ORGANIC BYTES #104

Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!

3/8/2007 - Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins

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IN THIS ISSUE

CONSUMER WARNING:
TOXIC CHEMICAL BPA LEACHING INTO CANNED FOODS

An alarming new study from the Environmental Working Group analyzed samples of canned fruit, vegetables, soda, and baby formula on sale in the nation's supermarkets and found that more than 50% were tainted with a chemical linked to birth defects, ADHD and cancer. The chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), is an ingredient in plastics that lines food cans. According to the study, the chemical has been leaching into foods at levels up to 200 times the government's recommended "safe" level of exposure. According to Dr. Frederick vom Saal, a professor of biology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a long-time expert researcher of BPA, there are 94 scientific studies indicating deleterious health effects from BPA. "If BPA was treated as a drug, it would have been pulled immediately. This chemical can be replaced right now by safer materials, and the public would never notice the difference." OCA is planning to launch a campaign later this year to pressure food companies, especially organic companies, to stop using BPA-tainted cans and other toxic or non-sustainable packaging.
Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4414.cfm

HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK: HOW TO AVOID BPA

  • Metal canned beverages appear to contain less BPA residues, while metal canned pasta and soups contain the highest levels.
  • Canned foods in glass containers are not a BPA risk.
  • Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom are safer choices and do not contain BPA.
  • One-third of liquid baby formulas have high levels of BPA. Powdered formula packaging is generally considered safer.
  • Avoid heating foods in plastic containers and do not wash plastic containers in a dishwasher.
  • When possible, opt for glass, porcelain and stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
  • Do not let plastic wrap touch your food in the microwave, or better yet, avoid microwave ovens altogether.

Donate Now!We rely on your donations to continue
our work on these important issues! www.organicconsumers.org/donations.htm

ALERT OF THE WEEK: JOURNAL OF AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION SAYS SYNTHETIC SUPPLEMENTS ARE DANGEROUS

Last week, major news publications reported on a peer-reviewed study from the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that a number of synthetic vitamins appear to be damaging the health of consumers. The meta-analysis indicated that the synthetic form of Vitamin A increased death risk by 16%, beta carotene by 7% and Vitamin E by 4%. The results for Vitamin C were not so clear, but by looking at the best quality trials there was a suggestion that it increased death risk by 6%, either on its own or in combination with other supplements. The study adds further fuel to the Organic Consumers Association's (OCA) new "Nutri-Con" campaign, which is designed to help educate consumers about the benefits of food-based vitamins and to stop fraudulent labeling of synthetic vitamins and supplements as "natural".
Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4409.cfm

If you have not yet signed OCA's petition to stop vitamin and supplement companies from mislabeling vitamins with synthetic ingredients as "natural", "food-based," or "organic," please do so now: www.organicconsumers.org/nutricon/nutripetition.cfm

SUSTAINABILITY TIP OF THE WEEK:
SOME OF THE 100 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PREPARE FOR PEAK OIL

#6 Pay your mortgage ahead whenever possible. If economic times get hard, and you are unable to pay, the bank will foreclose first on people who own only a little of their home equity.

#7 Make sure you have a reliable source of water, which is not dependent on electricity, whether rain barrels, a cistern, hand pumps on your well, or a community source, such as a public pump.

#11. Purchase LED, solar or hand cranked flashlights. Get a solar battery charger and rechargeable batteries for your flashlight and a solar charger for your cell phone.

#13 Take an introduction to permaculture class, or read up on permaculture.

#37 If you are troubled by towels and jeans that don't dry as soft on the line as in the dryer you can add vinegar to the rinse to soften them, or use less detergent.

Learn more tips for sustainable living here: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4407.cfm

BEES MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARING ACROSS THE U.S.

Beekeepers in 24 states are reporting record losses of honeybees. The exact cause of this problem has not yet been determined, but bee colonies across the U.S. are disappearing, with some states reporting a 70% drop in bee populations. "I have never seen anything like it," said California beekeeper David Bradshaw. "Box after box after box are just empty. There's nobody home." A Cornell University study has estimated that honeybees annually pollinate more than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the United States, mostly fruits, vegetables and nuts. "Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food," said Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation. The Organic Consumers Association is closely monitoring the situation with efforts to determine if the problem of disappearing bees is related to genetically engineered pollen or pesticide toxicity.

Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4404.cfm

PLANTING PEACE: STOP THE WAR

PLEASE CALL YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES FRIDAY, MARCH 9th

Organic Consumers Association and our Planting Peace allies are calling on Congress to fight global warming not war. Please join our nationwide phone campaign to get Congress to reject Bush's request for an additional $93 billion in Iraq war funding. From March 5th through the 13th, a coalition of organizations and networks are mobilizing their members to contact Congress.

The Planting Peace coalition has designated Friday, March 9th, 2007, as a day for organic consumers across the country to tell our representatives to cut off funds for the war and instead to use our tax money to stop global warming and green the economy. OCA's direct toll-free line to Congress is 1-888-851-1879. When you call your Senate and Congressional offices, tell them that you're an Organic Consumer who's not buying this war!

For more talking points, click here: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4412.cfm

CONTEST OF THE WEEK: FAIR TRADE CHOCOLATE ESSAY AND ART CONTEST

The International Labor Rights Fund is conducting a contest to help raise awareness about the chocolate industry's continued use of child labor in Africa. Companies including Nestle, Hersheys, Godiva, World's Finest Chocolate, Cadbury and M&M/Mars have refused to discontinue their purchasing of cocoa from plantations where children are forced to work long hours under grueling and hazardous conditions. The contest, which includes classroom curriculum, is designed for students ranging in age from third grade through high school.

Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4406.cfm

HAVE YOU SUFFERED A NEGATIVE REACTION FROM SPLENDA?

REPORT IT HERE!

In recent years, the controversial artificial sweetener Splenda, has swept over the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industry. Currently found in over 4500 products, Splenda's marketing slogan, "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar," confuses consumers into believing that Splenda is a safe and healthy alternative to sugar, despite negative health effects detected in numerous human and animal trials. Unfortunately, the FDA and Johnson and Johnson refuse to acknowledge that these products are likely hazardous. Citizens for Health is currently collecting reports of negative effects from Splenda to present to the FDA. If you've had any bad experiences with Splenda, please contact Frank Herd at Citizens for Health with your story. Office: 612-879-7583 email: fherdjr@citizens.org

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Learn more: www.alohabay.com/botani/index.html

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