Posts Tagged ‘epa’

Quality of bottled water questioned

Most people believe bottled water is better for you and contains less contaminants than tap water. After all, their advertising leads us to believe the water in the bottle comes from a beautiful and pure mountain stream and prices are often 1900 times that of tap water. According to a new study, this is simply not true. The Environmental Working Group recently tested 10 brands of bottled water and found alarming levels of contaminants known to cause cancer and other health issues. Contaminants include pesticide and fertilizer reside, pharmaceuticals, disinfection byproducts, caffeine, arsenic, industry chemicals and other contaminants.

It is important to note, that these levels exceed standard levels considered safe and several far exceed what California considers safe and allowable levels of certain by products, residues, etc.

EWG’s testing revealed chemical levels no different than tap water for Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Choice brand and Giant Supermarket’s Acadia brand.

“Several Sam’s Choice samples purchased in California exceeded legal limits for bottled water contaminants in that state. Cancer-causing contaminants in bottled water purchased in 5 states (North Carolina, California, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland) and the District of Columbia substantially exceeded the voluntary standards established by the bottled water industry.

Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry does not disclose the results of any contaminant testing that it conducts. Instead, the industry hides behind the claim that bottled water is held to the same safety standards as tap water.”

Additionally, their testing showed:
“…10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants altogether, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand. More than one-third of the chemicals found are not regulated in bottled water.”

In 2007, the EPA issued this statement about bottled water:

“Some bottled water is treated more than tap water, while some is treated less or not treated at all. Bottled water costs much more than tap water on a per gallon basis… Consumers who choose to purchase bottled water should carefully read its label to understand what they are buying, whether it is a better taste, or a certain method of treatment (EPA 2007b).”

The EWG also surveyed 228 brands of water (websites, labels, marketing materials) finding less than half named the water source or a description of how the water was treated, if treated at all.

Environmental Impacts
Of course, many people avoid bottled water because of the environmental impact. We have certainly limited the amount of bottled water we use at our house.

“Of the 36 billion bottles [of water] sold in 2006, only a fifth were recycled (Doss 2008). The rest ended up in landfills, incinerators, and as trash on land and in streams, rivers, and oceans. Water bottle production in the U.S. uses 1.5 million barrels of oil per every year, according to a U.S. Conference of Mayors’ resolution passed in 2007, enough energy to power 250,000 homes or fuel 100,000 cars for a year (US Mayors 2007). As oil prices are continuing to skyrocket, the direct and indirect costs of making and shipping and landfilling the water bottles continue to rise as well (Gashler 2008, Hauter 2008).

Extracting water for bottling places a strain on rivers, streams, and community drinking water supplies as well. When the water is not bottled from a municipal supply, companies instead draw it from groundwater supplies, rivers, springs or streams. This “water mining,” as it is called, can remove substantial amounts of water that otherwise would have contributed to community water supplies or to the natural flow of streams and rivers (Boldt-Van Rooy 2003, Hyndman 2007, ECONorthwest, 2007).”

The EWG in their study of course recommended disclosure of contaminants in the bottled water, the water source and purification techniques, so we may become better consumers. I totally agree. I had heard a few years ago that many bottled water companies purely bottle tap water. I thought, what a scam!! Now I have proof it is.

It is important to note, not ALL bottled water is the same as or worse than tap water (except for the environmental impact), so we have not all been duped.

How do you avoid bottled water that contains contaminants?

If you want to still drink bottled water (which I am not saying to avoid it, though at least cutting back would help our planet!), it may require a little work if you really want to find the “best” and are willing to do a little work.

1. Only buy bottled water that names the water source. (extra credit: You can check that source to see if any contaminants are plentiful there.)
2. Only buy bottled water that along with the water source, lists the treatment techniques as well. Then determine what the process removes and how successful it is at removing contaminants. Note, not all treatments are created equal.
3. You could even call your favorite bottler and ask if the water has been tested for contaminants and ask for a copy of the findings.
4. Bring your own water that you filtered at home using a carbon filter. I bring my own cup to work, and have a stainless steel water bottle, like the Sigg or Klean Kanteen, that I can use on the go.
5. Get a LivePur filtered water bottle by Fit & Fresh. It removes many contaminates from tap water and you can refill the bottle anywhere you are and the water is filtered as you drink. 
 
Read the full report.

EPA ignores the toxic threat in our drinking water

Well, isn’t this great… there is rocket fuel contaminating our drinking water, or at least in the ground water, drinking water and/or soil in 43 states.

The article states:
“Independent testing of milk nationwide has shown near universal perchlorate contamination, often at concentrations well above safe limits. In 2004 and 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published studies revealing contamination of most of the nation’s food supply….

Small children and the unborn are the most vulnerable to perchlorate, which impairs endocrine function by interfering with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. Perchlorate crosses the placenta and shows up in breast milk, leaving infants and fetuses with even higher blood concentrations than their mothers. In even the most minute concentrations perchlorate can cause enough thyroid inhibition to impair proper neurologic and brain development in children.

Fantastic, right? There’s more. The CDC found significant effects on health at doses 5 times BELOW what the EPA considers “safe.” A 1 year old can consume more than the safe level, just from consuming food, not counting any water or milk he may drink that is also contaminated.

Another excerpt:
“One out of every six children nationwide has a learning disability or behavioral disorder severe enough to require therapy. Numerous environmental contaminants could be contributing to this alarming trend: mercury, radioactivity, generic air pollution and chemicals like bisphenol A, dioxins, PCBs and certainly perchlorate.”

Of course, like the BPA issue, it appears nothing is being done on this issue because of money and industry pressure. I love that economics is more important than human health and well-being, especially when children are most at risk; all the while learning disabilities and behavior disorders are at staggering numbers (as in affecting 1 in 6 children). Something is clearly wrong here.

And sadly, there is not much we can do. Even if we grow our own food or purchase organic, the rocket fuel may still exisit in the water these plants and animals received and the water and milk we drink.

This is one of those cases where we just need to write letters — to the EPA, to our senators, congressmen, etc. until someone will listen.

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Dangers of BPA, Phthalates and a host of other substances

No matter who you are, whether or not you have kids, you are male or female, old or young, everyone should check out this article. Especially if you use a computer, drink out of plastic cups, use a vinyl shower curtain, use soap, eat food, etc. I think I understand why I am often tired and my husband is losing more and more hair. LOL.

It’s a lengthy article, but contains a wealth of information on various chemicals, plastics and other toxins that we encounter daily and that are harming us in so many ways. The author cites scientific studies in each instance and what the findings were. It’s disturbing that yet again, the FDA fails to protect us. As companies are voluntarily phasing out certain substances in the products they sell, it should be a wakeup call to us all that there is a reason for this! Those substances cause all sorts of diseases, abnormalities, cancer, birth defects, low sperm counts, just to name a tiny few.

Additionally, it also affects our environment and the animals that live it in. Ironically that does include humans. But recently in Colorado, they discovered many of the fish living in the “purest” lake were transgender. Male fish had female traits. Studies link this as an affect to the presence of bisphenol-a, phthalates, prescriptions drugs and other substances in the water.

A scientist involved in the fish study said this:

“This particular study stands out because we’ve tried to address the question: What are the present compounds being broken down to?” Borch says. “It’s beyond the fact that these could have endocrine-disrupting effects.”

Check out this article. It’s well written and contains a wealth of eye-opening information.

http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/89453/?ses=2b135aa81b1a7d6b5e1b3017875dec7f

Some excerpts:

“Lab tests suggest that chronic, low-dose exposure to bisphenol-A — like drinking out of a coated cup or polycarbonate bottle daily — may cause women to have greater chances of breast cancer and polycystic ovary syndrome, a leading cause of infertility, and men to have increased odds of prostate cancer and reduced sperm counts.”

“As a computer warms up, particles inside start to fly and some catch a ride on dust. For years, I breathed in polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) from my laptop.”

“From 1979 to 2004, the EPA received more than 32,000 chemical applications, but agency personnel performed some level of review on fewer than one in eight cases. Eight out of every 10 applications are approved with no restrictions, often in less than three weeks. The agency has implemented restrictions on only five chemical classes, even though in the 1990s it reported that 16,000 compounds warranted concern because of their chemical structure or volume of use.”

“I have roughly 700 different synthetic chemicals in my body. That number probably won’t be going down any time soon. Every single day, the United States produces or imports 42 billion pounds of chemicals, about 140 pounds for every American. I also am what I eat out of, and with, and around.”

“Rather than yielding a regulatory hammer, the EPA generally allows the chemical industry to set its own standards voluntarily and conduct its own evaluations on endocrine disruption and chemical impacts on children. In cases where chemicals have gone through formal reviews, the results haven’t always panned out for public health and safety.

The Environmental Working Group recently exposed that the EPA had removed a government scientist from an external-review panel of deca-brominated diphenyl ester, one of the fire-retardant PBDEs, after the American Chemistry Council complained about her “appearance of bias.” “

“The public depends on EPA peer-review panels to help ensure the products they use every day are safe,” says Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., the committee chair. “The EPA seems to have a backwards way of composing these panels. The EPA is disallowing scientists who have valid public-health concerns about products, while encouraging participation by so-called experts who are paid by the chemical industry.”

Safe, ‘Green’ Insecticides Can Reduce Chemical Exposure in Homes and Gardens

Awesome! I have been looking for a safe alternative for pest control. I hate paying Terminix. One because they are expensive and two because I hate spraying harmful chemicals around. Additionally, these chemicals cannot be sprayed in homes with young infants (usually less than 6 weeks) which is also a concern. I will definitely check out this product, it sounds pretty good and right up my alley!

Safe, ‘Green’ Insecticides Can Reduce Chemical Exposure in Homes and Gardens
 
ATLANTA, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — With organic food and eco-friendly cleaning supplies now widely available, being ‘green’ at home is getting easier. When it comes to killing bugs, however, most people still reach for chemical insecticides because they are not aware that safe and effective botanical alternatives exist.

“Most Americans don’t realize that they can kill household insects without using conventional pesticides that leave behind a harmful chemical residue,” said Steven Bessette, the president of EcoSMART Technologies, which makes organic insecticides that are safe to use around children and pets, and are recommended by the non-profit group Healthy Child, Healthy World.

EcoSMART’s university-tested botanical pesticides kill bugs as effectively as synthetic pesticides, but their formulation is based on the centuries-old natural defenses that plants and trees use for their self-protection against insects and pathogens — essential oils. EcoSMART’s unique blends of essential oils block specific neural pathways in insects that regulate insect movement, behavior and metabolism. This results in instant immobilization and/or knockdown followed by the insect’s death. Because these neural pathways do not exist in mammals, the formulations are completely safe to use around children, animals, birds and fish.

“There are many smart and affordable ways to create a safer, healthier environment for children,” said Christopher Gavigan, CEO / Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World, which offers free information and expertise to help create healthy environments for families and children.

At its website, http://www.healthychild.org, parents can find tips such as these for healthier pest control:

    –  Prevent pests through good sanitation and food storage habits

    –  Remove shoes and wash hands immediately after playing outside to

        prevent tracking dirt indoors.

    –  Seal cracks and install door sweeps

    –  Use or fix window screens

    –  Manage outdoor lights to prevent insects gathering

    –  Eliminate moisture problems to keep the home dry

    –  Properly store all food

    –  Use non-toxic products

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recent reports indicate at least one pesticide product is used indoors by 75 percent of U.S. households each year and that 80 percent of the average person’s exposure to pesticides occurs indoors EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pesticid.html.

The active and inert ingredients in EcoSMART products are exempt from EPA registration and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These oils are commonly used to add flavor and aroma to many cosmetic, beverage and food products.

The new 14-ounce aerosols, available in Wal-Mart, Albertsons and other large retailers, include Ant & Roach Killer, Flying Insect Killer and Wasp & Hornet Killer. Consumers can also buy EcoSMART products online at http://www.ecosmart.com.

“EcoSMART has made it easier to protect children by reducing their exposure to harmful chemical pesticide residues while keeping homes clean and bugs under control,” Gavigan said.

In the spring of 2008, EcoSMART will also launch a highly effective 6 oz personal insect repellent that provides 2-3 hours of protection against mosquitoes, gnats, biting flies and no-see-ums. It is DEET-free and safe for kids.

For more information, visit http://www.ecosmart.com or call (877) 667-0006.
 

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