The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: Toxicity

October 20, 2010

What Do You Think About Stonyfield Farm’s New PLA Yogurt Cups?

In the same week that Pepsico pulled its SunChips compostable PLA package off grocery store shelves, Stonyfield Farm announced its new PLA yogurt cups. And while I pretty much dissed the SunChips bag in my post last week, I am feeling a little warmer towards Stonyfield’s effort. Not hot. Not warm and fuzzy. But while I think there are better options, I have to concede that the new yogurt cup is a step in the right direction, and I’ll tell you why. (Of course I’ll tell you why. That’s the purpose of this blog.)

Prepare yourself for a long post.  There’s a lot of information here, but I think it’s all important.  So get yourself a snack and settle in.

PLA vs. Polystyrene

Stonyfield’s new yogurt cups replace the multipack cups that were previously made from polystyrene. That’s right. While their larger sized and single-serving containers are made from #5 polypropylene plastic and can be returned for… Read the rest

July 29, 2010

The Story of a Headache

Flying home from Maryland on Saturday, I sat next to a really cute guy. Unfortunately, the plane was completely full, so I couldn’t switch seats to get away from him. Well, not him. He was cute. But his Axe cologne, or whatever heinous product he was wearing, made my eyes water, nose itch, throat close up, and left me with a throbbing headache.

I reached for a handkerchief to cover my nose, but sadly my very helpful dad had tossed in a Bounce dryer sheet when he did my laundry, and my hanky just made me sneeze even more.

While on vacation, I caught a nasty cold/flu, which I can deal with because my body will fight it off.  But the body doesn’t fight off the effects of environmental chemicals the way it does an infection.  Instead, it becomes more and more sensitized with repeated exposure to allergens. In fact, I just recently noticed my nose itching from Michael’s stick deodorant that he has used for years. How can I get away from the onslaught… Read the rest

June 11, 2010

Toxic Food Packaging Labels

This post is about toxic adhesives used to apply labels to food packaging and whether or not those chemicals can migrate into our foods. But it’s also a convoluted story about the foul odor emanating from the general direction of my dishwasher.

Stinky Dishwasher Smell

If you’re my Facebook friend, you may be waiting impatiently to hear the conclusion to the following status update:

Our kitchen smells like dead animal ass. Literally. We’ve searched for weeks to find the source of the smell. Today, I’m pretty sure it’s the Seventh Generation dishwasher powder we switched to. Is that possible? The dishwasher’s running now, and the smell is definitely coming from there. I stuck my nose in the [detergent] box, a…n…d it’s not good. Anyone else noticed this or am I crazy?

Yes, this is the type of tasteful, articulate status update you can except from me if you choose to be my Facebook friend. And… Read the rest

March 23, 2010

Get the Antibacterials Out… Of Your Plastic!

Many of us have seen hand soaps and household cleaners that contain antibacterial chemicals like Triclosan. But did you know many plastic food containers do too?

What’s wrong with antibacterials?

All this germ phobia is actually compromising the immune systems of growing children who need to be exposed to a certain amount of germs in order for their bodies to learn how to fight them off. Antibacterials not only kill the germs that make us sick, but also the good bacteria that help to fight off the bad. These additives don’t actually kill all the bacteria. Just the weaker ones. So in this way, we are actually developing strains of superbugs that are increasingly resistant to the chemicals we use to fight them off. Triclosan is actually a suspected hormone-disruptor.  Not a great chemical to have in our homes — for our health as well as that of the planet.

What about our plastic containers?

So many of us are opting for natural cleaners… Read the rest

March 5, 2010

Chemical Antimony Found In Plastic Bottles of Fruit Juice

Most of us know and are concerned about avoiding the “bad” plastics.  Especially when it comes to our food.  Polycarbonate, PVC, Polystyrene.   But until recently, many people have considered PET, Polyethylene Terephthalate (#1 plastic, the type of plastic that water and juice bottles are made from) to be safe.  And while there have been studies suggesting that the chemical antimony can leach from disposable water bottles, especially when exposed to sunlight, heat, and rough treatment, no one had studied other beverages.

Antimony Found In 16 Popular Brands of Fruit Juice

According to a statement released on March 1 from the Royal Society of Chemistry,  42 different juices were tested across 16 brands, and found concentrations of antimony up to a factor of 2.7 above the EU limit for drinking water.  Scientist Claus Hansen speculates that the citric acid in these drinks could act as an extractant, causing more leaching from fruit… Read the rest

February 26, 2009

Antimony – Another reason to avoid bottled water… and polar fleece?

Bottled water sucks. Aside from the moral issue of privatizing what should be a public trust, the plastic containers are made from oil, a non-renewable resource, and last virtually forever in the environment. We know this. We know about the waste from plastic water bottles and the fuel that it takes to ship them. We know we should be drinking tap water and filling up our reusable bottles if we want it to go.

But some of us, taking the REDUCE, REUSE mantra to heart, refill those disposable plastic water or soda bottles instead of using a non-plastic container. It’s one way to keep plastic out of the landfill, right? True, but it might not be the healthiest idea.

Last night, Martin from the Plasticless blog posted a video demonstrating how to boil water in a plastic bottle (the typical #1 PET disposable bottle) and wondered if this practice was safe. He, like most of us, had heard that heating food in plastic is a no-no, yet he had stumbled upon instructions… Read the rest

February 20, 2009

House Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning, & Kid-Safe Chemicals

HOUSE CLEANING

I don’t think our toilet was this clean when we first moved in to our apartment. I personally have scrubbed and scrubbed with a brush and been unable to remove the mineral stains. Not that I’m a great housekeeper. I’m not. In fact, I suck. And Michael does his best, but you know, we just have other priorities. So Monday, to celebrate President’s Day, we had our place cleaned from top to bottom by the eco-friendly members of Natural Home Cleaning Professionals.

I say “members” because Natural Home Cleaning is a worker-owned cooperative whose goal is to support families to be economically self-sufficient. The company serves the San Francisco East Bay from Southern Richmond to Fremont. Workers are trained in natural cleaning techniques, encouraged to start with the least toxic products (like vinegar and water) and slowly work up to stronger products as needed. The strongest cleaner used is … Read the rest

October 31, 2007

Broken CFLs – a Scary Halloween Story

Happy Halloween. After reading nearly twenty articles this past month on how to “green” your Halloween, Michael and I have decided to skip it altogether this year and opt for a nice Ethiopian dinner out with friends. That solves our problem of finding plastic-free Halloween treats to hand out. None. Of course, if you were hoping I’d post my solutions for a plastic-free Halloween, I’ve let us all down! Oh well… there’s always next year. Feel free to post your own solutions to the Halloween greed-fest in the comments. In the meantime, continuing with the global warming/energy conservation theme this week, and needing to provide a little Halloween scare, I thought I’d share some information I just discovered.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we had bought a package of Phillips CFLs from Costco (in the days when we weren’t being careful about plastic) and had such a hard time getting them out of the … Read the rest

July 27, 2007

What’s Wrong with Plastic, Anyway?

Why avoid plastic?  I originally wrote this post in July 2007, just one month into my plastic-free experiment.  It’s now May 2015, and in the past 8 years, I have learned a lot more about plastic — where it comes from and what problems are associated with it.  Here, then, is an updated summary of why I am still living plastic-free after all these years.

1) Plastic from fossil fuels

According to the U.S. Energy Energy Information Administration, “plastics are made from liquid petroleum gases (LPG), natural gas liquids (NGL), and natural gas. LPG are by-products of petroleum refining, and NGL are removed from natural gas before it enters transmission pipelines.”  In 2010, about 191 million barrels of LPG and NGL and 412 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas were used in the United States to make plastic products.

And as we know, oil and gas are non-renewable resources, which means that if we don’t find alternatives… Read the rest