now, DuGrenier is offering his glass shells up for sale, so if you are a hermit crab lover then this is for you! Read the rest of Designer Robert DuGrenier Makes Hand-Blown Glass Shells for Hermit Crabs Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: crabitats , glass , glass blowing , hermit crabs , marine life , robert dugrenier , shelters

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Designer Robert DuGrenier Makes Hand-Blown Glass Shells for Hermit Crabs

Luke Anderson’s Alva Light Bulb is a Beautiful, Edison-Inspired LED Bulb

July 31, 2012 by  
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Early Edison light bulbs were a thing of beauty, but they were also terribly inefficient. Modern LED bulbs are much more efficient, but they aren’t always beautiful. Luke Anderson, a product designer from Lancaster, PA, wants to change all that by creating an LED light fixture that pays homage to the art of the bulb without sacrificing efficiency. The result is the Alva Lightbulb Lamp, a modern interpretation of the Edison bulb. Read the rest of Luke Anderson’s Alva Light Bulb is a Beautiful, Edison-Inspired LED Bulb Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Alva Lamp , Design objects , Edison Bulb , green bulbs , Green light design , green lighting , green lighting design , kickstarter , kickstarter projects , LED Edison Bulb , Thomas Alva Edison , thomas edison

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Luke Anderson’s Alva Light Bulb is a Beautiful, Edison-Inspired LED Bulb

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