July 2nd, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
I love soybeans! I eat a couple bags a week. You’ve probably eaten them too. Most sushi restaurants offer salted edamame beans as an appetizer.
Now, normally you’ll find them frozen in the natural foods section of any supermarket. So you’d assume you’re buying a natural, earthy-friendly food, right?
Not always. A new report claims many natural soybeans and soy foods are actually processed with a toxic chemical, but still labeled as natural.
Beyond the Bean: The Heroes and Charlatans of the Natural and Organic Soy Foods Industry, released by the The Cornucopia Institute, found a chemical solvent called hexane is almost always used in conventional soy protein ingredients and oils. Hexane separates soy oil from soy protein and fiber.
Hexane is a neurotoxin and poses serious risk to workers, the environment and anyone consuming foods contaminated with it. Luckily, hexane is not allowed during the processing of organic foods.
Read More:Toxic Chemical Found in “Natural” Soy Foods
June 22nd, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Results of a new study show workers who spray pesticides have double the risk of a blood disorder called Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance.
MGUS is characterized as abnormal levels of plasma protein that can lead to multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting the plasma cells in bone marrow.
Printed in the journal Blood, experts examined 678 men, ages 30 to 94, who apply pesticides, taking blood samples and having them fill out a questionnaire asking about pesticide exposure and application methods.
Researchers compared this data against a similar group from a large MGUS-screening study taken from the general population. The comparison revealed MGUS was 1.9 times more prevalent in pesticide workers older than 50.
Certain chemicals heightened risk more than others. The insecticide dieldrin increased MGUS risk 5.6 fold, while the fungicide chlorothalonil only raised risk 2.4 fold. Either way, scientists insist people should be more aware of the dangers.
Fortunately, most of us aren’t spraying pesticides, but to help safeguard yourself, try buying organic cherries, strawberries and peaches, these fruits are among the most contaminated.
Read More:Pesticide Sprayers at Risk for Blood Disorders
June 1st, 2009 - Laura Klein
With all due respect to my fellow OrganicAuthority.com blogger, Gerry Pugliese, who recently shed doubt on whether organic foods are actually more nutritious: I strongly disagree!
It’s been proven, scientifically, that plant-based organic foods are higher in nutrients and better for our health. I am deeply passionate about this – in fact it’s one of the core reasons I launched OrganicAuthority.com several years ago!
After studying the science behind how conventional and organic foods are grown in culinary school, I had a paradigm shift. I discovered why organic foods taste better and are of superior quality: we aren’t spraying them with synthetic toxic pesticides that are designed to kill (see the EPAs definition of pesticides). And I discovered that we are poisoning the earth, humans, animals and everything in between with these same synthetic toxic pesticides (see our blog Carbofuran Gets the Axe – a single granule of the chemical can kill an adult bird).
Today, I consider organic food to be one of the most powerful forms of preventive medicine we have available to the human race; and is a key component to green and healthy living. The good news is, you can simply buy organic foods over the counter! If you think organic foods are expensive, I say try health care and prescription drugs. Now that’s expensive. There are truly miraculous stories of people healing themselves from serious disease and illness like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, MS and more, simply by switching to a pure organic whole foods diet. The added bonus, organic foods are of superior quality and flavor!
Myriad qualified experts agree that organic food is nutrient-rich and healthier than ‘conventionally’ grown foods…
Organic Produce: Nutritional Powerhouse
In a study published in March 2008 by The Organic Center,1 a host of past and present studies were analyzed.
One of them, The Worthington study, focused on fertilizers and food nutrition levels. In the study, four nutrients tested as being significantly higher than conventionally-grown food, while one “toxic” nutrient (Nitrate) was significantly lower in organic food (that’s a good thing):
- Vitamin C: +27%
- Iron: +21%
- Magnesium: +29%
- Phosphorus: +19%
- Nitrates: -15%
The same study also found higher quality protein in organic foods vs. conventional food (higher quality protein is determined by the number of amino acids that are evident).
Healthier Food, Organically Grown
In another recent study entitled “Living Soil, Food Quality, and the Future of Food,”2 the following was revealed:
- Organically grown spinach demonstrates significantly higher levels of flavonoids (an antioxidant) and vitamin C, and lower levels of nitrates.
- Organically farmed tomatoes have significantly higher levels of soluble solids and natural plant molecules called secondary plant metabolites, including flavonoids, lycopene, and Vitamin C. Most secondary plant metabolites are antioxidants, a class of plant compounds that have been linked to improved human health in populations that consume relatively high levels of fruit and vegetables.
Definition of Organic Food: Common Sense Dictates Better Health!
Organic foods are grown without the use of chemical fertilizer or pesticides and have not been processed using irradiation or added hormones.
Let me repeat:
- no fertilizers
- no pesticides
- no irradiation (the process of exposing food to radiation)
- no added hormones
I’m not a scientist, but this statement alone is quite convincing that organic foods are a healthier and more nutritionally rich option! Simply put, organically grown foods are not bombarded with synthetic, toxic chemicals that are linked to serious diseases like cancer.
As always, be an informed consumer:
- Products labeled “100 percent organic” must contain only organic ingredients with the exception of water and salt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Products labeled “organic” must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients.
- Products that are made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients are allowed to be labeled “made with organic ingredients.
Interested in step-by-step, personalized guidance on creating a healthy, green lifestyle? Check out my free Green Club online introduction video to find out more!
1. The Organic Center, March, 2008 Report:
2. The Organic Center, March 13, 2009 Press Release:
Read More:The Science is There, Plant-Based Organic Foods Are More Nutritious!
February 25th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
I have bad luck shoveling snow. In college, we had a blizzard and I got stuck unearthing my car out with a bucket! It took me nearly three hours. Then last year, I broke two snow shovels freeing my car from the driveway. Not fun.
But despite the aggravation and stiff back, my snow grief was actually very green. No harmful rock salt. No exhaust from a snow blower. And no ice-melting chemical pellets. Hooray for me.
Now, if you’re in search of eco-friendly ways to clear the snow from your driveway. Here are some tips from The Daily Green:
- Use an electric snow blower instead of gas.
- Invest in a “snow melt mat.” It’s an electric heating system installed in the blacktop.
- Scatter sand or birdseed for traction.
- Go easy on the chemical de-icer.
- Calcium chloride salt is less harsh than sodium chloride and potassium chloride.
- Don’t use kitty litter or wood ash. They’re messy and don’t melt ice.
- Avoid products with nitrogen-based urea.
- Wear boots with good tread.
I’ve got a couple redneck friends that would probably add starting a big bonfire on the ice or doing something involving M-80s and shotgun shells. But I am sad to see shoveling with a bucket in your running shoes with a post-frat party hangover didn’t make the list.
And if none of these make sense to you. You can always stay inside and wait for spring.
Via Julie’s Health Club.
Read More:De-Ice Your Driveway the Green Way…
December 17th, 2008 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Recycling on your own is pretty limited. You can reuse plastic containers and glass bottles, compost newspaper and bundle other recyclables, but barring the impractical, that’s about it, until now!
A Japanese company has invented an in-office paper shredder and recycler that actually makes usable sheets of paper.
The Meiko SEED paper recycling system can transform used business paper into 1,500 sheets of new paper.
It takes 10 hours to produce 1,500 sheets and requires 200 liters of tap water and 38 kWh of electricity. The environmental footprint looks like this:
- Virgin paper: 390.7 liters of water and 80.3 kWh of energy consumption;
- Recycled paper: 153.4 liters of water and 31.4 kWh of energy consumed.
Paper can be recycled up to 10 times. The Meiko system uses 30% less water than similar systems and costs a mere $86,000. Apparently that’s a competitive price because the company expects to sell 100 units in the first year.
Although cynics wonder what happens to the wastewater. A lot of paper is made with chemical coatings.
Read More:The Paper Shredder that Makes Paper…
July 31st, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
As someone dedicated to organic living, it’s likely you’ve eliminated commercial air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, mothballs and other nonorganic deodorizing products from your home. If not, be advised that the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has found that exposure to the volatile organic compound (VOC) 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB) may reduce your lung function.
“Even a small reduction in lung function may indicate some harm to the lungs,” says NIEHS researcher Stephanie London, MD. “The best way to protect yourself—especially children who may have asthma or other respiratory illnesses—is to reduce the use of products and materials that contain these compounds.”
VOCs are a diverse set of compounds emitted as gases from thousands of commonly used products, including tobacco smoke, pesticides, paints and cleaning products. They’re also released through automotive exhaust. 1,4 DCB is a white solid compound with a distinctive aroma, similar to mothballs. It is primarily used as an environmental deodorant in products like room deodorizers, urinal and toilet bowl blocks, and as an insecticide fumigant for moth control.
“Because people spend so much time indoors, where these products are used, it’s important that we understand the effects that even low levels might have on the respiratory system,” says NIEHS researcher Leslie Elliott, PhD. “There has been very little research on the health effects of this particular compound in non-occupational settings.”
“This research suggests that 1,4 DCB may exacerbate respiratory diseases,” adds NIEHS Director David A. Schwartz, MD. “As part of the new disease-focused approach at NIEHS, researchers will use this information to better understand the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases.”
Read More:Deodorizing Product Alert
June 9th, 2006 - Laura Klein
On June 2, 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council filled a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency to take immediate steps to remove a highly toxic household pesticide, dichlorvos (DDVP) from the market. DDVP a known carcinogen (studies have shown that DDVP causes cancer), is commonly found in pest strips, aerosol sprays and pet collars. Yuck! And we put this stuff on our pets? I don’t!
The NRDC kindly pointed out in the petition that in 1995 the EPA published a preliminary decision to ban all home uses of DDVP. This came on the heels of a deal that the EPA cut with Amvac, the manufacturer of DDVP, which will allow the toxic pesticide to stay on the market. You can find DDVP in products like Amvac Insect Strip, Swat Pest Strip, and Alco No Pest Strip.
The EPA states in the forward of the Office of Pesticide Programs Annual Report for 1995, Publication Number: EPA 730-R-95-002, Date: December 1995:
“EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) is making significant progress in carrying out its important responsibilities – - safeguarding public health and the environment from pesticide risks, and ensuring that pesticides are regulated fairly and efficiently.”
The 1995 report states:
“OPP issued a proposal to minimize the cancer and neurological risks of the insecticide dichlorvos (DDVP) in September 1995. Dichlorvos is used to control pests in the home, on livestock and manure, and in warehouses. The Agency is proposing to cancel some uses of dichlorvos, including all residential uses and use on stored food. Additional uses could be cancelled unless certain changes, such as restrictions on reentry into treated areas and prohibition of use except by licensed applicators wearing protective clothing, are incorporated into product labels.”
My question to the EPA: What happened to carrying out “. . . important responsibilities – - – safeguarding public health and the environment from pesticide risks . . . ?” Did we forget that part?
DDVP driven from a WWII nerve agent it is part of a group of pesticides known as organophosphates. This class of pesticides is one of the most dangerous pesticides on the market.
Symptoms of the DDVP poisoning include flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and death in big doses. The chemical is banned in Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden.
Aaron Colangelo an NRDC attorney states in a press release, “The agency’s continuing failure to protect public health is unlawful and inexcusable . . . We will pursue a full administrative trial. If EPA denies our petition, we will seek review in federal court.”
To be continued . . .
Read More:Is the EPA Safeguarding Public Health?
May 12th, 2006 - Administrator
In a recent study, the Environmental Working Group tested the blood and urine samples of four mothers and their daughters looking for a common relationship between the “body burden,” or the chemical cocktail of industrial pollutants that’s found in the human blood stream, of mothers and their daughters.
The study found a common link between the two generations outside of their genetic makeup, looks or personality. The additional link: inherited industrial pollutants that swim throughout the blood stream over a lifetime. And we wonder why our cancer rates and serious health ailments are on a steady rise?
The tests found that women’s blood and urine samples were polluted with an average of 35 consumer product ingredients including, plasticizers, flame retardants, and stain-proof coatings. The study found that the daughters of the mothers had more chemicals in common with their mothers than an outside group of 16 other women who were also tested. These chemicals can commonly be found in consumer products such as fabrics, furniture, pots and pans and cosmetics amongst many others.
The study also found that a large proportion of the industrial pollutants that is inherited from the mother, could survive in the human blood stream for up to a lifetime. It is pretty eye opening to see the scientific proof of the pollution of toxic chemicals that circulate throughout the human body from the everyday products we use and consume. Additionally when you look at how long it could potentially take for the human body to eliminate these chemicals it makes you think twice about the products you purchase.
The study charts the length of time it will take for the daughter to eliminate up to 99% of the chemical pollutants she inherits. For instance, on the bright side it might only take one day for a new born to eliminate phthalate plasticizers. What are phthalate plasticizers? According to www.EWG.org, “Phthalates are common plastic softeners and solvents in a wide variety of consumer products, including cosmetics, paint, and plastics.”
It could take up to one year to eliminate mercury and somewhere between adolescence and 60 years of age to eliminate flame retardants and stain proofing chemicals and up to 166 years of age (beyond our lifetime) to eliminate lead. EWG.org states, “Metals — Mercury and lead — Common metals include lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium – Some cause lowered IQ, developmental delays, behavioral disorders and cancer at doses found in the environment. Used in a wide array of consumer products and commercial applications.”
Finally the study confirms that pollution does build up in the human body over a life time. Chemicals that were found at higher levels in the mothers were discovered to endure over many years. This persistent build up of chemical pollutants in the human blood stream increases our risk of constant long term health issues. Those chemicals included: lead, methylmercury, brominated flame retardants, and the Teflon- and Scotchgard-related perfluorochemicals known as PFOA and PFOS.
Anyone who thinks that the human body is impermeable to chemical industrial pollutants found in everyday consumer products, is only kidding them self. Those that choose to avoid or ignore scientific proof that chemicals are a big problem and may be linked to many of today’s chronic health ailments will probably spend a lot more time in a doctor’s office over a life time, and more money on pharmaceutical drugs that cause more side effects then they do “cure,” than someone who makes conscious decisions about the everyday products they use.
Remember: Get healthy and go organic!
P.S. Look for our upcoming e-book on non-toxic living. Currently we are looking for our reader’s feedback and opinions. In exchange for five minutes of your time you will receive a free copy of our e-book. If you are interested in speaking with us please email me at [email protected] .
Read More:This Mother’s Day, Consider the Chemical Cocktail You’ll Pass On To The Next Generation
March 14th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
The House of Representatives passed a bill last week that threatens the safety of our food supply.
The National Uniformity for Food Act of 2005 (HR 4167) is the result of food-industry lobbying. Sponsored by Rep. Michael Rogers (R-MI), it would remove warnings about arsenic in bottled water, pesticides in fish, lead in candy and allergy-causing sulfites, among other dangers, according to an Associated Press report. The bill requires states to follow federal labeling laws, which are not as stringent as many state laws. In California, for example, voters passed Proposition 65, which forces companies to warn the public about toxins like mercury in tuna.
The bill’s proponents argue that labeling should be consistent across state lines so that a label in New York is consistent with one in Alaska. But this places more than 200 state food-safety laws at risk.
“There seem to be a lot of lawmakers who think that states’ rights end at the supermarket sliding doors,” says Andy Igrejas, director of environmental health for the National Environmental Trust. “This is special-interest politics at its worst—a blatant, under-the-dinner-table handout to major campaign contributors.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) managed to attach an amendment that would allow states to warn consumers about mercury in fish. It passed with a 253-168 vote.
A similar bill will soon be introduced in the Senate. Please call your senators to voice your concerns. You can also sign the Organic Consumers Association petition by clicking here.
“We look at this bill and think that House members have sold their votes to big business interests that fear consumer labeling laws which save lives and expose harmful ingredients commonly used in conventional foods and beverages,” says Organic Consumers Association Executive Director Ronnie Cummins. “GOP leaders and some Democrats who backed the bill really are out of touch with consumers who are more conscious than ever about the quality of ingredients in their favorite foods. This willingness to put the interests of their donors ahead of the demands of their constituents is really a travesty.”
Read More:Safety Alert: Congress Plays With Your Food
April 7th, 2005 - Laura Klein
Do you know what chemicals are in your natural and organic products?
In my quest to live a more sustainable and organic lifestyle, one of my goals has been to uncover and discover personal beauty products that are organic and chemical free. You may wonder why I add chemical free to my qualifications. You may think organic products must be chemical free because they are organic, right? Wrong.
There are many personal care products that carry the organic label and claim they are “all natural and organic” but they are not chemical free. How can a product make this claim and contain synthetic chemicals? The government does not require the cosmetic industry to test the chemicals they put in their products for safety. Additionally the cosmetic companies are not monitored by the government thus allowing questionable synthetic chemicals to find their way into personal products.
Yet when it comes to labeling products and produce as “organic,” the USDA has instituted semi-stringent labeling standards on organic products, or products that contain organic ingredients. If a product has the USDA organic label with a 70% on the label this means 70% of the ingredients are organic. Potentially the remaining ingredients, or the other 30%, may contain or may all be synthetic chemicals such as parabens and laurel/laureth sulfates.
Why doesn’t the government require testing of synthetic chemicals? The National Toxicology program a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges the risks shown in lab studies but states that the US population is exposed to theses chemicals at levels too low for the population to be at risk (Source, The Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2005 http://www.safecosmetics.org/docUploads/Wall%20Street%20Journal%2Edoc )
The FDA’s website states,
“The regulatory requirements governing the sale of cosmetics are not as stringent as those that apply to other FDA-regulated products. Manufacturers may use any ingredient or raw material, except for color additives and a few prohibited substances, to market a product without a government review or approval.”
Yet the question remains, does the government take into consideration repetitive, long term, exposure to these chemicals on a recurring daily basis? Scientists are now finding that the human body stores many of these synthetic chemicals for life and can not eliminate them. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and what you put on it is absorbed into the human blood stream. Just as you carefully pick organic fruits and vegetables, one should carefully consider the personal products you put on your skin and in your hair. If you don’t want synthetic chemicals circulating in your blood stream, just as you don’t with pesticides and toxic chemicals, don’t put them on your body or in your hair. Choose your personal products wisely and get to know the ingredients.
Kim Erickson author of Drop Dead Gorgeous states, “Some cosmetic chemicals accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues, where they can remain for years and damage your cells.” As an example, a study, reported in the January 2004 edition of the Journal of Applied Toxicology, found parabens the most common cosmetic preservative present in significant amounts in 18 out of 20 breast cancer tumors.
Something is just not right with these standards and practices. The USDA requires companies to pay large amounts of money to update their manufacturing systems so they can put the organic label on their product. Additionally organic farmers are required to pass rigorous tests that meet certain certification standards so they can get the USDA certified organic label. Yet the synthetic chemicals that are added to theses personal products are never tested for human safety. Something is wrong.
Lets take a look at a couple of synthetic chemicals that have come under fire, parabens and laurel/laureth sulfates. Unless you read and study product labels, you probably have never heard of these synthetic chemicals.
Parabens are used in many personal products as a preservative to extend the shelf life of products. Parabens are known to be toxic and cause allergic skin reactions. There are several types of parabens. You can recognize this chemical under numerous names such as Methyparaben, Propylparaben, and Sobutylparaben. Basically, any chemical name that contains the word “paraben,” is a paraben. These chemicals can be found in face and body moisturizers, body wash, cleansers, liquid hand soap, sunscreen, toothpaste, hairspray, mascara, etc. For a whole list of products that contain this chemical you can visit Environmental Working Group’s website. Whole parabens have been found in samples of breast cancer tumors but a direct scientific link has yet to be made (source: http://www.mywiseowl.com/articles/Parabens ).
Laurel/laureth sulfates/sodium lauryl sulfates is a detergent used in shampoos for its foam creating abilities. It is known to cause, skin rashes, eye irritation, and even hair loss. It is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the parenthetic explanation “comes from coconut.”
As a consumer, know you have a choice. If you want a truly pure chemical free product they are out there. You just have to know how to read labels and decide if you want a pure chemical free product. If you come across ingredients on a product label that you are not familiar with and they sound like they came from your high school’s chemistry lab, you should probably find out more about the ingredients in question. To do this you can go to the Environmental Working Group’s website. They will tell you if the chemical has ever been tested for human safety and what it is commonly used for.
You would be surprised at the uses of the synthetic chemicals commonly found in cosmetic and personal care products. The same chemicals used in these products are used in industrial manufacturing processes to grease gears, clean industrial equipment and scour a cement floor. Chemicals used to clean industrial equipment may not be the safest choice with which to wash one’s face. Some of these chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems that continue to rise in the human race.
To date I have found three skin care lines that are truly pure and the majority of the ingredients are organic. I will review these skin care products in an upcoming blog as I use them.
Read More:My Quest for Pure, Organic Skin Care