Oct 8th – (Re-run) Take a 3 minute shower, today.

Go military style today and take a 3 minute shower to conserve water.  Current standard shower heads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute.  If you have a water efficient shower head, the amount will obviously be lower, possibly 2 gallons per minutes.  With a standard shower head, taking a ten minute shower uses 25 gallons of water as opposed to 7.5 gallons for a 3 minute shower… or even a 5 minute shower that is 12.5 gallons.

The difference is an even greater difference if there are several of you under one roof.  For a family of four, if each person took a 10 minute shower, it adds up to 100 gallons of water to bath 4 bodies, as opposed to 30 gallons.  Imagine if a family did that for a full year?  Four people at 10 minute showers adds up to 36,500 gal per yr.  If those same four people took a 3 minute shower, it would only be 10,950 gallons…  saving 25,000 gallons per yr. (to give you an idea, that is  5,000 more gallons than the amount of water than fits into a 30′ Round pool at 44″ water height).

Coming soon… take a cold shower to conserve energy… haha ;).

Oct 7th – (Re-run) Avoid food/soda cans with BPA today.

BPA, short for bisphenol A, is used to make certain plastics and epoxy resins.  Articles on the health concerns associated to BPA are far from scarce, and it continues to be studied on the true effects it has on humans, but there is legitimate concern.  It can be found in numerous items such as toys, sports equipment, industrial products, even in store receipts (who knew?.. and a lot of it!)…. and it is still found in the lining of many food cans… INCLUDING, shocking to me, almost all aluminum cans… you will need to skip your soda today ;).

I tend to stay away from canned foods since I am not always sure which do and do not have it.  No longer…. Thanks to a fantastic list put together by InspirationGreen.com, below is a well-compiled list of cans that DO and DO NOT have BPA (updated Jan 2013), as well as some additional information on recent studies associated with BPA from their article:

***********************

WITHOUT BPA:

  • Eden Foods:  All 33 of its organic beans, chili, rice & beans, refried, and flavored.
  • Trader Joe’s Brand:  Canned corn, tomatoes, beans (except baked beans), tunafish, anchovies, poultry, beef, coconut milk, fruit (except mandarins) and vegetables (except artichokes).
  • Hunt’s Tomato Products:  Only their plain tomatoes – but great first step!!!
  • Whole Foods: 27% of its store-brand canned goods. No specifics given!*
  • Amy’s:  As of March, 2012 all products in non-bpa cans. Look for: NB, for Non-BPA on the bottom of each can.
  • Bionaturae:  Canned tomatoes.
  • Campbell’s Soups: Announced March, 2012 that it will be phasing out BPA from its cans! They have yet to make clear when that will begin, or what they plan to use instead of BPA.
  • Crowne Prince Natural:  Tuna, Salmon, Kippers.
  • Muir Glen:  Canned tomato products only.
  • Native Factor:  Coconut Water.
  • Native Forest:  Organic coconut milk, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, hearts of palm and all of their canned fruits.
  • Ocean Brands:  Salmon, tuna, oyster, crab, snackit, snack n lunch and fish salads. (Not the shrimp, clams and food service size.)
  • Oregon’s Choice:  Canned Tuna.
  • Vital Choice:  Canned salmon, albacore tuna, sardines and mackerel.
  • Wild Planet:  Canned Sardines and 5 oz tuna.
  • Ecofish (Henry & Lisa’s):  Canned Tuna.
  • Nature’s One:  Organic powdered baby milks.
  • Tetra-pak (aseptic containers) are lined with Polyethylene, not BPA. ‘Pomi‘ Brand and Hunt’s Chopped tomatoes in tetra-paks are becoming more widely available.

WITH BPA:

  • Eden Foods: Canned tomato products (look for their new – glass jars)
  • Trader Joe’s Brand:  All soups, chilis and stews. Plus; Sardines, Crab, Cherrystone Clams & Oysters, Mandarins, Hatch Chilies, Artichokes, Organic Baked Beans.
  • Whole Foods: 73% of its store-brand canned goods. 
  • Ocean Brands:  Shrimp, clams and 4lb food service size.
  • Annie’s, Brad’s, Muir Glen, Westbrae cans are lined with BPA.
  • ALL food cans out there other than those listed above…
  • Most all  Aluminum Cans are lined with BPA.
  • Polycarbonate plastic (grouped in #7) contains BPA and BPAF (worse!).
  • Many shiny thermal receipts contain BPA.
  • (ATM receipts, cash register receipts, prescription labels, lottery/airline tickets, etc)
  • Don’t hand children receipts that might contain BPA!
  • Don’t recycle receipts that might contain BPA!

Since 1999 Eden Foods has used steel cans coated with a ‘baked-on oleoresinous c-enamel’, which does not contain BPA. Oleoresin is a non-toxic mixture of oil and resin extracted from plants, such as pine or balsam fir.’(1) The cost is currently 2.2 cents more (14%) than cans with industry-standard BPA epoxy liners. Yet that natural liner is not approved by the FDA for acid foods, such as tomatoes. Hopefully in the very near future, alternative liners will be put on the market as more research is completed. But as of now, be aware that canned tomatoes, soups and pastas are your highest sources of BPA due to their acid consuming the lining of the can.

The Environmental Working Group estimates that BPA exposure is ‘unsafe’ in 11 percent of all canned food and an unbelievable one-third of all infant formula.(2) When BPA was detected, the EWG found a single serving contained enough BPA to expose a woman or infant to levels more than 200 times the government’s safe level of exposure for industrial chemicals. In the 2010 study, ‘No Silver Lining’, food from 50 cans collected from 19 US states and Ontario, Canada were tested for BPA contamination. Over 90% of the cans tested had detectable levels of BPA, and some at much higher levels than had been detected previously.(3) The study’s tests show that meals involving one or more cans of food can “cause a pregnant woman to ingest levels of BPA that have been shown to cause health effects in developing fetuses in laboratory animal studies.”(3) Consumer Reports’ latest tests of canned foods found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods they tested contain some BPA. “A 165-pound adult eating one serving of canned green beans from their sample, could ingest about 0.2 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day, about 80 times higher than the experts’ recommended daily upper limit.”(4)

The Breast Cancer Fund recently released a product testing report called “BPA in Thanksgiving Canned Food.” For the study canned goods were purchased in California, Massachusetts, New York and Minnesota. Four cans of each of the common Thanksgiving staples: Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, Campbell’s Turkey Gravy, Carnation Evaporated Milk (by Nestle), Del Monte Fresh Cut Sweet Corn (Cream Style), Green Giant Cut Green Beans (by General Mills), Libby’s Pumpkin (by Nestle) and Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce were purchased. The results showed a tremendous variability in BPA levels in the canned foods tested, from non-detectable to 221 parts per billion. Variabily was extreme even among cans of the same product made by the same company, which means that consumers have no way of knowing how much BPA is in the canned food they’re buying and consuming. www.breastcancerfund.org

A 2011 study by Harvard University analysized the urine of seventy-five people for BPA. Each participant ate a 12-ounce serving of either fresh or canned soup for five days in a row. They were advised not to otherwise alter their regular eating habits. After a two-day break, the groups switched and ate the opposite type of soup. The study showed the canned soup eaters had 1,221 per cent higher levels of BPA in their urine than those who ate the fresh soup.5  Of other concern, a 2012 study out of New York, the first study of its kind to test for BPS, found 81% of the urine samples tested contained BPS (Bisphenol S)* in quantities just slightly below those of BPA.6

An August, 2012 study out of the University of Virginia, shows that low dose BPA is associated with decreased social activity in mice for up to four generations!7 And in September, 2012 a Washington State University researcher and colleagues have found that BPA disrupts female rhesus monkey’s reproductive systems, causing chromosome damage, miscarriages and birth defects. Again the research shows the effects to be generational. Patricia Hunt, the head researcher states that; “the really stunning thing about the effect is we’re dosing grandma, it’s crossing the placenta and hitting her developing eggs, and if that fetus is a female, it’s changing the likelihood that that female is going to ovulate normal eggs. It’s a three-for-one hit.” The rhesus’ reproductive system are most human-like of any mammal and were tested with BPA levels similar to those in humans.8

*********************

My advice would be to find some wonderful food products packaged in glass, or even better, no packaging at all.

Oct 2nd – Have a good, long laugh, today.

Laughter is the best medicine, right?  It is known to be a powerful antidote to stress, pain and conflict.  It boosts the immune system, releases endorphins (the feel-good chemicals) and is fast to bring your mind and body back into balance.  It simply makes life a bit lighter.

I was driving home tonight with my 5 yr old who could not stop laughing (at something hysterically dumb that I did, I might add!).  The entire car felt like is was filled with pure happiness… I couldn’t stop laughing myself because of her!

Oct 1st – Boycott styrofoam, today.

While some styrofoam can now be recycled, why not just avoid the problem all together.  If it’s in a landfill, it never breaks down, burning it creates a toxic ash, and if it is recycled, it still takes resources and energy to do… though reusing it is of course a great solution if you already have it.

Our city does happen to accept styrofoam to be recycled (though I am not sure if it is only #6 or others), however no matter where you live, put your styrofoam trash in your Recycle Bin and let them decide what to do with it.  If it is not currently being recycled, a large influx of it may add pressure to deal with it.

If you want added info on the eco-issue of styrofoam, read a great blog spot on it at:  http://www.opb.org/news/blog/ecotrope/recycling-101-styrofoam/

Sept 30th – Nice work on another month of changes!

Great job on making any new changes this month!  Below is the recap:

  • 1st – Be thankful for your work and having been compensated, and proud of what you have done
  • 3rd – Use plastic shower cap for covering bowls that do not have lids
  • 4th – Skip the trash bag, use actual containers/cans and clean as necessary
  • 5th – Be kind
  • 6th – Eat whole foods for your snacks, not processed
  • 8th – Share your special talent in a charitable way
  • 9th – Dispose of old drugs properly
  • 10th – Practice calmness
  • 11th – Don’t give up
  • 12th – Skip heat drying in your dishwasher
  • 13th – Close your window blinds to save on heating/cooling energy
  • 14th – Optimize your efficiency with technology
  • 15th – Take a nature walk
  • 17th – Share a kind word
  • 18th – Be brave
  • 19th – Gain wisdom from someone older than yourself
  • 20th – If you eat meat, eat only the recommended amount (3-6 oz)
  • 21st – Spend 15 minutes drawing or painting (re-run)
  • 24th – Reduce your added sugar intake (36 g for men, 24 g for women)
  • 25th – Tip generously or give a good review for someone who give good service
  • 26th – Think twice before you buy something
  • 28th – Buy eco-friendly bake or serving ware

Sept 28th – Buy eco-friendly/non-toxic baking and/or serving ware, today.

So, my daughter is now in kindergarden, which means I have 12 years of wonderful fundraising products from which to subscribe for her school (if that didn’t sound a bit sarcastic, then it came out wrong 😉 ).  I was pleasantly surprised to find two great items, a silicone splatter/steamer cover/drain cover and a silcone baking sheet, which I have been meaning to buy.  I admit, glassware and cast iron is a more favored option as silicone still has a few drawbacks including the added unknown chemicals needed to make it into products with the silica, as well as the “end-of-life solutions”, meaning it is not commonly recycled and it does not bio-degrade… but silica itself is non-toxic, is oven and freezer safe with decent heat resistance (428 degrees F), and the products are super easy to clean, are non-stick (and better than PFOA  which you may know it as Teflon).

As mention, glass and cast iron are even better solutions, but silicone it is an additional option.