Hinterland Green

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Obama Administration Refuses To Clamp Down On Cow Burps

Cow burps, a big contributor to global warming -- bigger than coal mines, landfills and sewage treatment plants -- is being omitted from efforts by the Obama administration and House Democrats to limit greenhouse emissions. I know, many people didn't give this a second thought, but it's a big issue. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, belching from the nation's 170 million cattle, sheep and pigs produces about one-quarter of the methane released in the United States each year. That's a big deal because they are the largest source of heat-trapping gas.
In part because of an adept farm lobby campaign that equates government regulation with a cow tax, the gas that farm animals pass is exempt from legislation being considered by Congress to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA under President Barack Obama has said it has no plans to regulate the gas, even though the agency recently included methane among six greenhouse gases it believes are endangering human health and welfare.

The message circulating in Internet chat rooms, the halls of Congress and farm co-ops had America's farms facing financial ruin if the EPA required them to purchase air-pollution permits like power plants and factories do. The cost of those permits amounted to a cow tax, farm groups argued. Source: The Huffington Post
The Administration and House Democratic leaders have tried to assure farm groups that they have no intention of regulating cows. That's a big mistake. You can't just pick and choose which contributors to greenhouse gas emissions you regulate. They should all be regulated for the good of everyone.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Green Bedding a Mystery that's About to be Uncovered by The Specialty Sleep Association's Green Initiative

The notion of green bedding did not occur to me until I read a recent article by The Specialty Sleep Association, which is currently working through its new Green Initiative to standardize the manner in which mattress manufacturers and retailers define green, organic, and natural products. Nearly 40 bedding industry leaders from companies like Sealy, Simmons, Serta, Tempurpedic, Foamex, Hickory Springs, Cargill, Nutura World, OMI and Anatomic Global agreed during a recent meeting in Bonita Springs, Fl., that the industry needs a common set of definitions to reduce consume confusion about the environmental benefits of bedding products. While a green mattress might seem like a pretty pricey investment, there's no doubt that we spend a huge amount of time in bed. The fact is, we spend a third of our lives in bed, so being ecologically responsible is paramount, but the notion of "green bedding" has remained a mystery that may be about to change.

The ultimate goals of the SSA, while still being formalized by the participants, include the creation of a standard certification program based on established standards and definitions for terms such as green, natural, all-natural, and organic. In the mean time, there are several important things to look for in a green bedding. Planet Green's guide to buying a green mattress is also a great resource. Here are some tips, as excerpted from Treehugger :

Make sure there are no phthalates.
Phthalates, which can be found in the covering of some mattresses, have been linked to health problems. They have already been banned in mattresses designed for use by children in California. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), phthalates are harmful platicizer chemicals commonly found in crib mattresses and mattress pads. The group of chemicals are known to affect a child's developing endocrine (hormonal) system, and may cause asthma, allergies, or even cancer.

Watch out for PBDEs.
A conscious green consumer should also watch out for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), especially in crib beds. This harmful fire retardant has been found to cause immune suppression, endocrine disruption, behavioral problems, and cancer. A federal law enacted in 1973 requires all mattresses to meet certain guidelines designed to prevent cigarette-ignition, so most conventional mattresses are treated with toxic fire-retardant chemicals that pose significant potential health risks.

Avoid polyurethane foam.
Polyurethane foam is made from petroleum and can emit volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.'s). These compounds have been linked to respiratory irritation and other health problems, according to both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Disney Co. Accused of Polluting Groundwater with Hexavalent Chromium and Other Toxic Chemicals

LOS ANGELES (CN) -- Disney contaminated groundwater with hexavalent chromium and other toxic chemicals, including trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, an environmental group claims in Superior Court.

Environmental World Watch and homeowner Dennis Jackson say Disney has used poisonous hexavalent chromium in its air conditioners since 1988. They say Disney has dumped air cooling water and the chemicals into curbside drains every day for the past 21 years.

The plaintiffs say they discovered the problem when the City of Burbank proposed building a new sewer system on an 11-acre parcel - called the Polliwog parcel - next to Disney's Imagineering building. Jackson says the chemicals contaminated his property. The plaintiffs want damages and penalties. C. Brooks Cutter filed the lawsuit.