Sunday, December 16, 2007

Effective January 1 Minnesota becomes the first state to ban mercury from use in mascara, eyeliners and skin-lightening creams. Minnesota will have tougher standards than the Federal Government. Seems odd that mercury would need to be banned - as who would add mercury to cosmetics? Well some manufactures still use mercury as a preservative.

We applaud the new law in Minnesota. Hopefully this idea will spread across the USA and Canada.

Full story available on Canadian Business Online.

Pure Know How

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Plastics Primer

Toxic Nation E-News
Selecting your Plastics: A Break-down

Over the past month Toxic Nation has received a slew of phone calls and emails requesting information on the different plastics we use daily and their relative safety. The following is a description of each recycling number, its use and some potential hazards.
#1 PETE: Polyethylene terephthalate ethylene, used for soft drink, juice, water, detergent, cleaner and peanut butter containers. Scientists advise against the repeated use of plastic water bottles made from plastic type #1 PETE as there is evidence to suggest that such bottles leach a compound known as DEHA, which is classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, as well as acetaldehyde, which has received the same designation from the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
#2 HDPE: High density polyethylene, used in opaque plastic milk and water jugs, bleach, detergent and shampoo bottles and some plastic bags.
#3 PVC or V: Polyvinyl chloride, used for cling wrap, some plastic squeeze bottles, cooking oil and peanut butter jars, detergent and window cleaner bottles.
#4 LDPE: Low density polyethylene, used in grocery store bags, most plastic wraps and some bottles.
#5 PP: Polypropylene, used in most Rubbermaid, deli soup, syrup and yogurt containers, straws and other clouded plastic containers, including some baby bottles.
#6 PS: Polystyrene, used in Styrofoam food trays, egg cartons, disposable cups and bowls, carryout containers and opaque plastic cutlery.
#7 Other: Usually polycarbonate plastic, used in most plastic baby bottles, 5-gallon water bottles, “sport” water bottles, some metal food can liners, clear plastic “sippy” cups and some clear plastic cutlery. New bio-based and bio-degradable plastics may also be labeled as #7.
Plastic with bisphenol A is labeled in the #7 category, which also includes a wide variety of plastics and plastic mixtures that fall into the 'other' category. Unless this #7 is followed by the letters 'PC' (polycarbonate) there's no sure way to tell if the container contains bisphenol A or not.
Avoid using #7 plastics altogether and opt for safer choices for food and beverage storage. These better options include polypropylene (#5 PP), high density polyethylene (#2 HDPE), and low density polyethylene (#4 LDPE).
(Information provided from various sources, including the Smart Plastics Guide of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in the U.S.).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Study: Common Air Fresheners Contain Chemicals That May Affect Human Reproductive Development

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) analyzed 14 different air fresheners and found that 12 contained phthalates, hormone-disrupting chemicals. The phthalates in the air fresheners can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

The NRDC said that while consumers should be concerned about the chemicals, they stressed that there is no cause for panic. The chemicals pose their greatest risk over long term repeated exposure. But of course many who use air fresheners use them day in and day out.

You can read the original Press release at the NDRC site.

Pure Know How

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Story of Stuff

A faithful subscriber pointed this engaging "story" out to us ... thanks Erin. It connects the dots on how we "get our stuff" from product inception to buying in the shops to the impact on our earth upon disposal. Did you know that of all the "stuff" we buy, we only have 1% remaining at the end of a six month period.

To view:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Yea for a "precautionary" MEC

We congratulate Mountain Equipment Coop, a retailer across Canada for all things to get you "moving out-of-doors" on its decision to discontinue selling most food and beverage containers made of polycarbonate plastic from its shelves, citing concern over possible health risks. The plastic in question is made mostly from bisphenol A (BPA), which mimics estrogen and is derived from petrochemicals.

This company is following the Precautionary Principle which we, at Pure Know How, believe is a prudent approach to the chemical soup we now live in.

For more info on Plastics see our Plastic Water Bottles e-bulletins.

Patti & Tamey
Pure Know How

Globe & Mail Article