Chelsea Green Kids Archive


Poisoned for Profit, How Toxins are Making our Children Chronically Ill

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Alice Shabecoff, author of Poisoned for Profit along with her husband Philip, speaks to a meeting of the National Disease Clusters Alliance.

The book was written to answer the question, “Why is my child sick?” The answer, according to the Shabecoffs’, is constant exposure to toxic chemical by-products from industrial processes–and millions of children are suffering.

First published in 2008, this updated edition tells the same disturbing story. Not much has changed since the book first appeared, and a recent President’s Cancer Panel Report corroborates the book’s findings.

“Poisoned for Profit” book party and speaker panel from Terry Nordbrock on Vimeo.

Lee Welles Makes History—in Corning, NY

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Lee Welles, author of the Gaia Girls book series, will soon be making history as the first woman to serve as deputy mayor of the city of Corning, NY.

From the Leader:

Councilman Lee Welles, D-2, will soon become the first woman to serve as city deputy mayor, pending a rubber stamp approval.

Republican mayor-elect Rich Negri recently chose Welles to fill the post.

The council will vote on the issue at 7 p.m. Jan. 4 at City Hall, during its first monthly meeting of 2010.

Negri, who vowed non-partisanship during his campaign, said Welles, a Democrat, will do an excellent job.

“She is my choice,” Negri said. “Lee is going to make a very good deputy mayor, she is non-partisan and bases all or her decisions on the facts of the situation and her personal thoughts on the matter.”

Negri said he recently sent letters to all council members and to City Manager Mark Ryckman informing them of his recommendation.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Welles, who will be starting her third year in office in January. “I often tell people that on a local level we just shouldn’t do party politics. We need to do what we think is best for the city.”

Read the whole article here.

Photo: Jason Cox | The Leader

Chido’s Blend

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Turning coffee pulp into mushrooms, creating livelihoods for young women that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance? That’s what I call good coffee.

Chido Govero, author of The Future of Hope, took her tragic and compelling personal story and turned it into a tool to help other young women in otherwise hopeless situations.

Dear Friends,

In spite of neglect and hardships … look what we succeeded in doing! The project of converting pulp to protein started in 1995 and now we are taking this to new levels of empowerment.

Thanks to the creative ideas of ST Chang from Hong Kong, and the hard labor on the science by Carmenza Jaramillo in Colombia, we are now entering a new phase.

The export of coffee from Zimbabwe, after years of boycotts and problems is now made possible thanks to the initiatives of Chido, our orphan girl who learned how to convert biomass waste into edible mushrooms using local biodiversity. Each farmer in Zimbabwe who is part of the new coffee blend has to commit to organize training for girls at risk, using the waste from the coffee farm.

This means that the export of a cash crop is providing food security, and when the girls have food security, the abuse of young girls and women is gone. Would you please have a look at this website: get coffee, get Chido’s book (for free) and let us celebrate the first container of coffee leaving Zimbabwe generating jobs!

http://www.equatorcoffees.com/store/pages.php?pageid=39

If you like coffee … this is a great way forward.

Thank you.

gunter

Check out the Equator Coffees website to learn more:

You can make a difference. With every order* of Chido’s Blend you will receive a complimentary copy of Chido’s book (a $9.99 value). And by purchasing Chido’s Blend you are supporting the farmers that supply the coffee pulp to Chido’s girls.

Toxic Holiday: Arsenic, Cadmium, and Lead in Children’s Toys

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Just in time (ish) for Christmas, we want to highlight a post from Peter Rothberg’s blog on The Nation’s web site. Peter brings to our attention the good work the folks at HealthyToys.org are doing.

They’ve tested more than 1,500 toys and children’s products for the presence of potentially hazardous chemicals and posted the results on their site. Their database is searchable by brand and type of toy, and they provide rankings from safest products to products of most serious concern. You can even send them a text message right from the toy store to get instant toy safety ratings.

For the second straight year, HealthyToys.org is highlighting test results for more than 1,500 toys and children’s products. Researchers at the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit, tested more than 1,500 popular children’s toys for lead, cadmium, arsenic, PVC and other harmful chemicals in time for this year’s holiday shopping season. The results are sobering: One in three toys tested were found to contain “medium” or “high” levels of chemicals of concern.

Lead was detected in 20 percent of the toys tested this year. In fact, lead levels in some of the products were well above the 600 parts-per-million (ppm) federal recall standard used for lead paint, and will exceed the US legal limit in February, according to the new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations. Levels of lead in many toys were significantly above the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended ceiling of 40 ppm of lead in children’s products. (Children’s jewelry remains the most contaminated product category, maintaining its spot at the top of HealthyToys.org’s “worst” list.)

The site’s utility allows ease of use for busy parents and children’s advocates. Type in “Dora,” and several varieties of toys appear. Click on a specific toy, and up pop product ratings based on test results for lead, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic and mercury. The ratings range from low- to high-risk. A primer on the hazards of each substance and a breakdown of which components were tested lets consumers evaluate the risk.

Read the whole article here.

Julia Alvarez: What We Owe the Children of the Future

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The state of Vermont has the proud distinction of being the first state called for Barack Obama last night, kicking off his impressive electoral landslide with its 3 mighty votes. It’s also the home of author Julia Alvarez.

Saturday’s edition of Weekend America on American Public Media showcased Julia, author of A Cafecito Story.

Her audio essay was the last of their “Conversations with America” series, in which people around the country talk about the issues that have been on their minds this election season. She talked about what we owe the children of the future: “a green, viable, livable earth; a human family at peace, solving our problems together.”

Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:

Every Election Day when I get to vote, I cry. I do. I see people I know and people I don’t know, old people, young people, parking their cars to claim their one vote, people who disagree with me and people who agree with me. But mostly I see ghosts. People who made this happen for me.

You see, I’m remembering. I’m remembering people from the Dominican Republic, the country we fled in 1960. I am remembering those who could not leave the dictatorship, the tios and tias, uncles and aunts, who wanted me to have this day. Some were freedom fighters, who died trying to win this right for me. Some were just scared, everyday people who lived without ever having had this day for themselves. I owe them my thanks, and I thank them by voting. On this day I get to say what kind of a world I want! I know the price tag of being able to have this right.

When I hear people say they’re not going to vote, that it won’t make a difference, I think, give it to me! I’ll recycle it! I know a bunch of people who can use it. I’ll send it to Piti, a Haitian worker in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, who dreams of some day studying in this country; or to Mari, who takes care of my mami and papi back in their homeland and asks me to bring her to the United States every time I visit. Or I’ll send it just down the road right here in Vermont to Felipe or Telma or Roberto, Mexican migrant workers who are helping our local Vermont farmers stay on their farms, workers whose own children were born here, children who will one day be able to say what kind of a world they want because their parents thought of them.

I want everyone who can vote to vote. And as they do, I want them to remember that someone back then thought of us. I want us to vote not just for ourselves but for the children of the future, American or not.

Read or listen to the entire essay here.

Photo by Bill Eichner, American Public Media.

Localvores Rejoice! 2008 Boasts Record Number of US Farmers’ Markets

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS) division tracks the number of farmers’ markets operating in the United States. As the graph above shows, they are reporting that the number of markets operating in the country has been increasing steadily since 1994 and has topped a whopping 4,685 this year!

If you’d like to see the markets operating in your area, AMS operates this searchable database where you can find markets by name, location, or forms of payment.

It’s great to see a resurgence of local food production and local consumers. Let’s keep it up!

The chart above courtesy of La Vida Locavore.

Toxins in toys … scared yet?

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Hey, when you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll. You just can’t seem to click on your mouse without finding more evidence that parents are taking seriously the role of scrutinizing what’s in the products their kids play with. Shocking, I know. Remember the good old days? Lead paint on your metal toy? Hanging out the back of the station wagon? Good times, good times.

Around the country, parents and advocates are getting together to screen their toys for  toxins. A recent example occurred in Norwalk, Connecticut, a state where lawmakers are hoping to pass House Bill 5601, An Act Banning Children’s Products Containing Lead, Phthalates or Bisphenol-A.

And, who says Californians get to have all the fun banning these chemicals from toys.

Here’s a story on an event as reported in the Stamford Advocate.

NORWALK – The handheld device resembled a price scanner, but after it zapped his son’s Fisher Price roller vacuum toy, sticker shock wasn’t what upset state Sen. Bob Duff.

The device, an X-ray fluorescence analyzer, discovered 200 parts per million of lead, far more than the 40 parts per million that pediatricians consider acceptable on toys.

Worse than that, the toy’s paint contained 250 parts per million of mercury, said Damian Fox, who conducted the tests.

“There should be zero mercury,” said Fox, who owns Glastonbury-based Aremytoyssafe.com, a service that tests chemical levels in toys and other items.

“This is going into the garbage,” said Duff, D-Norwalk. “Actually, it’s going in on household hazardous waste day.”

EPA drops ball on danger of chemicals to children

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Just when you think there are no more shoes to drop in the Bush Administration’s march to decimate any and all public protections …  Imelda Marcos stops by after a shopping spree.

In relation to a couple of recent posts related to Mark Schapiro’s book Exposed, where he is taken to task by some apologists for chemical companies, you read a story that shows that the Environmental Protection Agency has been stacking its review panels with scientists who are financially linked to chemical companies.

Take this pice of reporting from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to evaluate compounds in products such as flame retardants in mattresses and car seats to see if they are especially harmful to children.

But it doesn’t.

The EPA’s Voluntary Children’s Chemical Evaluation Program, which relies on companies to provide information about the dangers of the chemicals they produce, is all but dead.

Funding ran out last August.

If you think investigative reporting is dead, read on here.

This story only underscores a key point Schapiro raises in his book—if you think someone is paying attention to what chemicals companies are putting on and in kids’ products, think again.

Keeping kids’ toys safe

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Journalist Mark Schapiro, whose book Exposed was recently the basis for a special feature on PBS’ NOW program that focused on phthalates—a hard-to-pronounce but damaging group of chemicals found in many children’s toys—is taking on the chemical industry’s apologists.

Elizabeth Whalen took him to task earlier this year on The Huffington Post, calling him an “activist,” which to journalists is about as slanderous as it gets. Schapiro took up Whalen’s outing and used what all journalists use when they write stories—facts—to show that his book and his reporting are on firm ground, not simply based on alarmist claims.

Check out Whalen’s post here and Schapiro’s riposte.

And, in case you were wondering phthalates make plastics soft and pliable and chewy for kids—the reason why a rubber ducky is so darn inviting.

Here’s a sample of the back-and-forth:

Whalen: Contrast the activist scare about phthalates with the scientific reality: there is no evidence whatsoever—not even a hint—of health problems from phthalates in any consumer products used by children or adults. That is the conclusion of esteemed scientists from the Food and Drug Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and universities around the world — and a blue ribbon panel on phthalates and health chaired by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. The issue has been addressed and studied extensively.

Schapiro: Dozens of studies of rodents and, increasingly, of humans have demonstrated precisely that: the evidence suggests strongly that phthalates disrupt the developing endocrine system of infant boys (at this stage, most of the research does focus on boys because phthalates affect production of the male sexual hormone, testosterone). A study published last week in the journal Pediatrics found evidence of phthalates in every one of the 163 infants under thirteen months that a team of scientists tested for the synthetic substance. Why does this matter? Studies in Denmark concluded in 2006 that high levels of phthalates in mother’s breast milk contributed to lower levels of testosterone production in their male offspring in the first three months of life.

After challenging Whalen’s claims, Schapiro has found a new foe in Trevor Butterworth, who offers a counter-argument Schapiro’s counter-argument here. Here’s a snippet:

But there’s a problem: if you are going to muckrake with science, you need to be able to refute scientific evidence which doesn’t agree with your hypothesis. That’s how science works. Posit a theory, find evidence (or find data and posit a theory), test that evidence and theory against everything else out there.

This, Shapiro doesn’t do. He takes only the evidence that supports his position and avoids addressing the problems with it, even though these problems are substantial.

OK, Mark, the squishy phthalate-soaked ball is in your court.

The kids dig it

Friday, September 29th, 2006

Gaia Girls, that is; and why wouldn’t they?

I have been thinking for a while now that what we need are Eco Heroes in literature and movies and lo and behold up pops the brand new Gaia Girls series from Lee Welles.


Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com