One plastic teabag can release billions of microplastics into your cup

September 30, 2019 by  
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The next time you are craving tea , choose the paper teabag or loose-leaf tea in a reusable infuser — just steer clear of the plastic teabag. Why? A recent McGill University study found that just one plastic teabag can leach billions of microplastic particles into your beverage. Professor Nathalie Tufenkji, of the McGill University Chemical Engineering Department, was surprised to find that premium teabags, made of plastic , were offered at her local Canadian coffee shop. For research purposes, she then asked graduate student Laura Hernandez to purchase several plastic teabags from a number of different brands. Next, the research duo collaboratively ran tests and analyses in the laboratory to discover the amount of microplastics being released after steeping the teabag. Related: Have your plastic and eat it, too — average American ingests 50,000 microplastic particles a year Results alarmingly showed that as many as 11.6 billion microplastic particles and 3.1 billion nano-sized particles were contaminating the tea. Nano-sized particles are small enough to enter the human bloodstream and human cells. These numbers were considerably above-average — in fact, thousands of times higher — relative to other food products and beverages. Tufenkji said, “you’re literally adding plastic” into your cup each time you steep a plastic teabag. Microplastics are everywhere, contaminating the oceans and the marine organisms that live there, and often making their way into our food chain. A joint study — published earlier this year by the University of Newcastle in Australia and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and available for viewing here — announced that humans are ingesting about 5 grams of plastic per week, which is about the size of a credit card. Consuming tea brewed from plastic teabags could very well increase that collective annual amount. Currently, the two types of plastics linked to adverse effects on the human body are Bisphenol A ( BPA ) and Phthalates. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued warnings on BPA exposure creating negative effects like metabolic disease, birth complications and other health problems. Phthalates, meanwhile, are known to disrupt the body’s natural endocrine functions. Even more worrisome, regarding ingestion of microplastics, is that microplastics act as “toxic rafts” that pick up other environmental pollutants around them. In other words, microplastics attract environmental pollutants, concentrate them and carry them. Ingesting these microplastic “toxic rafts” rife with concentrated pollutants therefore increases the risks to your health. Unfortunately, there is no study yet that examines the actual danger that the plastic teabags, made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and nylon, pose to humans. Instead, more research is required to understand the long-term impact that various microplastics can have on human health . “There’s really no research,” Tufenkji said. “But this really points to the need to do those studies. Think of people who drink one or two or three cups of tea a day, every day.” Tufenkji moreover emphasized that these plastic teabags are just another example of single-use plastics that are fomenting more environmentally destructive trouble than they are worth. It is up to consumers to fight for alternative packaging and to urge government policymakers to regulate plastic production and plastic use. Decreasing plastic packaging will not only improve the environment, but it could also safeguard one’s health as well. + Environmental Science & Technology Via EcoWatch Image via Conger Design

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One plastic teabag can release billions of microplastics into your cup

Are you accidentally eating the toxic parts of fruits and veggies?

April 10, 2019 by  
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Nearly every reference to healthy eating will list fresh fruits and vegetables at the top of the must-eat list. That’s no surprise, considering that together, they can provide nearly every vitamin and mineral a body needs. While some produce options can be gobbled up from the outer skin to the inner seed, there are parts of certain fruits and vegetables that contain dangerous substances. While most of these substances are not toxic in small doses, they can definitely make you sick, especially if you have any sort of compromised system, allergies or food sensitivities. Even the healthiest eater should be aware of the dangers that lurk in their food. Here’s a reference to the parts you should avoid in your favorite fruits and veggies. Non-organic skins Before we get into specific types of fruits and vegetables, it’s important to mention the role organic growing practices have on food. That’s because conventional growing methods douse produce with pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. If you consume the edible skin on conventionally raised pears, apricots, grapes and carrots, you are allowing those chemicals directly into your system. It makes the case for buying certified organic products raised sans the toxins. At the very least, be sure to thoroughly wash your produce before eating. Related: 15 fresh ideas for leftover fruit that will reduce your food waste Apples Full of all kinds of nutrients , an apple a day can indeed help keep the doctor away. But stop short of eating the entire apple, because the seeds contain the amygdalin molecule, which produces cyanide once ingested. In small doses, it will not cause serious illness. But take heed in the warning surrounding the word cyanide, or you may suffer a serious ache in the pit of your stomach. Pits Speaking of pits, toss the center of cherries, apricots, peaches, plums and apricots. They contain the same organic cyanide components as apple seeds. Even though they aren’t likely to send you to the emergency room, it’s best to avoid aggravating your system. Raw almonds and cashews This one might surprise you, because nuts aren’t typically listed under the category of fruits or vegetables. That’s because almonds and cashews are not actually nuts, but rather seeds. While seeds offer lots of yummy benefits, these two varieties also contain cyanide — but only in their raw form. Now don’t be too alarmed, because it is illegal to sell truly raw almonds in the U.S. Even those packaged and clearly labeled as raw have been steamed or cooked another way. They’ve all been through the pasteurization process, too, after a salmonella outbreak a few years ago was trailed back to the fruit. Lemon and lime seeds All parts of lemons and limes can be consumed, and they offer many health benefits. However, if you have a condition that recommends against ingesting seeds, you will want to avoid these citrus seeds. They can be hard to digest. Rhubarb leaves Hear the word rhubarb and you likely think of the sweet pie served across the country. But see rhubarb on the plant , and you might be surprised to see a fleshy pink to lime green, celery-shaped stalk. The taste of raw rhubarb is extremely tart and favored by few. As unappealing as the stalks might be, the leaves are actually quite poisonous. The leafy green portion contains dangerously high levels of oxalic acid, which can cause serious kidney damage and even death. While it does take high quantities to cause this severity of illness, even a small amount can make you feel sick. Related: 8 of the best fruits and vegetables you can eat in their entirety Cantaloupe skin While you can power right through the skin of many fruits , the outer rind of cantaloupe should be avoided. That’s because it is extremely susceptible to mold, which can make you quite ill. Lychee and ackee Lychee can be a spectacularly sweet treat. But if eaten while unripe, it can cause fever, convulsions and seizures, especially in individuals who are malnourished or have eaten it on a completely empty stomach. The unripe fruit appears to lower blood sugar, which can cause hypoglycemia. Ackee contains the same poison as lychee and is always cooked before consumption. Starfruit Although mostly safe for healthy individuals, starfruit can be fatal if you have any sort of kidney condition. Without proper kidney function, the toxins in starfruit can affect the brain and cause neurological issues. Early signs of a reaction to starfruit include hiccups, confusion and seizures. Asparagus Asparagus is a healthy vegetable known for its firm, green stalk. The plant also produces enticing red berries that are toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea, even in small doses. Potatoes Potatoes have the potential to develop a green color just under the surface of the skin when exposed to light. This green color is an indication that it has produced too much solanine, a natural glycoalkaloid, that can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue and intestinal issues. Store your potatoes in a cool, dark place, and avoid consuming green areas that develop. Cassava Cassava is ubiquitous in many parts of the world. Those who consume it regularly are acutely aware that it must first be dried, soaked and cooked properly, as consuming the raw form can result in serious health conditions. With these exceptions in mind, remember that fruits and vegetables are the best foods you can source for your body. Be informed about potential risks, and then enjoy the bounty provided by nature. Images via Shutterstock

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Are you accidentally eating the toxic parts of fruits and veggies?

How Internet of things startup Verdigris gives buildings a voice

March 16, 2017 by  
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The new cloud-based company promises savings up to millions of dollars. But for starters, the upfront investment is minimal.

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How Internet of things startup Verdigris gives buildings a voice

Dow, BASF, Eastman stir up new formulas for safer chemicals

March 16, 2017 by  
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The market opportunity for safer chemicals to replace those suspected to hold endocrine disruptors and other toxins is estimated to be headed to $100 billion by 2020.

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Dow, BASF, Eastman stir up new formulas for safer chemicals

New study finds PET bottles of five huge soda brands contain harmful heavy metals

October 7, 2016 by  
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The Indian government just delivered a blow to soda drinkers around the world. They commissioned a study that uncovered five toxins in the PET soda bottles of five major brands, all owned by either Coca Cola or PepsiCo . Heavy metals such as lead and cadmium are among the offending toxins. India’s Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) instructed the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Heath (AIIH&PH), based in Kolkata, to conduct the study. AIIH&PH found lead, antimony, cadmium, DEHP, and chromium in Pepsi, Coca Cola, Sprite, Mountain Dew, and 7UP. Coca Cola owns Sprite, and PepsiCo owns Mountain Dew and 7UP. The sugary drinks were all packaged in polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, bottles. Even worse, the researchers found as temperatures rose around the bottles, more toxins leached into the drinks. Related: Big Soda goes to war against proposed Soda Tax in San Francisco For their data, the researchers drew from four 600 milliliter bottles of each brand. In a Pepsi bottle, for example, they found 0.029 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of antimony, 0.011 mg/L of lead, 0.002 mg/L of cadmium, 0.017 mg/L of chromium, and 0.028 mg/L of DEHP. The Indian Express reached out to Coca Cola India, which did not provide an answer, and PepsiCo India for comment. A PepsiCo spokesperson said all their products “conform to Food Safety and Standards Regulations” and they wished to “emphatically reiterate” their products complied “with the permissible limits for heavy metals as laid down by these regulations.” There’s a problem with that – according to The Indian Express, “there are no permissible limits for heavy metals in cold drinks.” Indian government officials reportedly acknowledged India lacks standards for “safe plastic packaging” as some countries have. Exposure to heavy metals can lead to major health problems. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cadmium and lead are two of 10 chemicals of ” major public health concern .” The other three offending toxins also can result in negative side effects. AIIH&PH conducted another study last year that found heavy metals in medicines contained inside PET bottles. Via The Indian Express Images via eddie welker on Flickr and PublicDomainPictures.net

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New study finds PET bottles of five huge soda brands contain harmful heavy metals

Mushroom burial suit turns dead bodies into compost

August 14, 2016 by  
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Designer Jae Rhim Lee believes there’s a better way to be buried. Not in a coffin in your finest clothes, but rather with a mushroom burial suit that can turn your dead body into clean compost. Lee’s eco-friendly garment, called the Infinity Burial Suit , relies on two different kinds of mushrooms that break down the toxins in the body and helps speed up the natural decomposition process.

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Mushroom burial suit turns dead bodies into compost

Researchers discover toxic heavy metals in Portland’s trees and air

April 6, 2016 by  
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We don’t often think about whether there are toxins in the trees around us, but researchers in Portland, Oregon recently made a very unsettling discovery. Common tree moss in the area contains dangerous  heavy metals  like arsenic, and it isn’t just in the trees – it’s in the air, too. Read the rest of Researchers discover toxic heavy metals in Portland’s trees and air

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Lawsuit accuses Jessica Alba’s Honest Company of fraud

February 29, 2016 by  
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The Honest Company co-founded by Jessica Alba grew to prominence on a platform of providing all natural and non-toxic products. They aim to “reduce the ubiquitous presence of toxic chemicals in our…environment.” But a recent lawsuit claims they’re lying to consumers about the ingredients in 41 of their products. Read the rest of Lawsuit accuses Jessica Alba’s Honest Company of fraud

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Twelve common toxins that are killing your kids’ brain cells

January 14, 2015 by  
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They’re calling it a silent pandemic. Children all over the world are losing brain power because they’re exposed to toxins in our water, food, furniture, and clothing. Dr. David Bellinger of the National Institutes of Health estimates Americans alone have lost a total of 41 million IQ points through exposure to neurotoxins. Last year, his research was corroborated by a study that linked not only IQ loss, but also ADHD and autism spectrum disorder to twelve widespread toxins. Read the rest of Twelve common toxins that are killing your kids’ brain cells Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ADHD , arsenic , autism spectrum disorder , chemicals , ddt , ETHANOL , fluoride , lead , manganese , mercury , neurotoxins , pandemic , pcbs , pesticides , toxins

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Twelve common toxins that are killing your kids’ brain cells

New York’s fracking ban is the cue for eco-activists to mobilize

January 14, 2015 by  
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The ban on fracking in New York State is a great catalyst to inspire  grassroots environmental groups to come together. Shortly after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking due to health and safety concerns of residents, clean air, and drinking water, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a response that said he was opposed to a ban and would make sure fracking was “ safe .” A big piece of Wolf’s election promise was to slap a severance tax on dirty shale gas and use it to pay for schools, transportation , budget-balancing, etc. That sounds attractive from the sidelines, but it’s actually really scary how much new drilling will occur. Now is the time to reallocate resources from coast to coast, and get mobilized to stop fracking across the USA. Read the rest of New York’s fracking ban is the cue for eco-activists to mobilize Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: action , activism , andrew cuomo , ban fracking , capitalism , climate , Climate Change , climate chaos , Climate Disaster , congress , conservatives , ECO:nomics , economy , Environment , Facebook , fight , Fossil Free , fossil fuels , fracking , frontlines , Future , future generations , gas , governor andrew cuomo , hydraulic fracturing , keystone xl , KXL , money , natural gas , new york city , new york state , New York. , NOKXL , NY , obama , oil , Op Ed , pennsylvania , protests , renewable energy , renewables , republicans , revolution , shale gas , shalefields , social media , Tom Wolf , XL Dissent

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