Health & Environmental Digest

Each summer I usually post tidbits of info on health and/or environmental issues as I come across them on the Internet, from solicitations, or from magazines I read. Here are some for July with their links.

American Farmland Trust (www.farmland.org) sent me a letter with some interesting info. The headline is: No Farms – No Food. A map of the USA shows how many acres of agricultural land has been converted to developed land. AFT  asks for support to protect our extraordinary resource of farmland.


The facts are that much of the food we eat comes from farms located near urban areas and we need to maintain this farmland. Here are the stats:

1) 91% of fruits, tree nuts & berries
2) 78% of Vegetables & melons8
3) 675 of Dairy
4) 54% of Poultry & Eggs
If you want to learn more about this Washington, D.C.based organization and how they help farmers stay on their land, expand funding for farmland conservation, work directly with struggling farmers and educated Americans about the importance of farmland, please visit their website.



From Health Magazine, April 2014 (www.health.com) is this tidbit:A good night’s rest is important for brain function. Sleep helps clear our brains. Also, research suggests that long bouts of poor sleep may lead to a gradual buildup of toxins that has been seen in patients with Alzheimer’s.



Plastic containers for food canbe unsafe. I found an old article on the topic & decided to update it. I went to www.care2.com/greenliving/which-platics-are-safe.html & found a listing. Here is the info. The site has many other informative articles & you can sign up for their articles. (I color coded them: green for very good, amber for caution or other suggestions and red for avoid)

1 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
Used to make soft drink, water, sports drink, ketchup, and salad dressing bottles, and peanut butter, pickle, jelly and jam jars.
GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.

(The older article I read noted that these bottles are good for single use, but after repeated use they can leach a hormone-disruptor, so I would heed this caveat. es)

2 High density polyethylene (HDPE)
Milk, water, and juice bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, cereal box liners, and grocery, trash, and retail bags.
GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.
(Ditto for the older article.)

3 Polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC)
Most cling-wrapped meats, cheeses, and other foods sold in delicatessens and groceries are wrapped in PVC.
BAD: To soften into its flexible form, manufacturers add “plasticizers” during production. Traces of these chemicals can leach out of PVC when in contact with foods. According to the National Institutes of Health, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), commonly found in PVC, is a suspected human carcinogen.

(The older article was very firm about this, noting that when PVC is manufactured or incinerated, a known carcinogen called dioxin is released. It suggests that plastic wrapped foods have the first layer sliced off & resealed in glass, wax paper, or #4 plastic bag (below) & also do not buy non-PVC plastic wrap.)

4 Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
Some bread and frozen food bags and squeezable bottles.
OK: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones, but not as widely recycled as #1 or #2.

5 Polypropylene (PP)
Some ketchup bottles and yogurt and margarine tubs.
OK: Hazardous during production, but not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. Not as widely recycled as #1 and #2.

6 Polystyrene (PS)
Foam insulation and also for hard applications (e.g. cups, some toys)
BAD: Benzene (material used in production) is a known human carcinogen. Butadiene and styrene (the basic building block of the plastic) are suspected carcinogens. Energy intensive and poor recycling.
(Earlier article also agrees that this is not a good plastic and can be found not only in styrofoam but also clear plastic takeout containers & plastic cutlery.)

7 Other (usually polycarbonate)
Baby bottles, microwave ovenware, eating utensils, plastic coating for metal cans
BAD: Made with biphenyl-A, a chemical invented in the 1930s in search for synthetic estrogens. A hormone disruptor simulates the action of estrogen when tested in human breast cancer studies. Can leach into food as product ages. (Earlier article also labels it negatively.)

Here’s the link to the article & website:
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/which-plastics-are-safe.html#ixzz362MhEBIB



In the March 2014 AARPBulletin/Real Possibilities, the article in Your Health lists 10 medical tests to avoid and why. See link below to this interesting article.
1. Nuclear stress tests and other imaging tests, after heart procedures
2. Yearly electrocardiogram or exercise stress test
3. PSA to screen for prostate cancer
4. PET scan to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
5. X-ray, CT scan or MRI for lower back pain
6. Yearly PAP tests
7. Bone density scan for women before age 65 and men before age 70
8. Follow-up ultrasounds for small ovarian cysts
9. Colonoscopy after age 75
10. Yearly physical
Here’s the link to the entire article: http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2014/choosing-wisely-medical-tests-to-avoid.html.






One Response to “Health & Environmental Digest”

  1. Mary-Lou Meyers Says:

    On the wall of the organic farmer we buy milk, cheese, and meat from is the sign: No Farms No Food.
    Since my husband was in the Plastic Extrusion business with Hercules, Exxon, Borden, and Amoco,
    he has advised us on what is safe and what is unsafe. At different stages, doctors advise us as to what tests we should be taking. I am supposed to take a Mammogram and a bone-density test determine bone loss, but I am hesitant to take either, having read material which questions the importance
    as well as the harmful radiation ensued. I am interested in the information pro and con

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