February 24th, 2011 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Scientists at the Rochester Institute of Technology are working to use microalgae to clean wastewater and produce biodiesel simultaneously; the school announced in a press release last week.
Purifying wastewater before sending it back into the ecosystem would reduce or eliminate pollutants, such as nitrates, phosphates, bacteria, and toxins. Microalgae consume these materials and then the algae – which are less expensive and grow quicker than corn and soybeans – can be converted into biofuel.
Read More:Algae Turns Wastewater into Biodiesel
January 21st, 2011 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
European health officials are now warning that the German dioxin outbreak may be worse than previously thought – extending beyond tainted eggs – and prompting some countries to take harsher action.
The dioxin scare surfaced after 3,000 tonnes (over 6,600 pounds) of an animal feed additive sold in Germany were discovered to contain trace amounts of dioxin, causing officials to ban many farms from selling eggs.
Read More:German Dioxin Scare Spreads: Countries Cracking Down
December 14th, 2009 - Laura Klein
As you start developing a trained green, consumer eye and become a savvy label reader, you’ll notice in the wine world there are quite a few wines that are “made with organic grapes,” and few carry the USDA’s certified organic seal. Certified organic wines are a rare find on store shelves. So what’s the difference between these two wine labels? I get this question all the time and here’s your answer.
The National Organic Program (NOP), has set the same standards for wine as it has for food. USDA certification is strict. It guarantees that grapes are grown without synthetic pesticides or chemicals; and the wine is processed without added sulfites or sulfur dioxide. Bottom line, you can’t add preservatives to certified organic food products or wines. And sulfites are considered by the USDA a preservative.
Certified organic wines, can have naturally occurring sulfites (all wines contain naturally occurring sulfites as a byproduct of the fermentation process), but the total sulfite level must be less than 20 parts per million. So for the for those who are super-sensitive to sulfites (asthma sufferers, for example), certified organic wines are the way to go. If sulfites are added to the wine and the total count of sulfites in the wine is taken above 10 parts per million, it must make the statement, “Contains Sulfites.”
There are four wineries in California that take the additional step of processing their wine without added sulfites and are certified organic. They are Frey Vineyards, Coates Vineyards in Orleans, La Rocca Vineyards in Forest Ranch, and Organic Wine Works.
If you want to buy organic wines that don’t contain added sulfites, my top tip is to read the label. The ingredients and process used to make the wine will determine the label it carries.
Check out our articles and videos on organic wines:
Red Organic Wine Tasting – Episode 19
Wine and Cheese Tasting – Episode 23
Organic Vines for Better Wines
Interviews with Two Italian Organic Winemakers
Winter Organic Wine Pairings
Organic Wine Crush and Fermentation DIY Wine Making
Organic Wine-A-Tasting DIY Wine Making
Read More:Do Certified Organic Wines Contain Sulfites?
October 5th, 2009 - Laura Klein
In one of the greatest ironies about eating ‘lite,’ artificial sweeteners – like aspartame – actually contribute to weight gain according to Dr. Paula Baillie-Hamilton. Other researchers like Dr. Janet Starr Hull, creator of the Aspartame Detoxification Program counts 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame.
I believe with my heart and soul that chemicals sabotage our natural weight loss system, zap our energy and prevent what could be permanent weight loss efforts.
Avoiding chemicals in your diet and eating only whole, organic foods, is a core foundation of Laura Klein’s Green Club. Inside the Green Club, I cite studies that show FDA-approved chemicals in our food are seriously dangerous and help members take baby steps towards a healthier, non-toxic way of eating and living.
The chemical I consider Public Enemy Number One? Aspartame.
Aspartame is made of: phenylalanine and aspartic acid (amino acids) as well as methanol alcohol or wood alcohol. Methanol is known to be poisonous even when consumed in relatively modest amounts. Disorders caused by toxic levels of methanol include blindness, brain swelling and inflammation of the pancreas and heart muscle.
Is it any surprise that aspartame complaints represent 80-85% of food complaints registered with the FDA?
That’s why the documentary, Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World , struck a chord with me. In the film, aspartame ‘victims’ speak honestly about their personal battles with myriad sicknesses from MS to neurological disorders to brain cancer. The film also reveals the parallel between a spike in brain cancer rates and the introduction of aspartame to the marketplace in 1983.
Check out a sneak peak of the film on youtube.com, and let us know what you think.
Read More:Sweet Misery and the Untamed World of Aspartame
August 8th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
First Lady Michelle Obama had a great idea. Plant a little organic garden on the White House lawn. And why not! It sets a good example for the rest of the country.
But here’s the problem. Michelle’s garden is corrupted with toxic sludge, dashing her hopes for “organic” homegrown vegetables.
So what exactly is the “goo” infiltrating the White House garden? It’s sewage. Turns out the Clinton presidential gardening team used sewage to fertilizer the grounds.
Here’s the problem, in addition to being gross, sewer refuse is high in toxic metals.
So when the National Park Service tested the dirt in Michelle’s garden they found elevated levels of lead—on average 93 parts per million—still below what the EPA says is harmful to human health, but high enough to keep Michelle’s garden from ever being considered organic.
Via Daily Finance.
Read More:Sludge in the White House Organic Garden!
July 20th, 2009 - Laura Klein
In When Studies Collide; Rethinking the evidence on BPA, Newsweek’s Science Editor Sharon Begley warns us that “almost anyone with an agenda can find research to support it,” and that “not all science is created equal.”
Her piece was powerful since the pure scope of studies that come out seemingly daily – from the latest on weight loss to the impact of red wine on health – can truly make our heads spin!
Begley takes the BPA argument to task, showcasing both sides of the battle: that BPA is perfectly safe versus extremely dangerous to our health; and she reminds us that ‘whether a study is good or not depends on how it was conducted.’
But what hit me the hardest in her piece was astonishing new BPA info that we’re ingesting more BPA than even the safety agencies, like the FDA, realize:
“In addition to hard plastic and epoxy can linings, it turns out, newspaper ink and carbonless copy paper – the stuff of credit car receipts and all sorts of business and medical documents – contain high amounts of BPA. Recycled, they wind up in food containers such as pizza boxes, along with the BPA.”
Recycling? Great. Recycling BPA?…now that’s a nightmare scenario. More reason why BPA should simply be banned so that it’s lifecycle doesn’t extend to unexpected and unmonitored arenas, like a good old fashioned delivery box of pizza.
Via: Newsweek, June 29, 2009
Read More:Recycled BPA?
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
February 20th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
(Health Behavior News Service)—New York City residents who live in densely populated, pedestrian-friendly areas have significantly lower body mass index (BMI) levels compared to other New Yorkers, a new study in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion finds.
Placing shops, restaurants and public transit near residences may promote walking and independence from private automobiles.
“There are relatively strong associations between built environment and BMI, even in population-dense New York City,” says Andrew Rundle, DrPH, lead study author and an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University Medical Center.
Researchers looked at data from 13,102 adults from New York City’s five boroughs. Matching information on education, income, height, weight and home address with census data and geographic records, they determined respondents’ access to public transit, proximity to commercial goods and services, and BMI, a measure of weight in relation to height.
The authors discovered that three characteristics of the city environment—living in areas with mixed residential and commercial uses, living near bus and subway stops, and living in population-dense areas—were inversely associated with BMI levels. For example, city dwellers living in areas evenly balanced between residences and commercial use had significantly lower BMIs compared to New Yorkers who lived in mostly residential or commercial areas.
“A mixture of commercial and residential land uses puts commercial facilities that you need for everyday living within walking distance,” Dr. Rundle says. “You’re not going to get off the couch to walk to the corner store if there’s no corner store to walk to.”
While previous studies have addressed the relationship between obesity and the urban built environment in smaller, newer cities, this study is the first to evaluate the relationship in older, larger New York.
This research is important because it shows that environmental factors have a significant relationship to obesity, says Emil Malizia, PhD, chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Although population-dense areas may sometimes be associated with crime or other negative attributes, this research shows “there are places that can be healthy environments, in part because they’re dense,” Dr. Malizia says.
Book Pick of the Day: The Spirited Walker: Fitness Walking for Clarity, Balance and Spiritual Connection
Note: OrganicAuthority.com publishes health news so organic consumers have access to the latest research. You can view similar posts by visiting the Health Section of our blog.
Read More:Environment and Body Mass Index
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