The Green Queen Corner

It is the soul’s duty to be loyal to it’s own desires. It must abandon itself to it’s master… passion! by Rebecca West

Slip into Something More Organic December 27, 2006

By Gillian Flower

Tip! Baby Foods: A 1995 report found 16 pesticides in approximately half the non-organic baby food samples.

Many of us have made the shift towards an ecologically-aware lifestyle. Perhaps you have chosen to eat organic foods, to buy more locally made products, or to switch to public transport. While you may be living sustainably in many parts of your life, is this choice reflected in the clothing you wear every day?

Why Change your Clothes?

The clothing industry is rife with issues that deserve our attention. Child labour and poor working conditions are often part of clothing manufacturing in distant factories.

Our environment is threatened by the heavy metals in most dyes and by pollution from synthetic fabric production. Even “natural” alternatives like cotton aren’t as pure as they seem. So what choices are out there for the fashion-savvy shopper with a conscience?

Organic Cotton

Despite perceptions of cotton as a “natural” alternative, the production of this fibre is chemically intensive. Twenty-five percent of the world’s insecticides are used on cotton crops alone. To put this staggering number into perspective, the cotton T-shirt that you may be wearing right now required a third of a pound of chemicals for its production.While you may not be aware of the pesticide residue in your wardrobe, our air, water, and soil all feel the effects. We know that cancer rates increase with the use of some pesticides, and choosing to wear organic clothing has an impact on everyone’s health.Happily, thanks to rising consumer awareness, organic cotton clothing is increasingly available.

Major manufacturers are making the switch to organic threads, leading the charge for real changes in the clothing industry. Active wear companies like Mountain Equipment Co-Op (mec.ca) and Patagonia (patagonia.com) have developed impressive product lines made from organic cotton. Anti-sweatshop advocate American Apparel (americanapparel.net) now offers 10 styles for men, women, and children in their Sustainable Edition line.

Tip! Mulching – This is a great way to prevent soil erosion, add organic matter to the soil and reduce evaporation. However, you need to leave space around the base of each plant.

Hemp Hemp Hooray!

Although some still confuse hemp with its well-known cousin, marijuana, this ancient plant is enjoying popularity as an eco-alternative to conventional fabrics. Growing hemp is kinder to the planet than growing cotton, as this resilient, adaptable plant requires little water or chemical additives.

Hemp fibre has some unique and interesting characteristics, which makes it a suitable replacement for conventional fabrics. Historically, hemp was used to make rope and sails, items that made use of the plant’s impressive tensile strength. Today, clothing companies like Of The Earth (oftheearth.com) and Hemptown (hemptown.com) promote hemp’s wicking properties and its resistance to bacteria and mould. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts appreciate hemp’s insulating properties. Like wool, this fibre breathes well in hot weather, insulates in cool weather, and retains heat when wet. The wicking properties of hemp make it a great first layer for any outdoor enthusiast.

Tip! Do not always assume organic is more expensive. Look at the prices of conventional and organic products and compare.

The Future of Fibre

As hemp and organic cotton become more available, manufacturers are experimenting with creative blends using these fibres. In their 2004 collection, Of the Earth introduced an ingenious T-shirt fabric that blended soy with organic cotton and Lycra, resulting in a hard-wearing but delicate fabric that is silky-soft against the skin.

Clean Clothes, manufacturers of Maggie’s Organics (organicclothes.com), has been making simple, basic, wearable pieces since 1992. Recently, the company moved organics into the future by launching their first natural performance sock. Blending Coolmax, a patented wicking fabric with organic cotton, Maggie’s sport socks ensure that both your feet and conscience are kept happy.

So take the next step towards an organic lifestyle by simply changing your clothes. You can make a great difference with simple, conscious choices.

Tip! You will have no additives in your vegetables. Research by organic food associations has shown that additives in our food can cause heart diseases, osteoporosis, migraines and hyperactivity.

Gillian Flower is an environmental products specialist with Grassroots Environmental Products in Toronto. As a student at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, she plans to bring an awareness of environmental issues to her future practice as a naturopathic doctor. She is a regular contributor to alive magazine. Visit http://www.alive.com for related articles.


size=”1″>Tip! Sustainability. In his book, Gardening Organically, John Fedor defines sustainability as “the ability of a society or an ecosystem to function indefinitely without squandering the resources on which it relies.

Grow your own

The cheapest method has got to be to grow your own. The great thing is that it doesn’t require you to have much garden space, or even a garden at all!

We grow tomatoes, and strawberries in containers and the extra benefit is that you get total control over the growing conditions.

 

The best combination is to have organic soil together with organically produced seeds or plants, that way you ensure you get the full flavour and benefit.

Containers can be placed anywhere that receives a reasonable amount of daylight, which means that you can use them on balconies or other hard surfaces.

Tip! Strawberries: 500 pounds of pesticide an acre is sprayed on non-organic strawberries.

Look for your local suppliers

One of the most satisfying things to do is to buy organic food locally. That way you get the freshest ingredients for your kitchen and also get to support local businesses. With no transportation costs for the supplier too you should get very competitive prices.

Don’t forget that these same businesses will be employing local staff so you are also helping the local economy, everybody wins in this scenario.

Local markets

We visit a big monthly market held on a disused airstrip. Organic food is just one of the variety of items sold there but the prices are very, very good indeed. Of course they are all local suppliers and with several of them in one place we benefit from healthy competition and get to sample a lot of fruit!

Tip! Failing to plan – Planning is crucial to a successful organic veggie garden. You need to consider the aspect of your plot/s.

Local box schemes

If you are unable to get out of your house or are too busy working to select your groceries by hand then why not subscribe to an organic box scheme?

You will receive, delivered to your door, a weekly selection of fruit and vegetables in season.

Farm shops

Finally, investigate whether any farms near you are operating an organic farm shop. Our local one is operated on an open farm so that you can go and see where the animals are being kept and take a look at the crops being grown.

Tip! Bananas: Non-organic bananas from Central and South America are produced using benomyl (linked to birth defects) and chloropyrifos (neurotoxin).

They actually have a well-designed walking route around the farm which makes a nice day out for the kids too.

If you investigate the options above you should be able to make considerable savings whilst you and your family sample the delights and advantages of organic food.

Virginia Louise is a keen convert to the organic way of life, having two children has especially highlighted the benefits to be gained by them from eating organically.

Virginia runs an information site on the advantages of organic food where you can obtain lots of free information about what makes organic food so beneficial, where to get it and suggested recipes.

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Why Are Consumers Demanding More Organic Milk?

Filed under: Green,organic — greenqueen @ 9:24 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

By Kiran Patil

Tip! Strawberries: 500 pounds of pesticide an acre is sprayed on non-organic strawberries.

The demand for organic milk has increased all over the world. No, this is not with reference to the increased demand for the product that occurred in. This is about the present – 2006.

So, why is the demand for organic milk increasing? The answer lies in the benefits of organic milk. Consumers are demanding more organic milk due to its enhanced health benefits.

Research conducted at the University of Aberdeen, and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research have shown that organic milk has more Omega 3 than non-organic milk. So consumers can now just replace their regular milk with organic milk and do away with those Omega 3 supplements or fish oil capsules.Similarly, research conducted at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences and the University of Newcastle has shown that organic milk is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Vitamin A is essential for a good eye-sight, and Vitamin E protects body cells from free radicals and delays ageing.

Tip! Grow your own. Even a small window box can yield some organic herbs or tomatoes.

Organic milk also has more Conjugated Linoleic Acidl (CLA) than non-organic milk, as it has become mandatory to graze the organic cows on pastures unless weather forces the farmer to interfere. Now cows that graze on pastures have higher concentrations of CLAs in their milk than fodder-fed cows.

There was always a lack of evidence that organic food is better than conventional or non-organic food and all the benefits of organic food over non-organic food were strong beliefs of the producers and consumers in the wellness of organic food production methodologies.

However, the research findings on health benefits of organic milk have firmed the beliefs of consumers who are now demanding more organic milk. Health conscious people have also shifted to organic milk resulting in a shortage of the product.

Tip! Mulching – This is a great way to prevent soil erosion, add organic matter to the soil and reduce evaporation. However, you need to leave space around the base of each plant.

However, the increased health benefits of organic milk are not the only reasons for this surge in demand. People are also questioning the factory mode production of organic dairy products. Many people now believe that livestock have good health when they are left in the open. Confined animals are more prone to diseases and hence the increased chances of BSE cases.

Consumers are also becoming conscious of animal rights and do not wish to be part of the extensive cruelty imparted to confined livestock. Since organic milk production involves certain aspects of animal welfare, these consumers have shifted to organic milk even if it costs more.

Kiran Patil is a chemical engineer and an expert on organic food and organic farming. Visit his website at www.organicfacts.net

size=”1″>Tip! Sustainability. In his book, Gardening Organically, John Fedor defines sustainability as “the ability of a society or an ecosystem to function indefinitely without squandering the resources on which it relies.

Grow your own

The cheapest method has got to be to grow your own. The great thing is that it doesn’t require you to have much garden space, or even a garden at all!

We grow tomatoes, and strawberries in containers and the extra benefit is that you get total control over the growing conditions.

 

The best combination is to have organic soil together with organically produced seeds or plants, that way you ensure you get the full flavour and benefit.

Containers can be placed anywhere that receives a reasonable amount of daylight, which means that you can use them on balconies or other hard surfaces.

Tip! Strawberries: 500 pounds of pesticide an acre is sprayed on non-organic strawberries.

Look for your local suppliers

One of the most satisfying things to do is to buy organic food locally. That way you get the freshest ingredients for your kitchen and also get to support local businesses. With no transportation costs for the supplier too you should get very competitive prices.

Don’t forget that these same businesses will be employing local staff so you are also helping the local economy, everybody wins in this scenario.

Local markets

We visit a big monthly market held on a disused airstrip. Organic food is just one of the variety of items sold there but the prices are very, very good indeed. Of course they are all local suppliers and with several of them in one place we benefit from healthy competition and get to sample a lot of fruit!

Tip! Failing to plan – Planning is crucial to a successful organic veggie garden. You need to consider the aspect of your plot/s.

Local box schemes

If you are unable to get out of your house or are too busy working to select your groceries by hand then why not subscribe to an organic box scheme?

You will receive, delivered to your door, a weekly selection of fruit and vegetables in season.

Farm shops

Finally, investigate whether any farms near you are operating an organic farm shop. Our local one is operated on an open farm so that you can go and see where the animals are being kept and take a look at the crops being grown.

Tip! Bananas: Non-organic bananas from Central and South America are produced using benomyl (linked to birth defects) and chloropyrifos (neurotoxin).

They actually have a well-designed walking route around the farm which makes a nice day out for the kids too.

If you investigate the options above you should be able to make considerable savings whilst you and your family sample the delights and advantages of organic food.

Virginia Louise is a keen convert to the organic way of life, having two children has especially highlighted the benefits to be gained by them from eating organically.

Virginia runs an information site on the advantages of organic food where you can obtain lots of free information about what makes organic food so beneficial, where to get it and suggested recipes.

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Way to go Aspen: City reduces greenhouse gas by giving employees incentive November 22, 2006

Aspen, Colorado city employees recieved bonuses for helping to reduce greenhouse gases in their city. Congrats Aspen. Check out the article in the Aspen Times, the link is,
http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20061121/NEWS/111210022.

Aspen reduced it’s emissions by 10.5% which is what most cities are increasing their green house gases by. What a great idea to thank city employees for their hard work by giving them a bonus for helping to decrease gases. Aspen is doing what it takes to make a difference and better their community. They are setting a great example for other cities. They plan to further decrease their emissions in years to come.

I love solutions. Another toxic problem being over come.

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Environmentally Friendly Rental Cars November 21, 2006


Check it out! Bio-beetle rental cars for your next vacation to Los Angeles or Maui. They use biodiesel instead of gasoline. What is biodiesel? There are many versions of bio-diesel, Bio-beetle uses 100% recycled vegetable oil. That means that your fried food is their fuel. Check them out at http://www.Bio-beetle.com.


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Why are there toxic chemicals in your skin care, personal care products and cosmetics? November 19, 2006

I was inspired to write this entry by http://beaut.ie/blog/?p=577.

Cosmetic companies are minimally regulated which means they can put almost anything they want into your cosmetics, skin care and personal care products. All of your conventional personal care and beauty care products are filled with toxic chemicals.

Just think in the morning you shower and apply chemical shampoos, conditioners, shower gel. You get out of the shower dry off and put lotion all over your body then your face. You put on chemical filled make-up and even worse perfume. Layer after layer of chemicals are slathered onto your body. And if your products have fragrance the danger is increased.

Everyday you leave your home as a toxic chemical time bomb. On the outside you look hot in your Lucky Jeans, your high heal pumps, cool Ralph Lauren blouse and blazer. While underneath all day long your body is absorbing and storing the toxic chemicals that you applied as part of your daily regimen. Metabolizing them through your body, organs and blood. It isn’t your fault though. How could you know that you were applying a toxic cocktail of chemicals to your body daily when there aren’t warnings, or labels to tell you the truth about your products. You have been in the dark.

Why do cosmetic companies and personal body care companies use these chemicals? They say because it is cheaper and easier. How much cheaper is it when you need radiation to kill the cancer in your body. Furthermore, there are many companies that have great pure, natural products that are affordable like Dr. Haushka, and Aubrey Organics. If you use Mac, Bobby Brown, Lancome, Prescriptives and Clairins, to name a few, like I did then you know that they are not cheap! Where is the savings?!

Go to your bathroom cabinet right now, where you keep your skin care and personal care products and pull out products you use everyday, input the name of the product into the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep data base at http://ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/index.php to rate the toxicity of your products.

You can go to the same website and input the chemicals that are on the labels of your products into the data base to learn if they have health affects. After you have rated your products and learned about the health affects, notice how many layers of chemicals that you are slathering onto your body daily and what health affects have been linked to these products. Count the layers of chemicals how many do you wear underneath your Lucky Jeans everyday?

What you will find is that many ingredients in your products are cancerous. These ingredients are listed among the first 5 ingredients on the ingredient label which means they have the largest quantity in the product.

And what the cosmetic industry doesn’t tell you is that mixing one chemical with another can be carcinogenic. The chemical alone may be safe but when it is mixed with another chemical from another product the combination becomes lethal. You have to be a scientist to get ready in the morning

Furthermore, the EPA says that some chemicals like phthalates are safe in cosmetics because they are at safe levels for humans. However, what the EPA doesn’t consider or evaluate is that chemicals like phthalates are used in many cosmetics and personal care products like, fragrance-containing soaps, shampoos and perfumes. They are also used in plastics like your shower curtain, flooring, baby bottles and nipples, toys to name a few. Thus you are exposed daily to many layers of phthalates found in many products not just one product. This increases the level of exposure pushing it over the safe level and making the levels unsafe for humans.

Furthermore, not only are you absorbing these chemicals into your largest organ, your skin, but you breath them in, they may get into your mouth and nose which means you ingest them. Everyday you layer then onto your body. That means that the layers of chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis increase with every layer. Thus the levels that you are exposed are at unsafe levels. Phthalates have been linked to reduced sperm count in men, genital abnormalities in boys, premature birth, sperm damage to name a few.

To illistrate my point, in September 2000, the US Centers for Disease Control released it’s assessment of the levels of phthalates in the bodies of the American public. After studying urine samples they found the levels of phthalates to be high. One demographic of concern was women of child-bearing age where they found the levels to be especially high in a disproportionately large number of women. This is of concern because the fetus is extremely vulnerable to the adverse affects of phthalates. Furthermore, this demographic is the one that should avoid exposer to phthalates. Phthalates are banned in the EU.

Another common dangerous chemical found in skin care, personal care products and cosmetics is parabens. It is used as a preservative and is found in breast cancer patients. You will find parabens in your shampoo, conditioner, lotions, body washes and make-ups to list a few. That means that they are also layered onto your body. Go to Skin Deep for more information, http://ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/index.php.

To add insult to injury, there is controversy surrounding nano chemicals in our beauty products, ingredients engineered at the molecular scale. They aren’t listed on the ingredient lists and they aren’t regulated. They are harmful to your health and environment. For more information check out this link, http://action.foe.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=5475&msource=foe11006&tr=y&auid=2072979

I am very passionate about this and bewildered that our country and government would allow chemicals to be in our everyday personal care products. The increase in disease in our country is continuously on the rise. At this time in history 1 out of 2 women will have cancer. Think about it, that means that your friend, sister or mother or you will contract this terrible disease. The EU is banning one chemical after another to protect their citizens why isn’t the US? Why is the EPA constantly avoiding chemical matters when it comes to our skin care, cosmetics and personal care products? Isn’t it their job to protect us?

I strongly recommend that you visit http://ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/index.php, to learn more about the toxic chemicals that are in your everyday skin care and personal care products and evaluate the products that you use.

There are safe solutions to skin care, cosmetics and personal cae products many are listed at Skin Deep. A couple of my favorite products are Dr. Hauschka and Aubrey Organics. A great way to try Aubrey Organics or Dr. Hauschka is their kits: Dr.Hauschka Daily Face Care Kit and Aubrey Organics – Silken Earth Makeup Kit, 1 kit

However don’t take my word for it or Skin Deeps anyones for that matter. Take your health care into your own hands and do your research, read the labels of all products before you buy and know what you are putting onto your skin, hair, body…

Look for my upcoming post on how to choose safe skin care products and personal care products and more product suggestions so that you can take matters into your own hands and protect your health. I will give tips on how to read through the hype and how to read between the lines on labels.

Thanks again for reading. Another toxic problem revealed.

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Toxic News About Plastic Baby Bottles November 15, 2006

I am shocked to learn that most baby bottles on the market today are highly toxic because of the materials they are commonly made with, and because mom’s are taught to heat them in hot water to sterilize them and to heat milk. Moreover, many moms’s put bottles in the microwave to heat the milk even though they know it is a big NO, NO. I also learned that the alternative to plastic is glass; however, glass bottles are scarce. Furthermore, once baby starts holding their own bottle glass becomes dangerous.

What you need to know about plastic before you use one more baby bottle
A common plastic used to make baby bottles is polycarbonate plastic. Studies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Consumers Union and researchers at Nagasaki University in Japan show that when baby bottles made with polycarbonate plastic, recycle #7, are heated a hormone-disrupting chemical called, bisphenol-A (BPA), is released. That hormone leaches into the milk in the bottle. The same scientists found that used bottles leached up to double the amount of chemicals as new bottles because the plastic is less stable than in new bottles.

Bisphenol – A is an artificial estrogen and researches have known for years that it is harmful to animals and humans alike, especially during fetal development. Scientists have found and presented the dangers of BPA to the Environmental Protection Agency, who hasn’t yet banned it from the market place despite the health risks that have been identified. The dangers include decreased sperm production in males, prostate hyperplasia — excessive growth of prostate tissue, early onset of puberty, chromosome damage in female ovaries and a variety of behavioral changes.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), recycle #7, is another common plastic used to make baby bottles. It is the most toxic plastic to human health and the environment. PVC has been linked to IQ deficiencies, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, and reduced attention spans, as well as other behavior problems.

In general plastics like Tupperware and other storage containers that are commonly made with polycarbonate plastic or polyvinyl chloride are a dangerous place to store food, use glass containers. They leach toxic chemicals into the items they store, like the food that you eat. The dangers further increase when food is heated in these plastic containers, since the heat breaks down the plastic and destabilizes it, thus increasing the release of toxic chemicals into your food. An even more dangerous situation is heating food in plastic containers in the microwave; this further accelerates the release of toxic chemicals into the contents of the container, just don’t do it.

Safety concerns behind plastic pacifiers, teethers and nipples
Also beware of, plastic pacifiers, teethers, and nipples because they can be made with plastics that contains phthalates. Phthalates is a commonly used chemical that is found in nail polish, make up, soft plastics and much more. Because it is fat soluble it collects in fatty tissue of humans where it is stored. It is absorbed through the skin, lungs and by ingesting. It has adverse health affects in the liver, the kidneys, the lungs and the reproductive system. It has been associated with premature breast development in young girls, adverse effects on genital development in male children, as well as reduced sperm count in adult males.

Beware because infants receive large doses of these chemicals because they spend most of their time indoors and breathe, metabolize, and ingest faster than adults do. Furthermore, these plastics are found in many household products, cosmetics, vinyl and toys. Additionally, food is contaminated by these chemicals through packaging.

So what do mom’s do to solve this problem and protect their babies from exposure to plastic?

  • When baby is old enough to hold the bottle then switch to a plastic bottle made with polyethylene or polypropylene they have the recycle #’s 1, 2, 4 or 5. Gerber, Evenflo and Rubbermade all make these kinds of bottles so they will be easy to find. Stay with the silicone nipples. Make sure that the bottle and nipples don’t have any cracks where bacteria can live. If they do don’t buy them or throw them into the trash.
  • Don’t purchase the bottles that have decorations on the inside of the bottle as they leach off into babies milk.
  • Never heat babies formula or any bottle in the microwave!!! If you are using a plastic bottle you are accelerating the leaching of chemicals into babies formula but you are also destroying and breaking down the nutritional value of the formula.
  • Don’t heat formula in the plastic bottle even when heating in a pan of hot water. Instead heat formula in a non-Teflon pan and then poor it into the bottle when it is warm not hot. (Teflon when heated gives off carcinogens, and is linked to birth defects and is found in 95% of humans. The dangerous chemical found in Teflon is not going to be used after 2015.)

Congratulations on another toxic problem overcome. Together we can make a difference in our children’s lives and our future generation’s lives. Let’s leave the earth a little better than we found it.

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The Complete Organic Baby on the Today Show November 3, 2006

Check it out. On the Today Show 2 women, Deirdre Dolan, Alexandra Zissu, talk about their new book, “The Complete Organic Pregnancy.” The book talks about organic non-toxic living and your baby, here is the link to NBC Today Show, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032633/. Find the book at Amazon.com.

The book discusses remodeling, beauty products, organic food, toxic cleaning products in your home, furniture, carpet and more. Sounds like it is comprehensive and it offers simple solutions that you can implement in your home. Here is a link to a chapter in their book. http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/TVNews/Today%20show/PDF/OrganicPregnancy.pdf

When you read it let me know what you think. I will also put my review here. I watched their interview on the Today Show and it seems like they really know what they are talking about. They offer simple inexpensive solutions to common toxic problems like new furniture. They also agree that when having a new baby it is wise not to remodel unless you absolutely have to. Check it out I can’t wait to read it and hear what you have to say.