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

Posts Tagged ‘environmental health’

Reform our broken federal chemical safety laws!

ACHM Plane Picture


 


Help send Mainers to Washington to demand safe toxic-free products! Send your message with them by signing the petition below.

To My Senators and Representatives,

No child should be exposed to chemicals linked to cancer, obesity, or reproductive problems. But children's health is threatened every day by dangerous chemicals in their homes.

Our nation’s chemical safety system is badly broken. The Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) is a good start but needs to be strengthened. Please help strengthen the CSIA to achieve real reform that protects our families from toxic chemicals.

Posted by on October 14th, 2013 No Comments

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 Using Styrofoam is outdated, environmentally harmful and hazardous to people’s health.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

Ana Soto to Speak at UVM (2011)

Update: This event occurred in 2011. For more information about Ana Soto, please visit the Tufts website

 

Ana Soto to Speak at UVM
Thursday March, 31st,  2011 @ 4pm
Carpenter Auditorium, UVM Campus
Given Building E131

We’ve been sharing a lot of information with you on environmental health recently. Well here is your opportunity to hear it FIRST hand, from one of the leading researchers in the field, Dr. Ana Soto, an amazing woman and a pioneer in the field.

Ana Soto, M.D., is Professor of Cell Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine and Professor of Cancer Development at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, U.K. Dr. Soto was one of the earliest investigators of endocrine disruption and its role in the development of cancer, and was one of twenty scientists at the 1991 Wingspread Conference who developed the term "endocrine disruptors.” Her research interests include the mechanisms of steroid hormone action, control of cell proliferation, breast and prostate neoplasias, and endocrine disruptors, including Bisphenol-A (BPA). She is now using animal models, 3D tissue cultures, and mathematical modeling to study the role of stroma-epithelium interactions in carcinogenesis and in tumor regression

 

Posted by on March 30th, 2011 No Comments

Living Downstream Screening in Winooski

Living Downstream Screening in Winooski

You’re invited to a screening of the documentary Living Downstream at Community College of Vermont in Winooski. The film takes the personal story of ecologist and cancer survivor Dr. Sandra Steingraber and creates a compelling look at toxins in our environment and the implications for the health of individuals, families and communities. This is an issue of increasing importance in Vermont. Just recently the Burlington Free Press published an article on the chemical body burden of six Vermonters. Read the article here. The screening will be followed by a panel and discussion. Panelists include:

Heather Fitzgerald, CCV Winooski faculty
Jill Krowinski, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Public Affairs Director
Dr. Patti O’Brien, UVM faculty, physician, cancer researcher and breast cancer survivor.
Dave Rappaport, Seventh Generation's Senior Director of Corporate Consciousness
Rep. Suzi Wizowaty, Burlington Rep, co-sponsor of the Comprehensive Chemical Reform Bill.

Details:
When: Friday, March 25th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Where: CCV Winooski Sadie White room (108)

RSVP to our FB page

Posted by on March 21st, 2011 No Comments

Nail Polish You Can feel Good About

Somewhere around the age of 8, painting your nails becomes one of the more exciting things a girl can do. A decade and a half later, the feeling has resurfaced for me. I’m 22 years and want nothing more than to paint my nails on a Thursday night with friends. No big deal right?

Unfortunately, my conscious and environmental studies background lead to an overwhelming sense of guilt when it came to this indulgence. Smothering my nails with toxic chemicals so they can look pretty, and then removing the polish with another toxic product was something I was no longer willing to do. I agonized, let my fingers go bare for weeks, told myself I didn’t need the color, and the sweet, smooth, glossy finish that catches my eye as I click away on keyboards in the library (it’s the little things).

On the first day of my Women’s Health and Environment class I divulged my guilty secret, and I was not alone! My peers had the same woes. Fortunately for all of us, we came across nail polish we could actually feel good about: Scotch Naturals. They are even approved by the skin deep database!

I purchased several Scotch Naturals nail polish colors for my painting pleasure: A tri-pack of darker hues-- a dark blue, tan/brown, and a midnight purple.  I find the the polish goes on smooth and leaves a shiny finish as promised!  The nail polish remover works too, and has no stinky chemical smell! The only downside- without a toxic top coat, my tips tend to chip quicker, but that can be easily retouched! 

Happy paintin'!

Posted by on February 23rd, 2011 No Comments

Power of the Onesie Lobby Day!

Feeling frustrated or overwhelmed with all the talk of toxins in our bodies? Unsure of how to make a positive difference? Come to The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Vermont's Lobby Day!!

When: Thursday, February 24th; 9:30 am –2:00pm
Where: Vermont State House --115 State Street, Montpelier.
Who: Students, Families and kids of all ages
What: A day to speak to your elected officials

Tell our legislators that more needs to be done to protect Vermonters from toxic chemicals in schools, homes, and products.  This lobby day is hosted by VPIRG, Toxics Action Center, River Network, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Mama Says, VT Public Health Association, and Voices for Vermont’s Children, and Informed Green Solutions. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Charity Carbine at charity@vpirg.orgor 223-8421 x 4108

 

Posted by on February 10th, 2011 No Comments

An Environmental Health Night @ UVM

With growing awareness of the tightly woven connections between our environment and our health, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is making a commitment to protecting both. With a desire to share this important information with our communities we will be showing the documentary Living Downstream, an adaptation of the book by Dr. Sandra Steingraber. The movie follows Dr Steingraber and her work around the country promoting awareness of the dangers of toxic chemicals as they contaminate our world and eventually our bodies. Though the film is not set in Vermont, the issues raised are relevant in our state. Despite best intentions Vermonters, too, are exposed to dangerous chemicals via consumer products and our environment.

Please join us Wednesday, January 26th at 7pm for an evening of action as we screen the documentary Living Downstream, an adaptation of the book by Dr. Sandra Steingraber.  Watch the Trailer Here

A conversation will follow the film as we talk about the relevance of this critical link in our communities and the need for comprehensive chemical reform in Vermont.  Our hope is that you’ll agree with us that toxic exposure is unnecessary and voice your concern to your legislators here in Vermont.

Environmental Health Night: Documentary and Discussion
Wednesday, January 26th at 7pm
Sugarmaple Ballroom 4th Floor Davis Center, University of Vermont

This is a FREE Event!

Hosted by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, a member of The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Vermont & the Environmental Studies Department.

For questions e-mail Naani.Sheva@ppnne.org

Posted by on January 24th, 2011 No Comments

A New Year, New Law – E-Waste Collection sites in VT

Ever thought about what happens to your cell phone when you upgrade to a smart phone? Or where our big ol’ computer monitors go to with the influx of flat-screens and laptops? These and other electronics are all examples of a waste termed “E-waste” or electronic waste. As products become outdated they find a resting place (often a landfill) and the environmental implications are harmful. Electronics contain several dangerous chemicals including mercury and lead, which can seep into land and water overtime. Sadly, those bearing the burden of our electronic waste are often those in other countries. This documentary is an example of what e-waste disposal can look like abroad.

Recognizing this threat to both the environment and health, Vermont has banned E-waste as of January 1st, 2011. The law calls for the removal of electronic waste from the general waste stream and diverts it into a separate collection system. The law also includes the creation of new sites to collect E-Waste for free in every county throughout Vermont by July, 2011

Conscious consumerism includes conscious disposal, and this E-Waste regulation is a big step forward in keeping VT clean and green. This law will have multiple benefits for people and the planet. For more information, check out this full article from the Bennington Banner. So the next time you purchase a new electronic, I would invite you to take a moment to dispose of your old one properly.

Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

New Year’s 2011

Green Up Your Health in 2011
This new year, make a resolution to “green up” your health.  Below are some ideas for healthy New Year’s resolutions that can help you eliminate some toxins from your life and get a fresh start in 2011!

Use triclosan-free Products
We’ve previously discussed the dangers of using the chemical triclosan, which can disrupt the endocrine system.  It is a common ingredient in hand sanitizers and liquid soap.  However, you can’t stop washing your hands, especially during cold and flu season!  Instead, switch to triclosan-free products.  The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has a list of triclosan-free liquid soap and hand sanitizers.

Be mindful of your fruits and vegetables
Recently, the Environmental Working Group released a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables that have the highest and lowest amounts of pesticides:

The 12 Dirtiest: Peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes (imported), spinach, lettuce, and potatoes.

The 12 Cleanest: Onions, avocado, sweet corn (frozen), pineapples, mango, asparagus, sweet peas (frozen), kiwi fruit, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, and papaya.

Fret not, if your favorite produce made the dirty list—you can always buy organic.  Be sure to wash and scrub all of your produce, and consider planting a garden or getting involved with a community-supported agriculture program this summer.

(Almost) spring cleaning
Sometimes, I make a resolution to give my house a thorough cleaning.  Before you finally scrub down the shower or organize your closet, check out our reference page on cleaning products for tips on making your own non-toxic cleaners and avoiding harmful chemicals.  Be sure to regularly vacuum, wash and dust surfaces, and remove your shoes before entering your home.  Dust is filled with everything from residues given off by electronics to oil you might have walked through in a parking lot.  You don’t want to be breathing that all winter, do you?

Quit smoking
It’s not news that smoking is a leading cause of death in the United States.  If you smoke, resolve to quit this year—you will be protecting not only your health, but the health of those around you.  Some local resources to help you quit include The Vermont Quit Network, The Main Tobacco HelpLine, Tobacco-Free Maine, and Try To STOP TOBACCO New Hampshire.

Have a healthy and happy New Year!

* Photos by luigi diamanti, Bill Longshaw, graur razvan ionut, Paul, Suat Eman, obtained from freedigitalphotos.net.

Posted by on January 3rd, 2011 No Comments

Class in session: Pesticides 101

Today at the New Hampshire Statehouse, a committee is discussing the health effects of children’s exposure to pesticides.  Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is a part of the conversation, urging legislators and opinion leaders to stop using pesticides at public play spaces such as school play grounds, and to use safer alternatives.  Let’s take a minute to answer some questions (pay attention, there might be a quiz):

What exactly are pesticides?
Pesticides are used to control or kill weeds, bacteria, rodents, fleas and ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects or pests. They are made up of more than 1,000 active chemical ingredients and come in different forms: liquids, aerosols, baits, powders, concentrates, and fumigants.

Who makes sure pesticides are safe? 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating pesticide use, but their regulations have weaknesses that allow hazardous chemicals on the market. These exposures are often sufficient enough to cause illness.

How do I become exposed to pesticides?
You can encounter pesticides in your everyday activities: residue in water, food, dust, homes, schools, commercial buildings, parks, and other recreation areas. Chemicals may be eaten, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. You can also be exposed at work especially if you are an agriculture worker (farmer), landscaper, exterminator, or livestock breeder. (more...)

Posted by on June 15th, 2010 1 Comment