Archive for September, 2011
Written by Danika Carter of @YourOrganicLife
One of my absolute favorite groups addressing toxins in beauty products is Teens Turning Green. Teens Turning Green started in Marin County, the county with one of the highest breast cancer rates in the country…and it’s increasing. These teens formed a group to examine what chemicals they are being exposed to that may give them cancer or other health concerns.
They have become an effective group lobbying sucessfully on behalf of legislation in California that protects both children and adults from toxic exposure. They have successfully lobbied for The California Safe Cosmetics Act in October of 2005 and for the Toxic Toys Bill in 2007.
They also spoke at a hearing lead bySenator Carole Migden in San Francisco’s fight for laws in support of Nail SalonWorkers and then again in 2008, at a hearing to ban lead in lipstick. In 2009 they [lead] the BYOBag Marin City ordinance to support the ban ofsingle use bags in Marin County, and are part of many other advocacy initiatives within their schools and communities to support sustainable practices.
Last year they took on Abercrombie & Fitch in a very public campaign for spraying phthalate-containing perfumes in their stores endangering the health of their teenage employees and customers.
Starting next month (that would be in 2 days) Teens Turning Green is launching their 30-day green lifestyle initiative, Project Green Challenge.
Project Green Challenge is a powerful, diverse, and far-reaching movement inspiring young people to take action and protect our planet.
This October, Teens Turning Green is energizing high school and college students across the country to participate in Project Green Challenge, a 30-day green lifestyle initiative. The Challenge will raise awareness about conscious living, informed consumption and the collective impact of each of our actions.
With the guidance of eco experts, industry leaders and the PGC Guide to Living Green, participants will discover how fun, easy and effective eco living can be.
And then, when the 30-days is over,
Contestants who complete the 30-day Challenge can apply for the Challenge Finals. Ten finalists will be selected to participate in Green University, a two-day eco summit held in California this December. Students will be flown to San Francisco where they will learn from esteemed eco leaders, present experiences from the 30-day Challenge, and work together to create unique platforms for social action.This new slate of projects will be implemented by Teens Turning Green and youth nationwide in 2012.
The Eco-leaders that they’ve gathered to work with these students are just amazing. They are some of the leaders in the sustainable lifestyle movement.
If you know a teen or college student who’s interested in nontoxic beauty products and nontoxic, sustainable living, encourage them to sign up for the Project Green Challenge. There are only 2 days left to sign up!
Written by Deirdre Imus for Fox News
In 2008, September 13 was designated as “National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day,” one of the 30 days in which we rededicate our efforts to conquer childhood cancer and honor all the young warriors and their family’s efforts to combat this devastating disease.
Each year, approximately 12,500 American children are diagnosed with some type of cancer.
That means 46 children a day are diagnosed with the disease. Although more children die from accidents, pediatric cancers continue to be the leading cause of death by disease for all children under the age of 20.
The good news is over the past 50 years, significant advances in treatment have resulted in improved childhood cancer survival rates. The bad news is the number of children being diagnosed with cancer is on the rise.
Although we don’t know what causes childhood cancers, experts acknowledge that over 90 percent of all cancers are caused by environmental factors. We also know there are many commonly used products that contain chemicals that are carcinogenic.
Last year I wrote about the release of the President’s Cancer Panel report that warned about “environmentally induced cancers” and my belief that we need to be pro-active about prevention.
I also provided several steps you can take to reduce your child’s – and your own – risk of exposure.
I hope you will remember the young faces behind National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and support the many non-profit organizations and institutions that are out on the front lines fighting to defeat this dreaded disease.
Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of four books, including three national bestsellers. She is a frequent speaker on green living and children’s health issues, and is a contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com. For more information go to www.dienviro.com
Written by Daniella Knell of Smart Allergy-Friendly Education
Recently returned from a weekend getaway which was much needed by all! Myself included. Am I the only one who has difficulty unplugging from it all? No phones, computers, texting… well, maybe a DVD player. And two movies… ONLY two. As much as we love to travel, I’m a strong believer in being prepared for the unexpected. Travel time can be one of those questionable events.
3 1/2 hours later, we began settling in for our weekend retreat. As usual, we picked a spot far from other campers. We had the sent of pines all around us. The shade from aspens. Just the right amount of breeze blowing and a fabulous setup for our newly purchased hammock.
Hour one. BORED. The kids didn’t have any of their usual escapes handy. It appears they need time to decompress just as much as we do. An hour later, they were catching Swallowtail and Skipper butterflies with nets and bare hands, wearing out their new puppy (a hypoallergenic, absolutely adorable Cairn Terrier), and happily discovering a hidden path to our own private fishing hole. Double perfection.
The past few weeks have been incredibly busy. Family for 10 days and preparation in the middle of it all for my second national telephone workshop with Kristin Beltaos, owner of A Gift of Miles. This successful ‘Back to School’ workshop was an incredible learning experience for me.
I realized how much more I needed to better prepare myself, my son and the people who would now be taking care of him on a daily basis. Prep for my daughter’s allergies had been a cake walk. My son’s allergies can be life-threatening. This was a bit different. Or was it?
What better way to really think things through than to remove yourself from the daily chaos of all other distractions. The chattering squirrels woke me in the morning. The stream lulled me to sleep. We saw constellations clearly and remarked how well we saw the Big Dipper. We told stories and caught up on personal details we had missed in the busyness of the past few weeks. We went to bed way too late and slept in. And I slowed down. Finally.
Having children with food allergies can be overwhelming if one lets it be. But here we were, in the mountains far away if something happened. We were prepared for 3 days in the middle of nowhere. Benadryl and epipens. 3 days worth of our favorite allergy~friendly foods. We even had S’mores… OHHH, what a treat by the fire!
My mind returned to:
‘Back to school’ thoughts.
- Open communication with the nurse and teachers… check! As a matter of fact, we have great working relationships.
- Letter to the parents… check.
- Snack lists to share with teachers and classroom families… check.
- Individual classroom snack bin… check.
- IHP – Individual Health Plan prepared… check.
- Epis for school… check.
- ID or bracelet… on the way.
- Peanut/tree nut-free posters/lunchroom posters… ready to go.
- Allergy Awareness Class arranged… in the works.
Then reality hit me. I thought about where we were and what resources we had available. If we could go away into the mountains for a long weekend, with limited contact to the outside world, then we could send him off to kindergarten. Medical help and resources would be much more readily available there than it was where were currently vacationing.
We can’t stop him from growing up. We can’t always protect him. We can only guide him on awareness and making good choices. We are a bit nervous with the increased freedom he will have compared to preschool. After two visits to the ER due to anaphylactic reactions to foods, he is probably more aware than other 5 1/2 year olds regarding the precautions he needs to follow.
Having food allergies doesn’t have to stop one from living. I tell my children regularly that everyone has their own challenges. Some differences you can see, others are in the inside. They see people whose challenges are external and they count their blessings. They have their arms, legs and hair. They know their challenges are internal. Their challenge is a bit of a gift in that it forces them to make more cautious choices. Not such a bad thing.
I try not to live my life worrying about WHAT IF something happens. I try to focus on knowing that IF the WHAT IF happens, will I or my children know what to do.
And, we all do.
Yes, I am ready to send him off to kindergarten with new caretakers. Almost.
Did I tell you who wanted to stay an extra day up in the mountains, miles away from it all? We all did.
Here’s to an allergy family who inspires me every day to continue evolving to be the best mother, wife and person I can be.
Daniella Knell is the owner of Smart Allergy~Friendly Education. As an allergy awareness educator and consultant, her passion is raising awareness on allergy and product education. Her blog is www.smartallergy.blogspot.com
What’s In a Name? Use of the Term “Natural” Where GMOs are Involved Has Big Implications for Food Labeling
Written by Akhila Vijayaraghavan of Triple Pundit September 2nd, 2011
Product labeling is an area where loopholes and corporate social responsibility (CSR) seem to converge. It is precisely these loopholes that make it easy for companies to engage in a degree of greenwash but there is a thin line between ‘greenwash’ and ‘misleading the consumer.’ A recent lawsuit against ConAgra proves this point. The American food giant that owns several brands like Healthy Choice, Wesson, Slim Jim, & Banquet has been under attack for alleged false labeling.
The Food Safety News reports that its Wesson brand of cooking oil has been slapped with various lawsuits for claiming to be “all natural.” This deceptive marketing suit was brought against ConAgra in June by Millberg LLP. It could actually make food manufacturers think twice about bandying about the word ‘natural.’ Four Wesson varieties are implicated in the case: Canola Oil, Vegetable Oil, Corn Oil, and Best Blend, all of which have the ”100% natural” claim on their labels. However, the products include a number of genetically modified organisms (GMO).
The problem of course does not reside only with Wesson. There are thousands of processed food items that line grocery shelves that have the ‘natural’ label but are known to contain GMOs. 85% of US corn and 91% of soybean is genetically modified – both of these are common ingredients in processed food either by themselves or in the form of derivatives like soya lecithin, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch etc. 90% of Americans want full disclosure on their food products which may mean that every major food company needs to overhaul its labeling policies.
This is a very significant breakthrough for anti-GMO campaigners because it shows how much consumer choice actually affects companies. This is also a case for those companies and governments pushing for introduction of GMO in their countries. India is currently in the midst of signing off on a bill that will enable the free production of GMO fruit and vegetables. This would be a potentially calamitous move due to the lack of labeling laws in India as well as the fact that the country by and large still follows a bulk-bin system of buying produce.
Con Agra might be able to wriggle its way out of the suit. Its recent disclosure report revealed that it spent $100,000 in the second quarter on lobbying government officials on agriculture programs, ethanol regulations, etc. According to the report it filed, the company lobbied the FDA, the Department of Agriculture and the Office of Management and Budget, apart from Congress. I wonder how much of this went towards GMO lobbying.
Food companies can no longer hide behind ambiguous labels like ‘natural’ because food essentially is natural! The label itself is an oxymoron. With the advent of the suit on Con Agra, it is necessary for other companies to question their methods of labeling and/or food sourcing so that they are not open to liabilities. Currently under US laws, GMOs are not required to be labelled but labeling a product ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ when it does contain GMO is misleading to the consumer. Surely that is illegal?
“If they have to put the word ‘natural’ on a box to convince you, it probably isn’t.”
~Eric Schlosser, author, Fast Food Nation
This article originally appeared on Triple Pundit:People, Planet, Profit as seen here.
Remember when we didn’t have to worry about 1 in 3 American kids having allergies, autism, ADHD or asthma? Or cancer being the leading cause of death by disease in kids under the age of 15?
We do, too. And so does Chipotle, who takes us back in this video.
And while we, at AllergyKids, believe in the remarkable things that technology can yield, we also want to get back to health. And this video reminds us that if we work together, leveraging our collective talents, we can create the changes we want to see in the health of our families, our food system and our country.