Friday, August 22, 2008

Bag the Bag

I found this interesting Editorial on The Hub, a news source out of New Jersey from Philip J. Scaduto. He talks about how a local ordiance for retailers to use compostable plastic bags could ruin recycling programs and says that this is faulty solution to a system that isn't even broken.


For every local policy popping up there is some dude that has a similar ridiculous argument. The bottom line is we don't need plastic bags. Europeans do ok bringing their own bags when shopping and many of the stores I visit in DC people are starting to bring their own bags to hold what they purchase. It's such a unnecessary item that is doing a whole lot of harm. I understand change in any part of our lives is difficult but really . .. don't these corporate executives have better things to do than to bash local policies that are trying to make a dent in our over-consuming society?

Borough asked to reconsider proposed plastic bag ordinance


(Letter to Red Bank mayor and Borough Council)

The Red Bank Borough Council has recently introduced an ordinance that eliminates the use of all plastic bags that are either not reusable or compostable, in all Red Bank retail establishments. For many years, our Foodtown stores have provided our customers exclusively with recyclable bags to demonstrate our commitment to the environment. Food Circus Super Markets recognizes the need for continued vigilance with recycling initiatives; however, we have serious concerns that we would like to have you consider before voting on this proposed ordinance.

As you are aware, Food Circus Super Markets has been a long supporter of recycling in all of our stores located in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean counties, long before it was fashionable to do so. For over a decade, our stores not only have been recycling plastic, but also took the next step in establishing a program to recycle and reuse our perishable waste as well. Through this long-established program, we have been able to partner with a local company to recycle this food waste into livestock/animal feed and fertilizer. Further, our commitment to recycling, in concert with the broader supermarket industry, has resulted not only in providing the means to recycle plastic shopping bags (from all retailers) from our customers, but also includes recycling of our own internal shrink wrap and clear film wrap from the vendors that service our stores. Virtually every supermarket in the state of New Jersey has a program such as ours that is designed to accept these items and get them to a secondary market that uses this material to make other products.

As part of our recycling program, Food Circus only distributes to our customers bags that are 100 percent recyclable. The bags that all of our supermarkets use can be recycled, along with the other plastic materials mentioned earlier, by the many recycling plants that convert these items into composite lumber, fencing and other needed consumer products. The proposed ordinance threatens this process by mandating that retailers only use compostable bags in the future. Compostable bags are unreliable in terms of strength, use three times more material and energy to manufacture, and are 10 times more expensive than recyclable bags. More importantly, however, they cannot be recycled or in any way comingled with recyclable plastics. The finetuned cycle of converting grocery bags into usable consumer products would be halted. In fact, if compostable bags enter the recycling stream, they will serve to contaminate the entire batch, rendering it unusable and stopping any progress we have made with our recycling efforts.

Compostable bags may also create an issue of confusion for the consumer. It will be difficult to convey the fact that these bags cannot be co-mingled with "normal" plastic bags, in terms of recycling, and must be separated. The proposed ordinance will not encourage more recycling or the use of fewer bags and may, in fact, hinder the current efforts being undertaken in the borough and the entire state.

While we understand and appreciate any effort to keep our environment clean for future generations, mandating the use of compostable bags seems to fix a problem that is not broken. Indeed, the state of New Jersey does not yet possess the infrastructure to properly dispose of compostable bags. If the bags cannot be composted as they were designed, they will end up clogging our landfills. By mandating the use of compostable bags, it will not solve the dilemma of having our landscape marred with unwanted litter. It will only force prices to rise, creating other hardship on an economy that is already troubled.

Food Circus Super Markets wishes to continue its tradition of being a good corporate citizen and welcomes new ideas and approaches to recycling. Just recently we partnered with the borough of Red Bank to fund and provide educational materials regarding the benefits of recycling to the fourth-grade classes in our schools, and also provided receptacles for the recycling of plastic bags to our youngsters. The program has been so successful, that the borough has just ordered five more receptacles for use in schools beginning in September.

Food Circus Super Markets along with the Azzolina and Scaduto families respects and understands the importance of this issue, but wishes to continue and explore ways in which we, as the largest retailer in Red Bank, can promote further recycling efforts with recyclable, rather than compostable bags. We believe the benefits of recyclable bags far outweigh the uncertainty, expense and disruption to broader recycling efforts presented by a compostable bag mandate. Further, we are aware of eight bills introduced in the state Legislature that seek to address some of the same recycling issues that have been presented before the council.

I ask you, based on the information outlined above, to reconsider this ordinance and allow our borough's recycling efforts to continue and expand with recyclable rather than compostable bags.

Philip J. Scaduto is vice president of Food Circus Super Markets Inc. based in Middletown

Thursday, August 21, 2008

BPA Mania

If you haven't had enough of the BPA controversy.

August 20, 2008

FDA Decision on BPA Outrages Health Advocates
Scientific studies ignored on bisphenol A evaluation

A broad spectrum of scientists, physicians, and children’s health advocates expressed outrage with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement that bisphenol A – the hormone disrupting chemical found in numerous consumer products including food can linings and plastic baby bottles – is “safe.” In laboratory studies, the pervasive chemical has been linked to obesity, developmental problems, diabetes, risk for heart attack, and several types of cancers including breast and prostate cancer.

“The FDA’s draft assessment relies on just two studies which were funded by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Dow Chemical, Bayer and other plastics manufacturers. Not only does this assessment ignore the dozens of other studies done by independent scientists which have found evidence of harm, but FDA’s conclusions are in direct conflict with two National Institutes of Health reviews and the actions of its counterpart in Canada,” says Dr. Sarah Janssen, a physician and scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“The chemical industry’s efforts to hide or misrepresent the hazards of their product have been so over the top that even Congress has felt the need to intervene,” said Dr. Jennifer Sass, a scientist with the NRDC. Congress is now scrutinizing the communications between the ACC and a PR firm called the Weinberg Group whose clients have included the alcohol and tobacco industries.

Laura N. Vandenberg, PhD of the Forsyth Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, The Forsyth Institute & Department of Developmental Biology, Harvard Medical School says, “ There is great concern in the scientific community over the FDA’s use of only two published studies, ignoring more than 100 that show effects of low dose exposure. While the FDA stated, “[W]e will continue to consider new research and information as they become available”, it is puzzling to observe this agency ignoring the wealth of studies already available.

The studies that the FDA are using for risk assessment purposes are industry-funded, use antiquated experimental techniques, and have significant scientific flaws. Meanwhile, the FDA has rejected the findings from government-funded researchers using state-of-the-art techniques and experimental designs that have been replicated in other labs, proving them to be valid. Scientists working on BPA are calling for an investigation into the decisions made by US and EU regulatory agencies, particularly because the Canadian Ministry of Health and Ministry of the Environment both recently declared BPA a toxic chemical and the US National Toxicology Program stated that exposure of human infants was in the range that caused harm in animal models.”

Earlier this year, Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) said, “There are serious health concerns about whether bisphenol A is safe, not only for adults, but for children and infants. The tactics apparently employed by the Weinberg Group raise serious questions about whether science is for sale at these consulting groups, and the effect this faulty science might have on the public health.”

Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA), senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee says, “The FDA assessment stands in stark contrast to dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers that have found real health risks associated with exposure to BPA. On issue after issue, the Bush Administration casts aside concerns about public health and consumer protection in favor of commercial interests that benefit corporate America. Over the past eight years, the Bush Administration’s mantra has been “In industry we trust.” Since the regulators are asleep at the wheel, I’ve introduced legislation to ban BPA in all food and beverage containers, and will continue to work to ensure that it is enacted into law.”

Union of Concerned Scientists conducted a poll with FDA scientists that indicated, in general, broad industry interference within the agency, and documented intimidation of scientists who may not have agreed with industry promoted decisions at the agency.

“The FDA is bowing to the chemical industry’s influence, and trying to convince the American public that this chemical is OK. There is clear and credible evidence, and more scientific studies, showing links to the very health effects we see on the rise today,” says Christopher Gavigan, executive director of Healthy Child, Healthy World.

Many observers are seeing parallels between the tobacco industry’s use of PR firms and hired experts to deceive the American public about harm from smoking and what is going on with the chemical industry today.

“The profits keep growing for Dow Chemical, General Electric, and other chemical and petrochemical companies in the American Chemistry Council,” says Mia Davis with the Workgroup for Safe Markets. “Our public health is of greater importance than the wealth of these corporations, and the FDA needs to recognize that.”

“Scientists, parents and public health advocates agree,” said Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy for the Breast Cancer Fund, “There is more than enough science to be concerned about exposure to even exquisitely small amounts of BPA.”

“It is unbelievable to me that thirty years after toxic contamination was causing harm to 900 families at Love Canal and both state and federal governments only acted after the community forced their hands, that we see today the same unacceptable inaction by our federal government. When will government learn to err on the side of caution instead of risk equations?” said Lois Gibbs, founder and executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.

"A baby bottle that contains chemicals which may cause obesity, developmental problems, diabetes or cancer is hardly 'safe,'" said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director of "When people buy products for their children, they expect those products to be free of cancer-causing agents and other toxins. For the FDA to undermine that belief by labeling as safe products containing chemicals that can cause serious damage to growing kids is unconscionable and a complete abdication of their responsibility to the American public."

“At the end of the day parents don’t want to have to do a research project to find safe products for their families,” states Lindsay Dahl from Minnesota based Healthy Legacy, “they expect and depend on government agencies like the FDA to err on the side of safety. For parents across the nation, this is truly disappointing.”

Available for Interviews

Sarah Janssen, MD, PhD, MPH is a science fellow in the Health and Environment program at Natural Resources Defense Council.

Jennifer Sass, PhD, senior scientist, Natural Resource Defense Council 202.289.6868

Laura N. Vandenberg, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Levin Lab, Forsyth Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology,
The Forsyth Institute & Department of Developmental Biology, Harvard Medical School Tel. (617) 892-8464

Anila Jacobs, MD, senior scientist with Environmental Working Group, to schedule an interview with Anila, contact Alex Formuzis (202) 939-9140

Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy for the Breast Cancer Fund to schedule an interview with Janet Nudelman, please contact Shannon Coughlin, 415.336.2246,

Mia Davis Co-Coordinator, Workgroup for Safe Markets 617.338.8131 ext 201

Kathleen A. Curtis, Policy Director, Clean New York, a project of Women's Voices for the Earth 518 6698282 (cell) 518 355.6202 (home office)

Sarah Uhl, Coordinator of the Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Connecticut 860.232.6232 (office) / 860.882.9950 (cell)

Jane Haley-Harris, Executive Director of the Oregon Center for Environmental Health; 503.233.1510;

Lindsay Dahl, Healthy Legacy Minnesota, 612.870.3458 ,

Christopher Gavigan, CEO / Executive Director, Healthy Child Healthy World 310. 820. 2030

Lois Gibbs, founder, Center for Health Environment and Justice. To schedule an interview with Lois, contact Dianna Wentz
703.237.2249, ext. 19 412.512.3208 (cell)

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director, For interviews contact Gretchen Wright 202. 371.1999


Union of Concerned Scientists FDA Scientists Survey

House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Dingell, Stupak Investigate American Chemistry Council

House Committee on Government Oversight Letters Regarding BPA

Baby’s Toxic Bottle Report

(Including BPA fact sheet)

Center for Health, Environment and Justice

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not You Too Cali-For-Nia!

It seems that whoever it is leading the chemical industry lobbying effort on BPA in California deserves a raise and voters should call in the truant officers.

California Assembly Rejects Two Bills on Chemical Bans

An avalanche of lobbying buried two bills in the Assembly on Monday that sought to ban controversial chemicals from fast food containers, microwave popcorn bags and baby bottles.

The measures, Senate Bill 1713 by Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, and Senate Bill 1313, by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, were the targets of large and well-heeled "working groups" of lobbyists employed by chemical companies, manufacturers and trade associations.

Corbett's bill sought to prohibit the use of perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, from food packaging. The compounds, which are used to prevent grease from leaking through bags and wrappers, have already been abandoned by some companies, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has called for a voluntary ban by 2015.

The bill needed 41 votes to be sent back to the Senate, but fell five votes short, with 11 members not voting.

Migden's bill would have banned the use of bisphenol A, or BPA, from containers for children less than 3 years of age, such as baby bottles and "sippie" cups.

It died on a 27-to-31 vote, with 22 abstentions. Both bills were granted reconsideration, a legislative term that means they are still on life support.

Proponents of both measures said there was enough evidence to suggest potential health hazards from the chemicals, and that the state should not wait for federal action.

Several legislators also objected to what they called heavy-handed efforts to pressure them to vote no.

Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis, held up a brochure that had been distributed in her district that depicted a full grocery bag and suggested none of the contents could be sold if the Migden bill passed.

"None of these would be eliminated from the marketplace," she said. "It is an extremely deceptive tactic, and I think ... we ought not to reward the American Chemical Council by rejecting this bill."

But legislators opposed to the measures, while acknowledging the lobbying effort had been annoying, contended the Legislature lacks the expertise to decide what chemicals are or aren't safe, and that the market was a better judge of what are acceptable levels of risk.

"Just because you have something that can be toxic doesn't make it toxic," said Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar.

Are You Ready?

Check out this Lou Dobbs segment that goes into the FDA's announcement last Friday that the American public should continue ingesting BPA while they continue studying it to see if there are any harmful health impacts. At one point he says, "So the FDA is not siding on the side of safety when it comes to BPA".

I'm sitting in my friends living room in Orlando. Faye is not very impressive right now.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Guess the Wal-Mart is Not The New FDA

The FDA released a little ditty of their own on Friday. In case you are unaware of who the FDA is. . . it's a . . . well . . .hmmm . . who does works there again? I keep forgetting.

FDA statement on 'their findings':

"During the week of April 14, 2008, upon the request of the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, FDA formed an agency-wide BPA (Bisphenol A) task force to facilitate cross-agency review of current research and new information on BPA for all FDA regulated products. As a result of this review, the task force will make recommendations to the Commissioner regarding next steps.

As part of the evaluation, the FDA Task Force is reviewing the concerns presented in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Draft Brief published on April 14, 2008 by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. We also are reviewing the concerns presented in the Canadian draft risk assessment released in April 2008 and are coordinating closely with Health Canada and the Canadian Ministry of the Environment and Minister of Health.
FDA has been reviewing the emerging literature on BPA on a continuous basis. For example, FDA has recently completed a review of the available biological fate data and two recently completed rodent multigeneration reproductive studies; these studies did not indicate a safety concern for BPA at current exposure levels. In addition, FDA is conducting a review of the data on neural and behavioral effects of BPA exposure.

Based on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects. However, we will continue to consider new research and information as they become available.

This position is consistent with two risk assessments for BPA conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food and the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Each of these documents considered the question of a possible low-dose effect and concluded that no current health risk exists for BPA at the current exposure level.

Message for Consumers
At this time, FDA is not recommending that anyone discontinue using products that contain BPA while we continue our risk assessment process. However, concerned consumers should know that several alternatives to polycarbonate baby bottles exist, including glass baby bottles."

The above statement comes after a tumultuous year for chemical lobbyists and shortly before the Californian legislature votes on banning Bisphenol A in baby bottles, sippy cups and other feeding devices for children three and younger. I think what the people who work at FDA are forgetting is that children are not small adults. They consume more calories and breathe more air per pound than grown adults do. Their bodies are still growing, they are just starting out and when they are exposed to chemicals even in small frequent doses their body is effected. Our country needs a comprehensive precautionary approach to releasing chemicals into our bodies and environment.

Here is a really interesting timeline of this SYNTHETIC ESTROGEN THAT IS USED IN BABY BOTTLES, in case you were curious.

Happy Sunday,
Renee Claire

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bad Editing or . . . Huh?

A colleague of mine sent me a link to an unedited version of the article I posted earlier today, "Wal Mart, The New FDA?". It seems that CNN is more of a money making machine than a journalism machine. After reading the article I posted earlier today, I couldn't stop thinking about it. On my bike racing through the terrorists scare in downtown DC (really . . . half the city's blocks were closed and road rage was out of control - this is dude in a truck was just screaming,no words, just screaming when he couldn't go on green quickly enough but that's a different post), in the bookstore when I kept getting text messages about the street closures, and sweating to the oldies at the gym, there was something really odd about that article. I kept doubting as to whether I understood it or not. Was he saying that consumer activism was bad for science? Was he saying that the chemical industry doesn't have enough power over the chemicals that they produce because environmentalist keep using the internet? Was he saying the internet is providing radical environmentalists with new ways to punish the free market? What the fuck was he saying?

Then I got this link.

And I realized he wasn't actually saying much of anything, because a whole bunch of industry lines had somehow fallen out of the ACC communications department and landed all over an article about an endocrine disruptor that is used in baby bottles. baby bottles. I'm sorry I don't think I mentioned that all this controversy is over a chemical that disrupts human endocrine systems and is used in products that hold infant formula. Just thought I'd mention that.

One thing is for sure, the edited version of the following article says a lot about how much power the chemical industry has in this country. How is it even possible that chemicals that is known to cause harm allowed in products that go into the mouths of children? I'm so confused right now how the people that work at these chemical companies think that is ok to argue against laws that protect their children's health. Because these aren't just 'companies', these are people who leave their families each morning and show up everyday to work in an office to make decisions on what chemicals get put into our computers, our shower curtains, and our children's car seats and they know that some of these chemicals are extremely toxic to their children's health. I'm sure some of the people that work in the chemical industry have children. And they know the effects of what they are doing. And they do it anyway. I'm just so confused.

Anyways, that went into a spiel I wasn't prepared for. The bottom line is here is the real article, not some weird version fit for . . . who knows what happened there, but read this one. And if you have a minute tell me why you think there are two very different versions of this article.

Renee Claire

How Wal-Mart Became the New FDA"
by Mark Gunther

The plastics industry is dealing with a nightmare these days when it comes to potentially toxic chemicals. Because so many people no longer trust big business or federal regulators to protect them and their health—perhaps with reason, perhaps not—companies are vulnerable to campaigns by activist groups, politicians and trial lawyers who want to get alleged dangerous toxics off the market. The latest example: Bisphenol-A, the chemical used in polycarbonate bottles, including baby bottles, and in the linings of aluminum cans and in many, many other products.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time—more than I’d intended to—looking into the controversy around BPA. The result is a column that was posted today on and The FORTUNE websites is also running a video in which I talk about the issue. Originally, I had hoped that my research into BPA would develop into a much longer story for FORTUNE but the piece never really came together, in part because I found myself conflicted over the safety issues. Also, to be honest, it became clear to me that I don’t have the depth of experience reporting on the FDA or on toxic chemicals to write a definitive FORTUNE story about BPA.

Having said that, I’ve come to the conclusion that the BPA story is, in essence, about trust. It’s another bit of evidence to support my argument that it makes business sense in the long run for companies to be responsible and prudent, even if that costs them money today; regaining trust, once it’s been lost, is both terribly difficult and expensive. It also strikes me that industries that try to weaken government regulation or plant their own people inside regulatory agencies run the risk of getting burned in the end. That’s because when we lost trust in our regulators—as we seem to have lost faith in the FDA—we are left with mob rule, as manufacturers and retailers (i.e., Wal-Mart) come under pressure to stop making and selling perfectly legal products. Strong and predictable regulation, it seems to me, is better for business as well as for the rest of us than the chaos now surrounding BPA.

So feel free to look at the column which is a much abbreviated version of a longer draft that I will post below. Here’s how it begins:

How, exactly, did Wal-Mart become the new Food and Drug Administration?

The giant retailer, along with CVS and Toys ‘R Us, announced recently that it plans to stop selling baby bottles containing the chemical bisphenol-A.

The question is, why? Bisphenol-A has been widely used since the 1950s. The Food and Drug Administration, as well as Japanese and European regulators, have no problems with it. Canada is about to ban it from baby bottles, but officials term the move purely precautionary

And here, for those who want to know more, is my full story:

When did Wal-Mart become the new FDA?

The giant retailer, along with CVS and Toys ‘R Us, says it will stop selling baby bottles containing a controversial chemical called bisphenol-A. The California state Senate has voted to prohibit the use of BPA in children’s products. Nalgene, which makes water jugs, is phasing out BPA, too. And powerful Congressmen want BPA removed from cans of infant formula.

The question is, why? The FDA says bisphenol-A is perfectly safe. So do Japanese and European regulators, who tend to be more cautious. Even the government of Canada, which plans to ban the chemical from baby bottles, recently assured its citizens that this was done “as a precautionary measure.”

BPA, you should know, is everywhere. The chemical is used to make polycarbonate, a rigid, clear plastic used in bottles, bike helmets, CDs, DVDs and automobile headlights. It’s also used to make epoxy resins, which are used as coatings in food and drink cans as well as dental sealants. You’re probably carrying around some BPA right now: About 93% of Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control had the chemical in their urine. About 6 billion pounds of chemical were made last year.

The trouble is, numerous studies of laboratory animals have linked small doses of BPA to breast cancers, prostate cancer, brain abnormalities and reproductive health problems. Other scientists argue that the chemical, which has been widely used since the 1950s, is perfectly safe. The fact is, there’s a good deal of scientific uncertainty about bisphenol-A. That’s not surprising, because we rely on animal studies to predict the effects of chemicals on humans, and extrapolating from mice to you and me isn’t easy.

But this story isn’t fundamentally about science. It’s about the politics of BPA. More broadly, it’s about how we, as a society, make decisions about health and safety, at a time when we no longer trust the government or industry to protect us. Because we’ve lost faith in those big institutions, battles over a slew of products and processes—genetically modified foods, the irradiation of meat, or phthalates in cosmetics or children’s toys—are being fought in the court of public opinion, for better or worse.

In the case of BPA, the market for hard-plastic baby and sport bottles collapsed suddenly this spring because of a hard-hitting campaign against the chemical by activist groups, concerned scientists, politicians, and trial lawyers. They spread fears about BPA that eventually convinced nervous retailers to turn away from children’s products containing the chemical. As an expert in crisis PR noted, wryly, “Wal-Mart is the new FDA.”

For companies that make chemicals or use them in consumer products, this is a real worry. It’s a whole lot easier to frighten people than it is to reassure them, especially when talking about kids. “The science can’t compete with the emotion,” says Steve Hentges, a chemist and a lobbyist with the American Chemistry Council, an industry group that lately has been on the losing end of the BPA battles.

If the most determined opponents of BPA get their way and drive the chemical out of the food supply, consumers will pay the costs. Some BPA-free plastic bottles sell for $10 each, more than twice the price of bottles with BPA. Baby bottles made of glass can break, potentially causing injury. Replacing BPA in the lining of aluminum cans would mean retooling all that packaging, and it’s not clear that there are safe alternatives.

Those costs are worth paying to protect our health, environmentalist say. They argue that if government regulators can’t or won’t do the job of regulating potentially toxic chemicals, then it makes perfect sense for advocacy groups, politicians, an aggressive media and even Wal-Mart to step in.

“The federal regulatory system for chemicals is broken,” declares Richard Liroff, the executive director of the Investor Environmental Health Network, a nonprofit that works with companies on issues of toxics. “We have largely incapacitated the government to make the kinds of decisions that we ought to be able to look to government to make. So there’s a lot to be said for having big companies slice through the knot and say we have to make decisions for our good, for our customers’ good and for the good of society.”

If nothing else, the BPA battles underscores how rapidly markets can by reshaped by activist campaigns and consumer sentiments, both magnified by the Internet. A handful of companies emerged as winners this spring: Whole Foods Market, which pulled BPA baby bottles and cups off its shelves several years ago; Eastman Chemical, which introduced a plastic alternative called Triton last year; and Born Free, a private company started in 2006 specifically to provide BPA-free baby bottles. Others, including SABIC Innovative Plastics, which was formerly the plastics division of GE and is now the U.S.’s biggest manufacturer of BPA, presumably saw sales decline. (SABIC declined to comment on the financial impact.) Baby-bottle makers including Avent America, Evenflo and Gerber Products are now being sued because they sold products made with BPA.

This spring’s BPA battles were fought like a political campaign, complete with catchy soundbites, press releases, personal attacks, and warring websites. One prominent and controversial crusader is Dr. Frederick vom Saal, who has been researching BPA for more than a decade. Vom Saal has testified before state legislatures and appeared on such TV programs as PBS’s Frontline and ABC’s 20/20 to denounce BPA in terms that gloss over scientific uncertainty. Referring to the fact that BPA is a mild estrogen, he says things like “the idea that you’re using sex hormones to make plastic is just totally insane.”

Vom Saal has contempt for the chemical industry. He accuses a Dow Chemical executive of trying to bribe him, a charge the company strongly denies. “The willingness to be dishonest seems to be the criteria for these people being hired and representing the chemical industry,” vom Saal says.

The chemical industry, in turn, wants to discredit vom Saal. One industry source showed FORTUNE a video news release produced by Born Free, which makes BPA-free baby products, in which vom Saal warns of the dangers of BPA. “We know it causes breast cancer and prostate cancer when exposure occurs in early life,” he declares. He also consulted with the New York-based law firm of Robert Weiss, which has filed three class action lawsuits against baby bottle manufacturers, according to the firm’s website.

Asked about this, vom Saal says he has not taken any money from any company or law firm, although he may testify as an expert witness, as many academics do, if the class-action suits against BPA go to trial. He notes—accurately—that it was only after lawyers brought civil actions against the tobacco industry and asbestos makers that we learned the full truth about the dangers of their products, and how the industries failed to protect the public health.

If vom Saal were the only scientist warning about the dangers of BPA, he could be marginalized. But dozens more are sounding alarms. Sarah Janssen, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a medical doctor with who a master’s in public health and a PhD in reproductive biology. She won’t let her 10-month-old daughter be exposed to BPA through baby bottles, sippy cups or infant formula. “For peace of mind,” she says. “really what we need is a comprehensive ban.”

Fenton Communications, a Washington, D.C. PR firm, is another key warrior against BPA. Fenton’s clients have included Born Free and its BPA-free bottles; an activist group called the Environmental Working Group that has led the fight against BPA for years; and trial lawyers. Fenton also works for liberal advocacy groups like MoveOn that support Democrats in Congress—New York Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, among others—who have sponsored legislation to ban BPA from children’s products..

Sometimes these groups appear to work in concert. Last year, the Environmental Working Group tested canned foods for BPA and found that “many Americans are exposed to BPA above levels shown to be harmful in laboratory studies.” This year, a congressional investigation led by Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak asked manufacturers of infant formula (including Hain-Celestial Group Inc., Mead Johnson & Company, Nestle USA, Abbott and Wyeth Nutrition) to provide information on their use of BPA in the lining of cans. The companies said the linings did contain BPA (as everyone knew by then) and that the cans were safe to use. Nevertheless, Dingell and Stupak subsequently asked the infant formula companies to voluntarily remove BPA from their cans. They declined. All this generated headlines—and worry.

The chemical industry has tried to get its message out, too. See the websites and , which come up at the top of Google’s search offerings to offer a defense of BPA. But the industry is often depicted as a “special interest group,” while environmentalists and politicians are seen as serving the “public interest.” It isn’t that simple, of course. Controversy helps the green groups raise money, Democratic politicians look for ways to find fault with the Bush administration. And the trial lawyers sense a big payday.

The problem for the chemical industry is that its track record doesn’t inspire confidence. The Dingell-Stupak investigation of BPA looked at what the congressmen call “science for sale,” and uncovered embarrassing documents. One target: The Weinberg Group, a Washington, D.C., consulting firm that has made a business out of defending products that are under attack. (Its clients included the American Chemistry Council.) In a 2003 letter to DuPont, a Weinberg consultant wrote that, “We will harness … the scientific and intellectual capacity of our company with one goal in mind – creating the outcome our client desires.” Needless to say, this is not how science is supposed to work.

David Michaels is a George Washington University professor and the author of new book called Doubt is Their Product, about the misuse of science by industry. Corporate efforts to manipulate science and avoid regulation are now backfiring, he argues, because all science funded by industry has come under a cloud. “The work of mercenary scientists hurts the credibility of all scientists,” Michaels says.

This became a key element of the attack on BPA. When an FDA executive told Congress that the agency had relied on two industry-funded studies in its analysis of BPA, Dingell pounced. “This raises serious concerns about whether the science FDA relied on to approve the use of Bisphenol A was bought and paid for by industry,” he said. The problem is, the FDA does not have the money to conduct independent studies of the thousands of chemicals on the market. It has to rely on industry research. “It’s industry that’s required to do the testing, and then FDA reviews that,” says Hentges, of the chemistry industry group.

In April, all the news had turned bad for BPA. Media reports stoked fears. “There is no safe level of BPA,” declared Dr. Nancy Snyderman, an NBC medical reporter, on the Today show. (Maybe NBC is the new FDA?) The Canadian government recommended its ban on baby bottles with BPA. A lengthy draft report from the National Toxicology Program, a federal body that is part of the National Institutes of Health, found “some concern” about the effect of BPA on fetuses, infants and children at current exposure levels and concluded that “the possibility that bisphenol A may alter human development cannot be dismissed.” The NTP report (available at ) is a model of clarity in the sea of uncertainty surrounding BPA. But it is too long and nuanced to be appreciated in the court of public opinion, where the BPA battle is being fought.

In the space of a few days, Wal-Mart, Toy ‘R Us and CVS said they will phase out baby bottles containing BPA. Nalgen and Playtex also said they will stop using the chemical.

I emailed Wal-Mart to ask why the company is removing a legal product, which may or may not be dangerous, from its shelves, while continuing to sell other products, like cigarettes, which are incontrovertibly harmful. Linda Brown Blakley, a company spokeswoman, replied: “We sell products our customers want to buy. Our customers are telling us they want this option.”

Now that the retailers have agreed to take baby bottles with BPA off their shelves, you can be sure they will come under pressure to get rid of infant formula cans lined with the chemical. Will cans of soup, soda and beer be next?

And is this any way to make judgments about public health?

“The market can’t solve this problem,” says David Michaels, the professor who has written extensively about science and regulation. (His website is “Wal-Mart and Target may stop selling the products, but I’ll bet you that the Dollar Store will keep selling them, just as they sold tainted toys from China.”

Hentges, the industry lobbyist, says: “You want qualified scientists making these decisions.” Well, sure, but qualified scientists disagree about BPA.

There’s an irony here. Traditionally, industries have opposed strong regulation. They don’t want the government looking over their shoulder or telling them what products they can and cannot sell. The BPA saga might be a reason for companies to rethink that position—because, at least in this case, the fact that the government regulators are perceived as weak or under-funded or too friendly to industry has helped create the nightmare the chemical industry is now living.

An August Miracle

This little press release just pinged in my inbox.

President Signs Phthalate Ban into Law
Major milestone reached for children’s health and for chemical regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Bush signed a federal bill today that bans six toxic phthalates from children’s products. His signature bolsters Congress’ overwhelming support for this legislation, and sends a clear message that toxic chemicals have no place in toys.

The phthalate ban, a provision of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act, will protect children from these harmful plastic-softening chemicals which are linked to breast cancer, decreased sperm counts, birth defects and other health problems. Advocates see this legislation as a first step toward broader chemical policy reform. “Congress got a glimpse into how chemicals are regulated in this country and saw how broken the system is,” said Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy for the Breast Cancer Fund. “The phthalate ban is only the tip of the iceberg of what’s needed to protect Americans from unsafe chemical exposures.”

The Breast Cancer Fund led a national coalition of parents, health care professionals and environmental health advocates that convinced Congress to pass the phthalate ban, despite aggressive lobbying by the chemical industry. “This is a David and Goliath victory,” said Nudelman. “Public health advocates and parents were up against big oil and the chemical industry, and we won. This should serve as a wake-up call to industry: chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects have no place in consumer products.”

Key legislators heeded parents’ and advocates’ concerns and brought the issue into the legislative arena. Champions include Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who authored the original Senate amendment on phthalates, as well as Sen. Barbara Boxer and Reps. Henry Waxman, Jan Schakowsky and Diana DeGette, who strongly advocated for the ban among their Congressional colleagues.

This legislative action is a direct response to a growing movement of parents, scientists and advocates who are raising concerns about unsafe chemicals in consumer products. Months before Congress took action, retailers and manufacturers including Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, Lego, Evenflo and Gerber responded to consumer outcry by announcing plans to phase out phthalates in toys. In the past year, California, Washington and Vermont restricted phthalate use in children’s products.

“Public awareness is at an all-time high,” said Nudelman. “Consumers are saying that the products we buy must be safe, period. The phthalate ban is a great start, and an indication that Congress is ready to consider the kind of sweeping chemical policy reform that is needed.”

When You Get What You Want

I found this CNN article about the impacts of all those BPA-free campaigns. BPA - Bisphenol A, the estrogen mimicing chemical that until recently was used in baby bottles and Nalgenes. Well . . I guess technically the chemical is still found in those things but companies have made promised to eliminate it shortly and states are discussing bans as recently as today in California and Canada already banned it.

The article is titled "Wal Mart, The New FDA", which I find incredibly interesting. Isn't a free market what the chemical industry wants? I mean Wal Mart was not forced to eliminate baby bottles containing BPA from its shelves it did it out of consumer pressure or at least the threat of organized consumer pressure. And now that ability is being blasted because . . . hmmm. I think the main point is that when the market or our government doesn't have our best interest at heart people notice and they stand up and demand better.

Well interesting read nonetheless. It's from July, so you might have already seen it though.

Wal-Mart: the new FDA
A chemical used in plastic baby bottles is being driven off retailers' shelves not by regulators, but by advocacy groups, politicians and giant retailers.

By Marc Gunther, senior writer
JULY 16, 2008: 10:25 AM EDT

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- How, exactly, did Wal-Mart become the new Food and Drug Administration?

The giant retailer, along with CVS (CVS, Fortune 500) and Toys 'R Us, announced recently that it plans to stop selling baby bottles containing the chemical bisphenol-A.

The question is, why? Bisphenol-A has been widely used since the 1950s. The Food and Drug Administration, as well as Japanese and European regulators, have no problems with it. Canada is about to ban it from baby bottles, but officials term the move purely precautionary.

To be sure, other scientists worry because animal studies have linked small doses of BPA to cancer and other health problems. But scientific debate isn't driving the baby bottle war; a hard-hitting push by activist groups, politicians and trial lawyers is.

As traditional media picked up the story in the spring, spooked retailers like Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) backed away from BPA, while companies that had done so earlier scored a PR coup that boosted their fortunes.

One could argue, as BPA opponents do, that the government is too slow to take action to protect health, so private action by consumers and companies is necessary. Or one could argue, as does Steve Hentges, a chemist and industry lobbyist that "the science can't compete with the emotion."

What's inarguable, though, is how rapidly markets can by reshaped today by an activist campaign that catches fire online. The Environmental Working Group and the authors of the book Our Stolen Future have used the Internet to sound alarms about bisphenol-A. The Bisphenol-A Free portal keeps a running tally of bad news reports. Bloggers at and pound away at the chemical industry.

Got BPA?
BPA is everywhere, used to make polycarbonate, a rigid, clear plastic for bottles, bike helmets, DVDs and car headlights. It's also an ingredient in epoxy resins, which coat the inside of food and drink cans. About 93% of Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control had the chemical in their urine.

If opponents drive BPA out of the food supply, consumers will pay. Some BPA-free plastic bottles sell for $10 each, more than twice the price of bottles with BPA. Baby bottles made of glass can break, potentially causing injury. Replacing BPA in the lining of cans would mean retooling all that packaging, and it's not clear that there are safe alternatives.

A handful of companies emerged as winners this spring when the BPA story got big: Whole Foods Market (WFMI, Fortune 500), which pulled BPA baby bottles and cups off its shelves several years ago; Eastman Chemical (EMN, Fortune 500), which introduced a plastic alternative called Triton last year; and Born Free, a private company started in 2006 specifically to provide BPA-free baby bottles.

Others, including SABIC Innovative Plastics, which was formerly the plastics division of GE and is now the U.S.'s biggest manufacturer of BPA, presumably suffered. (SABIC declined to comment on the financial impact.) Baby-bottle makers including Avent America, Evenflo and Gerber Products are now being sued because they sold products made with BPA.

The BPA battles were fought like a political campaign, with catchy soundbites, press releases, personal attacks, and warring Web sites. The anti-BPA general is Dr. Frederick vom Saal. He has testified before state legislatures and appeared on TV to denounce BPA in terms that gloss over the scientific uncertainty. Referring to the fact that BPA is a mild estrogen, he says things like "the idea that you're using sex hormones to make plastic is just totally insane."

Vom Saal isn't the only scientist warning about BPA. Dozens of others are active in trying to ban it. But Vom Saal is the most visible and the most vitriolic. He accuses a Dow Chemical (DOW, Fortune 500) executive of trying to bribe him, a charge the company strongly denies.

The industry, in turn, has gone after vom Saal, noting that he has appeared in a video news release produced by Born Free, which makes BPA-free baby products. He also consulted with a New York law that's suing baby bottle manufacturers. Vom Saal says he has not taken any money from a company or law firm.

Fenton Communications, a Washington, D.C. PR firm, is another key warrior against BPA. Fenton's clients have included Born Free and its BPA-free bottles; the Environmental Working Group , which has led the fight against BPA for years; and trial lawyers. Fenton also works for liberal advocacy groups like MoveOn that support Democrats in Congress who have sponsored legislation to ban BPA from children's products.

Sometimes these groups appear to be working in concert. Last year, the Environmental Working Group tested canned foods and found that "many Americans are exposed to BPA above levels shown to be harmful in laboratory studies."

This year, a congressional investigation led by Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak asked manufacturers of infant formula to remove BPA from their cans. They declined. All this generated headlines - and worry.

Science for sale
The chemical industry has tried to get its message out, too. See the Web sites and , which offer a defense of BPA. But the industry is often depicted as a "special interest group," while environmentalists and politicians are seen as serving the "public interest."

It isn't that simple, of course. Controversy helps the enviros raise money, Democratic politicians love to find fault with the Bush administration. And the trial lawyers sense a big payday.

The problem for the chemical industry is that its track record doesn't exactly inspire confidence. The Dingell-Stupak investigation of BPA looked at what the congressmen call "science for sale," finding examples of consultants promising clients how research would turn out. Needless to say, this is not how science is supposed to work.

This became a key element of the attack on BPA. Dingell has said he's concerned about whether "the science FDA relied on to approve the use of Bisphenol A was bought and paid for by industry."

But, as Dingell must know, the FDA typically uses industry research because it doesn't have the money to conduct independent studies of the thousands of chemicals on the market. It then reviews what industry produces.

By April, all the news had turned bad for BPA. "There is no safe level of BPA," declared Dr. Nancy Snyderman, an NBC medical reporter, on the Today show. (Maybe NBC is the new FDA?) The Canadian government recommended its ban on baby bottles with BPA.

A lengthy draft report from a part of the National Institutes of Health found "some concern" about the effect of BPA on fetuses, infants and children at current exposure levels. The NTP report is a model of thoroughness and nuance. Naturally, that makes it a flop in the court of public opinion.

With fear in the air, in the space of a few days Wal-Mart, Toy 'R Us, CVS and others said they will phase out baby bottles containing BPA. Nalgene, a water bottle maker, and Playtex also said they will stop using the chemical.

I asked Wal-Mart why the company is removing a legal product, which may or may not be dangerous, while continuing to sell cigarettes, which are incontrovertibly harmful. "We sell products our customers want to buy," responded spokeswoman Linda Brown Blakley. "Our customers are telling us they want this option."

That won't end the war. You can expect to see anti-BPA forces keep up the pressure. Will soup, soda and beer cans be next?

And is this any way to make judgments about public health?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Secret Life of Paper

This is a super cute video from INFORM. I work with them often on green cleaning issues. They are helping countless k-12 schools switch from toxic cleaning products and practices to more environmentally friendly products.

I like this video because it talks a lot about life cycle. It isn't just about what we bring into our homes, it is also about what chemicals are used during the production of the product, and where it goes after we throw it away. I recently read this blog by a soon to be mom and she listed so much amazing information that she had found while searching for things for the new baby and then in the end talked about how overwhelming all this information is. It is. Overwhelming. There are so many things to think about when making responsible decisions. I make mistakes often. I use paper towels to dry my hands a lot. It would be pretty simple for me to carry around a little hanky. And if I stitched it up with some skull and cross bones I think it would be super cute too. (Weekend project, maybe. I do want to get back into knitting, why not add silkscreening to that)

I'm not saying that all the new 'stuff' that comes out from these big corporations don't make our life easier, they do. I'm a single girl living in a city and I commute (by public transport) for over two hours each day. I try to work out a couple times a week and read some books and by the time I try to hang out with some friends over a beer I'm pretty exhausted and usually can't do much else but fall asleep to a movie. So when it comes to making things as simple and easy as possible I'm all for it.Oh yeah and I'm pretty lazy too. But like everyone else I have that stupid nagging knowing that a lot of things that are made to make our lives simpler are just causing havoc on this little planet of ours. And why not take it down a notch and enjoy what we've got going on here. Visit the farmers markets, check out the local community gardens. Rush, faster, hurry up is how we are living our lives and its sort of poisoning us. Those anti-bacterial hand crappy things are totally unnecessary. soap and water way better. But we think because we need to get where we are going faster than we use to get there that we need stuff like that. But we don't. ohh man . . I totally just sounded like some Southern California yoga bookstore owner. bblllaaahhh.

Anyways, the bottom line is that we don't need all the stuff we buy all the time and with this debt and housing mess our dear beloved President has left us (have you seen those pictures of him in Bejing yet . . awesome!) we can't afford it anyway.

In this video I like how at the end it says, "come on people stop buying so much useless unnecessary shit!" or something of the sort I can't seem to recall the exact wording at the moment.

Happy Wednesday!

Renee Claire
(One Tough Cookie)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How You Know You've Almost Won

There are a couple rules to community organizing that you need to remind yourself of on a regular basis. One is that the walls that you find in your path blocking you from what you want are for everyone else. They are for the people that don't want to win badly enough, they aren't for you. Two when the opposition starts changing the rules on you, they are scared, really scared that you are about to win. These two rules are the hardest things to remember when you are the heat of a battle with the school board over siting an elementary school on contaminated land, the city council about closing down a medical waste incinerator, or listing a species as endangered because their habitat is being melted by the likes of ExxonMobile et al.

Guess what parting gift the Bush Clan wants to leave behind . . . no i'm talking about an irresponsible war or record breaking debt . . .

Bush Could Weaken Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Parts of the Endangered Species Act may soon be extinct.
An adult male Florida panther growls as he enters his new home at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida.

An adult male Florida panther growls as he enters his new home at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida.
more photos »

The Bush administration wants federal agencies to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm endangered animals and plants.

New regulations, which don't require the approval of Congress, would reduce the mandatory, independent reviews government scientists have been performing for 35 years, according to a draft first obtained by The Associated Press.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said late Monday the changes were needed to ensure that the Endangered Species Act would not be used as a "back door" to regulate the gases blamed for global warming. In May, the polar bear became the first species declared as threatened because of climate change. Warming temperatures are expected to melt the sea ice the bear depends on for survival.

The draft rules would bar federal agencies from assessing the emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats.

"We need to focus our efforts where they will do the most good," Kempthorne said in a news conference organized quickly after AP reported details of the proposal. "It is important to use our time and resources to protect the most vulnerable species. It is not possible to draw a link between greenhouse gas emissions and distant observations of impacts on species."

If approved, the changes would represent the biggest overhaul of the Endangered Species Act since 1986. They would accomplish through regulations what conservative Republicans have been unable to achieve in Congress: ending some environmental reviews that developers and other federal agencies blame for delays and cost increases on many projects.

The changes would apply to any project a federal agency would fund, build or authorize that might harm endangered wildlife and their habitat. Government wildlife experts currently perform tens of thousands of such reviews each year. See how the Endangered Species Act works today »

"If adopted, these changes would seriously weaken the safety net of habitat protections that we have relied upon to protect and recover endangered fish, wildlife and plants for the past 35 years," said John Kostyack, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Conservation and Global Warming initiative. Photo See photos of endangered animals »

Under current law, federal agencies must consult with experts at the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine whether a project is likely to jeopardize any endangered species or to damage habitat, even if no harm seems likely. This initial review usually results in accommodations that better protect the 1,353 animals and plants in the United States listed as threatened or endangered and determines whether a more formal analysis is warranted.

The Interior Department said such consultations are no longer necessary because federal agencies have developed expertise to review their own construction and development projects, according to the 30-page draft obtained by the AP.

"We believe federal action agencies will err on the side of caution in making these determinations," the proposal said.

The director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, H. Dale Hall, said the changes would help focus expertise on "where we know we don't have a negative effect on the species but where the agency is vulnerable if we don't complete a consultation."

Responding to questions about the process, Hall said, "We will not do anything that leaves the public out of this process."

The new rules were expected to be formally proposed immediately, officials said. They would be subject to a 60-day public comment period before being finalized by the Interior Department, giving the administration enough time to impose them before November's presidential election. A new administration could freeze any pending regulations or reverse them, a process that could take months. Congress could also overturn the rules through legislation, but that could take even longer.

The proposal was drafted largely by attorneys in the general counsel's offices of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Interior Department, according to an official with the National Marine Fisheries Service, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan hadn't yet been circulated publicly. The two agencies' experts were not consulted until last week, the official said.

Between 1998 and 2002, the Fish and Wildlife Service conducted 300,000 consultations. The National Marine Fisheries Service, which evaluates projects affecting marine species, conducts about 1,300 reviews each year.

The reviews have helped safeguard protected species such as bald eagles, Florida panthers and whooping cranes. A federal government handbook from 1998 described the consultations as "some of the most valuable and powerful tools to conserve listed species."

In recent years, however, some federal agencies and private developers have complained that the process results in delays and increased construction costs.

"We have always had concerns with respect to the need for streamlining and making it a more efficient process," said Joe Nelson, a lawyer for the National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition, a trade group for home builders and the paper and farming industry.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, called the proposed changes illegal.

"This proposed regulation is another in a continuing stream of proposals to repeal our landmark environmental laws through the back door," she said. "If this proposed regulation had been in place, it would have undermined our ability to protect the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the gray whale."

The Bush administration and Congress have attempted with mixed success to change the law.

In 2003, the administration imposed similar rules that would have allowed agencies to approve new pesticides and projects to reduce wildfire risks without asking the opinion of government scientists about whether threatened or endangered species and habitats might be affected. The pesticide rule was later overturned in court. The Interior Department, along with the Forest Service, is currently being sued over the rule governing wildfire prevention.

In 2005, the House passed a bill that would have made similar changes to the Endangered Species Act, but the bill died in the Senate.

The sponsor of that bill, then-House Resources chairman Richard Pombo, R-California, told the AP Monday that allowing agencies to judge for themselves the effects of a project will not harm species or habitat.

"There is no way they can rubber stamp everything because they will end up in court for every decision," he said.

But internal reviews by the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that about half the unilateral evaluations by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management that determined wildfire prevention projects were unlikely to harm protected species were not legally or scientifically valid.

Those had been permitted under the 2003 rule changes.

"This is the fox guarding the hen house. The interests of agencies will outweigh species protection interests," said Eric Glitzenstein, the attorney representing environmental groups in the lawsuit over the wildfire prevention regulations. "What they are talking about doing is eviscerating the Endangered Species Act."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


If this isn't telling about what's going on on Planet Earth, this is a little section on that same article page as an extra you can also read about says it pretty loudly:

Don't Miss

* Report: Nearly half world's primates face extinction
* In Depth: Planet in peril

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I love you American Chemistry Council

just kidding!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Industry fights effort to ban chemical in baby products

State official, scientist criticize a chemical-industry backed campaign to keep potentially dangerous baby products on the market.


A chemical industry-backed lobbying group has mounted a statewide campaign to convince Californians that a potentially dangerous compound found in baby products and canned goods is safe, and warns that if efforts to ban it are successful, "going to a grocery store may never be the same."

State officials and scientists say the ads are misleading and designed to scare consumers into keeping products that could harm children on the market.

The campaign, paid for by industry trade group the American Chemistry Council, urges voters to voice opposition to a Senate bill that would outlaw the chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), in products made for young kids.

Dozens of independent scientific studies have suggested that the chemical could cause everything from cancer to reproductive and behavioral problems, although others have found products containing BPA to be safe.

Mailers and ads appearing in newspapers across the state depict an empty grocery cart in the desert and warn that if BPA is banned, canned food and beverages might be vulnerable to spoilage or contamination. Food products, the ads say, could disappear from grocery store shelves even though "rigorous scientific reviews" conclude the products are safe.

"Maybe that's why no other state in the country bans BPA," the ads say.
But experts say that pitch is misleading in several respects.

The bill wouldn't regulate the majority of food found on grocery store shelves. It only restricts BPA in products for kids ages 3 and younger, such as formula cans, sippy cups, baby bottles and glass jars of baby food, said Tracy Fairchild, a spokeswoman for the bill's sponsor Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco.

"It's designed to deceive consumers" Fairchild said. "This is toxic to the political process. It's fine to oppose, but you have to tell the truth."

The ads also imply the chemical is widely considered safe, even though U.S. agencies disagree about its potential dangers, this year a dozen U.S. states considered BPA-related legislation and in April, Canadian regulators declared it would be deemed a
"dangerous substance," according to news reports.

A representative for the chemical council, which represents 137 chemical producers nationwide, said the bill's language was vague and and could result in the ban extending to all canned food because three year olds often eat the same foods as adults.

"We do believe that the bill could potentially affect a wide range of products," said Steve Hentges, director of the ACC's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group. "And it could extend quite a bit beyond that to containers and serving dishes -- anything used to feed a child."

Hentges also defended the chemical's safety and said that studies that have found dangers have "no consistent repeatable findings."

BPA is at the heart of a multi-billion dollar industry and is most commonly used as a building block of plastic products such as water and baby bottles and coatings that line food containers. Some seven billion pounds are manufactured each year, according to experts and news reports.

Potential dangers of the chemical were first identified more than a decade ago by Frederick vom Saal, a reproductive scientist at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Since then, more than 100 studies into the compound's effects have been conducted by university and government scientists.

In April, the Washington Post reviewed 116 studies from 1997 through 2005 and found that, of those funded by the government, about 90 percent showed a health effect linked to BPA, while none of the industry-funded studies found an effect.

Scientists such as vom Saal, the nation's leading BPA researcher, have linked the chemical to a host of ailments in lab animals, including breast and prostate cancer, brain and liver damage, obesity and diabetes. They believe the chemical could cause similar harm in humans, and that children are most vulnerable.

In the past year, a National Institutes of Health panel, The National Toxicology Program and Canada's top drug and chemical regulatory agency have all issued reports expressing concerns about the chemical's safety. Wal-Mart and Toys 'R Us already have taken steps to pull products containing BPA from their shelves.

The Food and Drug Administration continues to deem the compound safe for use in food and medical products, but has dispatched a task force to review the research that suggests otherwise. The FDA largely relied on two studies funded by an industry trade group to determine that BPA is safe, the Washington Post reported.

The FDA declined to comment for this story but provided a transcript from its testimony about BPA before congress in June: "Although our review of the NTP (National Toxicology Program) reports is continuing, a large body of available evidence indicates that food contact materials containing BPA currently on the market are safe, and that exposure levels to BPA from these materials, including exposure to infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects."
Last month, the European Union Food Safety Authority reaffirmed a previous opinion that products containing BPA are safe.

While no other state bans the substance, some 30 bills relating to BPA were considered in 12 states. Most would either phase out or prohibit the chemical in children's products, according to a legislative analysis of the proposed ban. Hentges said that proposals in all but two of those states – California and New Jersey – have either died or been voted down.

So far in 2008, the ACC has spent more than $2.2 million lobbying the government on behalf of the chemical industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Hentges said the group spends considerable money funding million-dollar studies into BPA, which he says are accurate and consistently prove products containing BPA are safe.

Hentges did not know how much the group has spent on its campaign against SB 1713, which included print ads (including a full-page ad in the Orange County Register), direct mailers, pre-recorded phone calls and radio ads. The purpose, he said, is to inform consumers about what could happen if the product is banned. Without the coating in canned products, the metal could corrode. No product exists, he says, that's as effective at protecting the food.

"If you're going to replace them, you have to find something that works, and that's not so easy because you have a wide range of food types and cans," Hentges said. "There really is potential for products to leave the shelf. There is no good alternative right now. Not that will work across the board."

Vom Saal said Friday that the notion that alternatives to BPA don't exist is "blatantly false." An analysis of the bill says that Japanese companies use a BPA-free product (polyethylene terephthalate) to line cans and identifies one U.S. company that uses a BPA-free coating when canning beans.

"This kind of stuff just drives people in science crazy," he said. "(Scientists) live in a world where if you don't tell the truth, you're excommunicated. From the tobacco industry on down, corporations figure that anything they do to protect their profits is O.K."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I Know Let's Test Pesticides on Babies!

I should totally write headlines for the National Enquirer, except the one I just wrote was uttered in someone's brain over at the EPA a couple years ago.

The CHEERS study, Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, was set to start up in 2004. An abstract attached to the second notice of the study was released by the EPA in March of 2004 and stated the following:

"The US EPA's Office of Research and Development's National Exposure Research Laboratory (ORD/NERL) proposes to conduct a two-year longitudinal field measurement study of young children's (aged 0 to 3 years) potential exposures to current-use pesticides and selected phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethes, and perfluorinated compounds that may be found in residential environments. The study will be conducted in Duval County, Jacksonville, Florida over a two-year period from 2004-2006. Sixty young children will be recruited into this study in two cohorts: (1) infants recruited into the study soon after birth, and , (2) children recruited into the study at approximately 12 months of age. The study involves up to six data collection events at each home during the two-year study period. During each event, environmental and biological samples will be collected to measure chemical concentrations and questionnaires will be administered to collect data that will be used to estimate aggregate exposures and to analyze the measurement data. Aggregate exposures will be estimated for the current-use pesticides and selected phthalates in the study. The data collected on the polybrominated diphenyl ethers and the perfluorinated compounds will be used to evaluate the potential magnitude for exposure and to determine the temporal and spatial variability of these chemicals in residences. The study will collect data to fill critical gaps in our understanding of very young children's exposure to chemicals in their residences. The study will help the Agency reduce uncertainty in exposure and risk assessments for children by providing data on exposure factors and validated tools for estimating children's expsure to contaminants, as well as providing much needed measurement data for model refinement. The exposure factors generated in this study will be included in the National Center for Environmental Assessment's (NCEA) Child Specific Exposure Factors Handbook. Additionally, the information will apear in the form of final EPA reports, journal articles, and will also be made publicly available in an electronic database for use by the scientific community, risk assessors, and risk managers."

Oh . . . and the poor families that were going to be asked to participate would receive just under $1000.

I keep getting the feeling that I must have skipped school the day a whole bunch of people in our country were taught about all the good things that come when you target low income minority communities in order to "collect data to fill critical gaps in our understanding of very young children's exposure to chemicals". I have a feeling it was the same class where extremely insecure men learned to beat their wives and girlfriends.

Anyways, to make a long story short everyone found out about this little study and a whole bunch of people organized themselves around this issue and shut this shit down. So that's the end of that.

Yeah right . . . come on people. This is America! We love creating chemicals, releasing them into our bodies and environment and seeing what happens. I mean it's not like they were going to hose down those babies with "current-use pesticides and selected phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethes, and perfluorinated compounds". They were just going to observe as they played in them. Since so there was nothing wrong with the study, why end it forever? Oh oh I know just keep it on the down low for about . . . ummmm . . . four years, because as we know better than almost any other group of people on the planet four years is just long enough for us to forget everything.

Guess what I'm going to write now? Go on . . take a guess.

"EPA is moving cautiously to launch a new study to observe the effects of children exposed to pesticides and other chemicals to replace the ill-fated Children's Health Environmental Exposure Research Study (CHEERS), which then-acting Administrator Stephen Johnson canceled in 2005 amid widespread ethical concerns" or so says an article written by Maria Hegstad and released on August 5, 2008 in the Risk Policy Report.

But don't worry the EPA has learned their lesson, they're outsourcing this one! Yea to outsourcing! I mean if big corporations aren't held responsible for the human rights and environmental justice violations in their product's chain of custody then the EPA can't be held responsible for what whoever is awarded the grant to run the re-born CHEERS study does.

Here . . . even I get tired of my own sarcasm. Read the article yourself:

Risk Policy Report
August 5, 2008

EPA Steps Gingerly To Launch New Study Exposing Children To Chemicals

EPA is moving cautiously to launch a new study to observe the effects of children exposed to pesticides and other chemicals to replace the ill-fated Children's Health Environmental Exposure Research Study (CHEERS), which then-acting Administrator Stephen Johnson canceled in 2005 amid widespread ethical concerns.

The agency late last month closed its application period for a new study to observe the effects of common household chemicals like antibacterials and disinfectants on children and toddlers. The new study, Observational Studies to Characterize the Determinants of Exposure to Chemicals in the Environment for Early-Lifestage Age Groups, is slated to begin next year.
Unlike the CHEERS study, the new study will not be performed by EPA researchers. Instead, the agency is offering a $2.5 million grant for outside scientists to design and perform the study, according to the grant notice EPA posted on the Internet earlier this year. The notice is available on

EPA "is seeking applications proposing an observational exposure measurement study to identify and characterize the determinants of exposure for early lifestages (i.e., very young children under three years of age) to chemicals in their environment," according to the grant notice. "Very young children represent an important lifestage that may be more vulnerable to chemicals in the environment because they are physiologically and behaviorally different from adults." It is thought that children may be more exposed to household chemicals in part because they mouth objects and crawl and play on floors.

Limited information about how children are exposed to household chemicals creates uncertainty in agency risk assessments, says a source with EPA's National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL). The observational study is intended to reduce that uncertainty, "improve exposure and risk assessments and to develop better exposure mitigation strategies," according to the grant notice.

Industry officials say they support such research because it could lead to assessments of lower risks than those calculated with more-conservative default parameters that may overestimate risk. "As an industry we support these types of studies and believe that data generated and based on sound science and transparent methodologies will continue to show the safety of these highly regulated products," says a spokeswoman with CropLife America, a trade association for agricultural companies.
EPA planned to begin CHEERS in November 2004 to collect information on children's "activity patterns" and measure their exposure to household pesticides to improve the accuracy of agency risk assessments. The agency was to pay 60 Jacksonville, FL-area families nearly $1,000 for involvement in the two-year-long exposure study (Risk Policy Report, Nov. 30, 2004).
Controversy over ethical questions relating to the study design led EPA to delay the study until April 2005, when then-acting administrator Johnson canceled it. His announcement came less than a day after Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) vowed to delay his confirmation until he halted the study (Risk Policy Report, April 12, 2005).

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an environmental group representing government employees, also attacked CHEERS four years ago. PEER launched a campaign to stop the study, focusing on three concerns in the study design: its payments to families for participation; lack of provisions to intervene if study children exhibited developmental problems or had particularly high exposure levels in their urine; and lack of requirements that participants use safe application and storage methods for chemicals in their homes.

While the new study has "similar" goals to CHEERS, it will be very different, says the NERL source, because "it is up to the applicants to develop the approach for how to collect the information." EPA designed CHEERS, which was intended to be a two-year-long study with repeated measurements. EPA also identified a community to perform CHEERS in and an approach for doing do, the source says.

"The study goals are similar, but it's up to the applicant to design the study and identify the community in which it would be performed," the source says. "It's highly unlikely it would be similar to the design of CHEERS." Since CHEERS cancellation, EPA published a document outlining ethical approaches for human observational studies (Risk Policy Report, April 15). The source notes that the grant notice "requests the applicant use that" in designing the study.
The new study design will be vetted by a specially-selected review board comprised of at least two non-EPA reviewers and one

EPA reviewer and the agency's Human Subjects Research Review Official before research begins, the source says. These precautions are not new to the agency since CHEERS, and have always been agency policy, the source says. "We want the study to be of the highest scientific quality and meet the highest ethical standards," the source says.

The research team selected to perform the new study must address some of these concerns, among others, according to the grant notice. The notice specifies that researchers must address "scientific and ethical considerations" including but not limited to "recruitment, retention, participant compensation, third-party issues, researcher-participant interactions, researcher-community interactions, communications, interventions and education."

A former member of EPA's Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee who reviewed the grant notice says it "looks like improvements have been made since CHEERS," though the source thinks it is "too soon to say" if the new study will "suffer the same controversy" that CHEERS faced. The source praises the notice for addressing many of the ethical concerns raised in the controversy over CHEERS.

"The way [the notice] is written, it looks good to me. It isn't going to allow something to come in that isn't ethical," the source says. "But it's all in the implementation. That to me is where issues may arise."

The new study will be "performed to collect data on chemical exposures under 'real-world' conditions (i.e., in the environments that people occupy while they go about their normal activities) and do not involve additional exposures to the chemicals being studied due to participation in the study," according to the grant notice. "The data collected in observational studies enhance public health by reducing uncertainties in exposure and risk assessments and by providing information that can be used to develop risk mitigation strategies and methods." The new study will be funded only by EPA, a contrast from CHEERS, which was to receive more than $2 million from the industry group American Chemistry Council -- another source of concern for PEER. The group charged that pesticide companies wanted to know children's exposure levels force EPA to drop its requirements of additional protections for small children from pesticide exposures.

EPA will fund the new study and will award it as a cooperative grant, meaning EPA researchers will collaborate with the award recipient. The agency is putting the research question out for a grant because of its limited funding for research, the NERL source says. "In a study of this size we are looking for collaborators with existing cohorts already working in existing communities," the source says, adding that experienced academic or non-profit groups would be ideal. "Obviously we are looking for the experts in the field to do this."

EPA recently extended the deadline for grant applications from July 15 to Sept. 3, to give academic responders a better chance to apply, the source says. -- Maria Hegstad


Maybe one day the chemical industry will use a comprehensive precautionary approach in their R & D and sales departments. And maybe one day our government will stand up for our children and make them. Because I might be a little naive but don't you think it's a better plan to not ever release chemicals that could be harmful to our babies instead of using tax payer money to conduct a study that lets them play around in chemicals and then just wait and see what the consequences are?

Renee Claire

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Lessons From Love Canal

Lois Gibbs just wrote an op-ed in the NY Daily News. Here it is.

The lessons of Love Canal lost unless Superfund is fixed


Thursday, August 7th 2008, 4:00 AM

Thirty years ago Thursday, President Jimmy Carter declared Love Canal a federal disaster area. The decision came after the discovery that the Niagara Falls neighborhood was built on top of 20,000 tons of toxic waste that had been dumped by a chemical company.

The Love Canal contamination tragedy is very personal to me. In 1978 I was living there with my husband and two children when I began to wonder whether the kids' recurring illnesses were connected to the chemical waste. Research conducted by myself and several of my neighbors, coupled with our complaints, eventually led the New York State health commissioner to declare a state of emergency and close the area's 99th Street School (where my son Michael attended). That was followed by the evacuations of mothers and children under the age of 2.

Then, Carter stepped in and the federal government was ordered to provide funds to relocate more than 200 families living within the first two rings of homes encircling the Love Canal toxic waste site.

As one of those living beyond the first two rings of homes, I was told my family was not at risk. As if toxic chemicals which had leaked from their "protective" drums into my son's schoolyard could never cross the streets into our own yards.

I remember the feelings of disgust and anger and fear when I learned that this toxic reality was likely the cause of my son's illness. I remember the looks on the faces of my neighbors as I went door to door and learned that they, too, had children with rare health issues or had lost a child over something so preventable, so cruel and unthinkable.

That was in 1978, and sometimes a colleague or someone in the media will now ask me when I am going to "let Love Canal go?" After I shake my head in disbelief, I tell the person that no mother could ever let go of something that threatened her children and the children of those living around her. Worse, even today children continue to be at risk to toxic chemical threats simply by living in communities and attending schools that are located within 1 mile of a site considered toxic by the EPA.

What good mother could let that go?

All these years after the tragedy that happened at Love Canal, the creation of the Federal Superfund cleanup program is in jeopardy. Superfund - started by Carter in 1980 - makes polluting companies and industries pay to clean up their mess. A tax on toxic chemicals that are found in contaminated sites creates the trust fund, which grew to $1.6 billion at one point.

My neighbors and I were relieved that the government had finally taken responsibility for protecting people and land from toxic pollution. The source of the program's funding, "polluters pay fees" was the most important aspect of this legislation. It held the polluters accountable, and was a major victory for communities fighting toxic and chemical threats everywhere.

But in 1996, Congress chose not to renew the polluters pay principle. This means the trust fund dried up of polluters' fees in 2003.

So who foots the bill now? You guessed it. Taxpayers, not polluters. I always told my children, "you make the mess, you clean it up." The rules should not be different for companies who bring toxic or chemical threats into the communities where our children play and attend school. How can Congress side with the companies who cause toxic contamination instead of the people threatened by that very contamination?

Now, the responsibility falls entirely on the taxpayers, to the tune of $1.2 billion. Something smells funny and it's not just the toxic odors. We need to make sure Congress makes the polluters, not the taxpayers, pay for the Love Canals of today.

Let Love Canal go? Never. I continue the battle for all of our children. For me this journey started at Love Canal. And I need everyone to continue on this journey with me.

Gibbs is founder and director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice ( She lives in Falls Church, Va.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Guess I Didn't

This is the boy's response to my email last night. Not perfect but not bad for a guy that was president of his fraternity and hung a picture of Ronald Reagen in his house throughout college. . . . God that still makes me angry. As you can see he has always been much more conservative than me and so he shows much more restraint in the type of changes I think we are all capable of. I guess that's why I'm the one who works full time on this stuff and not him.


It helped, I'll check out that website tonight when I get back from the forest. I knew basically what your opinion is, but thanks for the details.

Here's what I think. We have had shitty leadership in Washington for over thirty years and we got hooked on cheap oil in the in term. We consume roughly 25% of the world's oil while only having 4% of the population. Everything in our economy is based on oil (fertilizers, cars, plastics . . .) It is impossible to go through the day without using or touching something that was made with the use of oil.

Our generation knows better and is starting to demand the change that our elected officials can't ignore. However it is impossible to quit oil cold turkey. It is too interwoven into the fabric of our society. We need to make alternative products cheaper. I buy all natural cleaning product for the most part. But, for most Americans they are cost prohibitive. If you can afford the green alternative in cleaning products they are usually packaged in PET bottles which almost defeats the purpose (I know they are really close to developing a bio-plastic, but new technology is too expensive without government support).

I am all about the hydrogen fuel cell car now. I think that is the way of the future. It would be too expensive to bring it to market now. That's the reason I like the natural gas idea. Most current cars can be converted to natural gas for a nominal fee, and most automobile companies have an affordable vehicle powered by natural gas. The most important consideration is if Americans can afford the technology it can force the infrastructure to change. Natural gas burns 2/3 cleaner than oil so its a step in the right direction, and the delivery system is very similar to what will be required for hydrogen making an easier transition in the future. The bonus is that it is American which would create jobs here and help the economy to put money into the things we need to. Our biggest goal should be to consume as much oil as relative to our population of the world. 21 million barrels a day down to 3.5 million a day.

My problems with Mr. Pickens Plan is that he does not simultaneously attack coal. If we built ten solar power plants in the desert that ten square miles each that can drastically reduce the use of coal. Nuclear (I'm going to take a leap and say you are not a fan) is a a clean burning stronger alternative albeit while creating waste. I'd gladly trade our 50% dependence on coal to 70% on nuclear. I'm not a fan of the waste, but nuclear cold fusion will be developed in our lifetime which produces no waste. And, I am assuming that it would be possible to convert a traditional nuke plant into cold fussion.

Change is hard. Corporations and government hate change as much as people do. The "oil" companies and car companies need to lead because without them change will be extremely hard. The oil companies need to have a broader look and be more focused on becoming energy providers rather than oil providers. There is stark contrast is the commercials of BP and Exxon Mobil. BP is trying to show that they are diversifinyg to win over the public where Exxon Mobil is saying there is plenty of oil and with technology we will be able to get to it.

The most exciting thing about all of this that it seems that the majority of Americans are taking note of this issue and care enough to change the current situation. I agree with you on the chemicals and all of the processed food we eat, but I think most people are more concerned about the energy issue and do not know enough about the other.

Know after my rant - do you know where the wedding is, by that I mean what hotel?

off like a prom dress!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Did I Say Too Much?

A good friend of mine from high school just sent me an email that was one sentence. "What do you think of T. Boone Pickens energy plan?" I've known him since he was 14, we rode the bus together but I don't remember him. He knows I can't keep my mouth shut about stuff like this.

So I replied with this:

I think that decreasing our overall dependence on oil is extremely important. Alternative technology is here and it can provide jobs and help our economy and mitigate the impacts of climate change. There are alternatives to all products that we have that use petroleum but industry has more money to sell their stuff and to pay off our politicians. I think we are on the verge of collaps as a species and a planet. Humans are increasingly unable to reproduce because of chemical poisoning and the next generation is going to be even worse off. Girls are born with all of their eggs and then covered in chemicals by the products they buy, the food they ingest, and the contaminated places they play - these acute exposures are deforming their eggs for life, which means that eventually we will not be able to reproduce as a species. We need policies that are found on the precautionary principle so that we stop destroying our bodies and our planet, instead of waiting to see how harmful things are. I think we need to invest our economy in these safer alternatives now. I'm not a huge fan of natural gas, we don't have time to be taking small steps. We need large scale change today. And I don't mean we need to increase our fucking recycling. Thinking of conservation in the terms of recycling is doing more harm than good. We need to reduce our overall consumption. Stop buying shit and start looking at the entire life cycle of things we purchase. What happens at the plant to both the people who make the product and the land surrounding the facility? Is there PVC in it? Is there chemical off-gassing when it is your home? Are you increasingly getting new allergies? Is it a one time use product? Do you throw it away? Where does the trash go to? How does it breakdown in the earth? Are the additives chemicals (because some chemicals that make up products are brushed off by simply touching it and are in reality simply additive compounds) coming off on your hands, your parents hands, your pets, your children, in the landfills? Are there chemicals in the products that can seep into the water system? After we throw our products away are we then drinking the chemicals that were used to produce it?

I think energy plans need to be looked at as the brother to chemical regulation. Coal fired energy facilities are not only increasing our green house gases and melting our ice caps but they are poisoning our children and destroying communities. When the next Katrina hits how many medical incinerators will be busted up and poison every community around it? What will happen to superfund sites and schools that are built on top of hazardous waste dumps? We must acknowledge that we exist in a eco-system and that everything we do effects everything else that exists. Increased jelly fish population in the oceans, decreased bee populations are all related to the things we purchase, the one time use paper towels, the easy to use but completely unnecessary plastic water bottles. We are quickly passing the point where you carry around a safe fish list in your pocket and take the recycling to the curb each week.

ummm . . i can go into physical impacts of particular chemicals if you want but i need to finish some other stuff before i leave for the day.

did that help?

and have you seen this website?

Earlier in the day I apologized to an ex-boyfriend about my childish behavior when I was 26 . . . out of nowhere. What's going on with me? Maybe it's the new yoga routine I started, I think it's making me say too much.

I plan to remain silent for the rest of the day,
Renee Claire