June 7th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
A study published in the recent issue of Environmental Health Perspectives makes a startling discovery in samples of peanut butter, cold cuts and other fatty foods collected from the Dallas, Texas area: they all contain traces of a toxic flame retardant.
Read More:Peanut Butter ‘n’ Hexabromocyclododecane? Flame Retardants Found in Food
January 25th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
The EPA is expected to publish an updated position by the end of January on what the agency determines to be acceptable levels of dioxins based on the Reanalysis that began last August. The report is expected to set upper limits on what is considered safe dioxin consumption levels.
Read More:Will Hot Dogs Become Illegal? EPA to Announce New Dioxin Limits
May 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
You should eat fish at least twice a week, according to the American Heart Association. It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.
But concerns over mercury toxicity have prompted many consumers to avoid the fish counter. Luckily, resources like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector allow you to make safe, healthful meal decisions.
Pacific vs. Atlantic
Pacific halibut, caught along the West Coast from California to Alaska, is an eco-best choice. Alaska, in fact, is home to 75% of the halibut caught in the United States.
Fresh, wild Pacific halibut is usually available between March and November. Frozen halibut roasts, fillets and steaks are available year-round.
Atlantic halibut is another story. It’s an eco-worst choice, as it contains unsafe levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxic industrial chemicals.
The Price Factor
Pacific halibut is one of my favorite fish selections because it’s firm and flaky in texture, mild-tasting and extremely versatile. You can grill, bake, roast and sauté it, as several of our blog recipes prove:
Halibut fillets, however, can be expensive. On my latest shopping trip, I blanched at the price: $20 per pound.
Feeling frugal, I opted for sustainable Alaskan cod, which has been on sale over the last month for $6 to $8 per pound at local markets. Another firm fish, it can replace halibut in any of the recipes cited above.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Ocean Friendly Cuisine: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the World’s Finest Chefs
Photo courtesy of Robert Hsiao
Read More:Sustainable Halibut: Yes to Pacific, No to Atlantic
April 30th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Buy tickets for Disney’s Oceans, and you’ll see sobering footage of a shopping cart on the ocean floor—a sure sign of consumerism run amok.
This simple image conveys an incredibly important message: We’re destroying our environment. Climate change may garner more headlines, but ocean pollution remains a considerable concern.
What can you do to reduce your impact?
- Don’t Litter. Litter is a huge contributor to ocean pollution because it ends up in storm drains that eventually empty into rivers and streams. Even if you live miles away from the ocean, your litter will likely contribute to water pollution.
- Follow the Three R’s. How committed are you to the environmental mantra reduce, reuse, recycle? Your answer has a direct effect on the health of our oceans. Failure to embrace the three R’s leads to ocean pollution and mile-high landfills.
- Increase Your Sewage Awareness. Anything that goes down your dishwasher, washing machine, toilet and sink drains will eventually make its way into the ocean. This often leads to oxygen depletion that harms marine life, as well as nutrient loading, which occurs when excessive nitrogen and phosphorous are deposited into the ocean’s ecosystem. Sewage also increases ocean bacteria and parasites, creating a ripple effect that endangers the fishing and tourism industries.
- Understand the Dangers of Toxic Pollutants. Arguably, nothing is more detrimental to the world’s oceans than toxic pollutants, which have been linked to birth defects in wildlife and may contribute to cancer in humans. Lead and mercury collect in marine animals’ tissues, causing reproductive problems and nerve damage. World Wildlife Federation researchers have found that other wildlife, including polar bears and frogs, have experienced decreased fertility, thyroid dysfunction and demasculinization (in males)—a result of exposure to pesticides and industrial chemicals. Other toxic ocean pollutants include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are typically used to manufacture electrical equipment and have been known to cause reproduction problems in marine life. Genetic abnormalities have also been seen in marine animals exposed to polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are caused by burning wood and coal, as well as oil pollution.
- Participate in Community Cleanup Programs. Many seaside communities offer volunteer beach clean-up programs to keep their beaches clean and safe. By volunteering for such programs, you’re not only doing your part, but you’re also giving yourself an excuse to spend a day at the beach.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: The Culture of Flushing: A Social and Legal History of Sewage
Read More:5 Ways to Help Save Our Oceans
June 11th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
I don’t eat meat, but I eat fish. And I love sushi! All kinds, like salmon and mackerel, even weird stuff, like octopus and squid. It’s all good.
Sushi is a very sheik thing to eat. Celebrities love it. Today, sushi is synonymous with New York City and Los Angeles.
But now, celebrities like Woody Harrelson and Sting are petitioning popular sushi restaurant Nobu to take bluefin off their menu.
Bluefin tuna is nearing extinction. In a letter to Nobu, concerned celebrities asked Nobu to stop serving tuna. I guess it worked, because Nobu’s London restaurant agreed to put a note on the menu telling patrons tuna is endangered.
No one wants Charlie Tuna to disappear and here’s another reason to ditch the tuna. The Environmental Defense Fund calls bluefin tuna an eco-worst and recommends avoiding it, citing mercury and PCB contamination.
Like I said, I love sushi! But I’m careful to order low or no pollution fish. Salmon and mackerel are my favorites—especially sashimi salmon—and both salmon and mackerel are safer choices.
Read More:Celebrities Want Tuna Out of Nobu Restaurants
May 27th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
New York’s Hudson River is getting cleaned up, finally. Twenty-five years ago, the federal government declared the Hudson River a Superfund site, meaning it’s a filthy polluted mess in need of a good scrubbing.
Good news, starting last Friday a computer-guided dredging system began scooping out piles of disgusting mud, old tires, broken bottles, dead mafia henchmen and whatever else is under there.
Twelve dredging machines will work round the clock, six days a week, hunting for sediment contaminated with PCBs. Then the gunk will be hauled to a hazardous waste landfill in Texas. PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyl are harmful to both humans and animals.
Prior to 1977, before they were banned, an estimated 1.3 million pounds of PCBs flowed into the Hudson. New York officials are calling the cleanup the healing of the Hudson, but Hudson River pollution isn’t all bad.
Here’s my hero. The late, great George Carlin:
When I was a little boy in New York City in the nineteen-forties, we swam in the Hudson River, and it was filled with raw sewage! We swam in raw sewage, you know, to cool off!
And at that time the big fear was polio. Thousands of kids died from polio every year. But you know something? In my neighborhood no one ever got polio. No one, ever!
You know why? Cause we swam in raw sewage! It strengthened our immune system. The polio never had a prayer. We were tempered in raw sh**!
Via The New York Times.
Read More:Hudson River Gets a Dredging
March 25th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
After World War II, Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane, or DDT, a pesticide used to control lice and mosquito populations, was sold as an agricultural insecticide, but DDT was eventually banned by the Endangered Species Act, due to the risks it poses to wildlife, specifically birds, and human health, such as cancer.
Despite not being used for decades, DDT byproducts still exist in the environment, especially in marine animals like fish, and now a new study in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine links DDE, a breakdown of DDT, with obesity in young women.
The research, involving the offspring of 259 pregnant women living along and eating fish from Lake Michigan, discovered the group with intermediate levels of DDE gained an average of 13 pounds of excess weight and the group with the highest exposure of DDE gained more than 20 extra pounds.
Study participants were taken from a larger research sample first recruited in the 1970s with scientists approaching the daughters of these women in 2000. Experts also examined the correlation between PCBs, a chemical used in flame retardants and hydraulic fluids, and obesity, but no link was found.
Read More:DDT Exposure May Influence Obesity in Young Women