Good Chemistry: Green Tips for Better Health, from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Posts Tagged ‘environmental contaminants’

Styrofoam Show Down

Congressman Peter Welch recently offered an amendment to a legislative appropriations bill which seemed like a no-brainer: to ban the House cafeterias and buildings from using Styrofoam.

Believe it or not, when the House leadership changed hands, so did the food containers and utensils…to Styrofoam. I remember stopping by the cafeteria just a year ago and being so impressed by the compostable and recyclable food containers and utensils, a program then Speaker Pelosi started. And now they’re back to Styrofoam. These cafeterias not only serve Congressmen and women, they also serve their staff and visitors.

“Congress should be leading the way in making environmentally sound business decisions,” Welch said in a statement. “The decision to replace environmentally-friendly utensils with Styrofoam is a major step backwards. Using Styrofoam is outdated, environmentally harmful and hazardous to people’s health. McDonald's saw the light 20 years ago and stopped using Styrofoam.”

Welch’s office explains the harmful effects of Styrofoam are well documented: cancer-causing chemicals are used during its manufacture, it is difficult to recycle and most Styrofoam containers end up in landfills or incinerators where toxic byproducts are released. A 1986 EPA report on solid waste identified the Styrofoam manufacturing process as the 5th largest creator of hazardous waste. Additionally, toxic chemicals can leak from Styrofoam containers into the food and beverages they hold.

We give Congressman Welch and his staff props for standing up on this issue! Unfortunately, the House voted 179 to 234 against Welch’s amendment.

Watch Welch encourage his colleagues to be leaders in resource stewardship:

Posted by on September 1st, 2011 No Comments

Dangers of Feminine Care Products

cottonplantsm1Debbie Robins has written an insightful piece on the possible dangers lurking in feminine hygiene products for the Huffington Post.  She not only addresses the pesticide residue in tampons and the dioxin used to bleach them, but gives some astounding facts about the amount of chemicals we could prevent from entering the environment with even a small change in consumption behavior.

If we are so careful about what we eat, shouldn't we be holding everything we put in our bodies to the highest of standards?

While you check out letstalkperiod for more information, I am going to clean out the medicine cabinet.

Posted by on June 21st, 2010 No Comments

Clean Up in Aisle 5!


Some people hate grocery shopping. I like it. If I'm not in a rush to get somewhere, pick up my kids, etc., I'll stroll up and down the aisles looking for fresh produce, sale items, and culinary inspiration.

Now that I know a little more about the ubiquitous nature of environmental contaminants (they're practically EVERYWHERE), food shopping is a little more stressful, however. (So much for retail therapy!) Fortunately, there are resources like the Environmental Working Group a non-profit whose mission is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. They offer all sorts of facts about human health and toxins, consumer tools and tips for reducing your exposure to nasty chemicals, and their recently published "Shoppers Guide to Pesticides" that you can download to your home computer or iPhone. This free guide will help you decide which produce to buy organic, and which conventionally grown fruits and veggies are okay if organic isn't available (or is too expensive).

If you're not sure what to do once you get past the produce section, PPNNE just created a series of fridge-friendly brochures that will give you insight into which fish are safest to eat (such as tilapia and pollack) , what cosmetics and personal care products to avoid, how to identify "poison plastics" (mentioned by Val in an earlier post), and even how to make your own cleaning products. Let us know if you'd like us to send you a set. There are also lots of great websites and other resources listed on this site. Check them out!

Posted by on May 22nd, 2009 No Comments