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I received this warning in an email (see below) and decided to do a google search to see what the science was behind the note.

RE: Bottled Water – don’t buy any bottled water which is piled up in the sun at grocery stores, such as Save-On-Foods who love to pile their bottled water up in front of the store where the sun beats on it all day long. The sun on the plastic causes the plastic to release dioxins into the water – that’s poison – (same stuff they use at pulp mills, etc.) Bottled water should be kept in a cool, shaded area at all times. So don’t buy bottled water that has been exposed to the sun or heat. Please pass this on.

Possible hoax

What I first found was a freezing bottle water hoax, and the following clear statement: “This is an urban legend. There are no dioxins in plastics.” If there are no dioxins in plastics there are no dioxins to be released by heat or other means.

Other problematic chemicals

However what can be released by heat are phthalates:

… there is another group of chemicals, (phthalates) that are sometimes added to plastics to make them flexible and less brittle. These environmental contaminants can exhibit hormone-like behavior by acting as endocrine disruptors in humans and animals. If you heat up plastics, you could increase the leaching of phthalates from the containers into water and food.

So the warning seems appropriate. However how much heat must be applied before this happens is not mentioned.

Searching a bit more I also found a recent study by William Shotyk, a Canadian scientist who warned that another chemical by the name of antimony (amongst others)is released in the water just by sitting in the bottle over time.

The research, by a Canadian scientist now working in Germany, involved 132 brands of bottled water from 28 countries produced in containers made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. About 20 brands came from Canada. In a paper to be published early next year, William Shotyk of the University of Heidelberg found that the concentration of certain chemicals, such as antimony, increases the longer the water sits in the plastic bottle. Shotyk’s study measured concentrations for a period of up to six months.

Moreover, it seems not only chemicals are problematic but microbial contamination:

Clarke and other water activists are quick to point to the NRDC report. This four-year study tested more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of bottled water and concluded that “about one-third of the waters tested contained levels of contamination – including synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic,” and that bottled water “is not necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water.”

Government studies versus industry studies

Further traces of plastic are reported by a Virginia Education Gastro-nutrition newsletter. They talk about BPAs or bisphenol A which that has been linked to chromosomal abnormalities in mice. Studies about the migration of BPA to food and drink show differences when contrasting industry and government studies. The latter show significant effects, while industry continue to report “trace amounts, not attributable to a health risk” therefore still inconclusive. Industry has much to lose when they have become a multibillion dollar industry:

According to the Canadian Bottled Water Association, Canada sucked up 1.9 billion litres from bottles in 2005, the industry gathering $653-million in revenue, up more than $100-million from the previous year. (That’s a small fraction of the multibillion-dollar global market.)

Privatization of water resources

Another issue that is also directly linked to the bottled water phenomenon is how it is setting up a favourable situation for the privatization (make money!!!) of our water resources.

“By creating a consumer culture through bottled water you set the stage for people to accept and promote the privatization of water services,” says Clarke. “It helps to have those water privateers directly engaged in the bottled water portion of things to start to facilitate that kind of development.”

Plastic bottle pollution

Well, from incorrect information and what could have been a hoax or urban myth has led to finding a slew of problems related to bottled water, including and I leave you with the images of empty plastic bottles that are now visual and environmental pollutants lining every kilometre of our planet. Important and urgent changes are needed in our consumer habits.


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Running the Numbers
: An American Self-Portrait


This new series looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on.

My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 426,000 cell phones retired every day. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs.

My only caveat about this series is that the prints must be seen in person to be experienced the way they are intended. As with any large artwork, their scale carries a vital part of their substance which is lost in these little web images. Hopefully the JPEGs displayed here might be enough to arouse your curiosity to attend an exhibition, or to arrange one if you are in a position to do so. The series is still in its early stages, and new images will be posted as they are completed, so please stay tuned.

Personal note:
I sure hope the aesthetics of the images do not detract from their power to motivate large scale changes in consumer behaviors and life-style habits.

Slow Food Nation

Slow Food Nation

Slow Food Nation by Alice Waters

[... ]

Food is destiny, all right; every decision we make about food has personal and global repercussions. By now it is generally conceded that the food we eat could actually be making us sick, but we still haven’t acknowledged the full consequences–environmental, political, cultural, social and ethical–of our national diet. Full article continued here

Related links

SlowFood Nation bookBook Description

By now most of us are aware of the threats looming in the food world. The best-selling Fast Food Nation and other recent books have alerted us to such dangers as genetically modified organisms, food-borne diseases, and industrial farming. Now it is time for answers, and Slow Food Nation steps up to the challenge. Here the charismatic leader of the Slow Food movement, Carlo Petrini, outlines many different routes by which we may take back control of our food. The three central principles of the Slow Food plan are these: food must be sustainably produced in ways that are sensitive to the environment, those who produce the food must be fairly treated, and the food must be healthful and delicious. In his travels around the world as ambassador for Slow Food, Petrini has witnessed firsthand the many ways that native peoples are feeding themselves without making use of the harmful methods of the industrial complex. He relates the wisdom to be gleaned from local cultures in such varied places as Mongolia, Chiapas, Sri Lanka, and Puglia. Amidst our crisis, it is critical that Americans look for insight from other cultures around the world and begin to build a new and better way of eating in our communities here.

About City Repair

The City Repair Project is group of citizen activists creating
public gathering places and helping others to creatively transform the
places where they live.

With a mostly volunteer staff and the help of hundreds of volunteer citizen activists, our many projects:

  • educate people about why most
    American neighborhoods are socially isolating and culturally inactive,
    and how we can transform them from the grassroots,
  • inspire people to both understand themselves as part of a larger community and fulfill their own creative potential, and
  • activate people to be part of the
    communities around them, as well as part of the decision-making that
    shapes the future of their communities.

City Repair was formed in Portland, Oregon in 1996 by citizen
activists who wanted a more community-oriented and ecologically
sustainable society. Born out of a successful grassroots neighborhood
initiative that converted a residential street intersection into a
neighborhood public square, City Repair began its work with the idea
that localization (of culture, of economy, of decision-making) is a
necessary foundation of sustainability. By reclaiming urban spaces to
create community-oriented places, we plant the seeds for greater
neighborhood communication, empower our communities and nurture our
local culture.

See their projects
See the fabulous links page

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An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Truth > About the Film 

Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world’s scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.

If that sounds like a recipe for serious gloom and doom — think again. From director Davis Guggenheim comes the Sundance Film Festival hit, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, which offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man’s fervent crusade to halt global warming’s deadly progress in its tracks by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it.

That man is former Vice President Al Gore, who, in the wake of defeat in the 2000 election, re-set the course of his life to focus on a last-ditch, all-out effort to help save the planet from irrevocable change. In this eye-opening and poignant portrait of Gore and his “traveling global warming show,” Gore also proves himself to be one of the most misunderstood characters in modern American public life. Here he is seen as never before in the media – funny, engaging, open and downright on fire about getting the surprisingly stirring truth about what he calls our “planetary emergency” out to ordinary citizens before it’s too late.

See the trailer
Read the science behing global warming
Take action

Voices – “WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?”

“WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?”
By: Joe American

GM’s 1997 EV1 electric vehicle – production killed

SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS BRILLIANT MUST-SEE DOCUMENTARY FILM!

If you care about High Gasoline Prices, People’s Healthcare, the Environment,
Dependence on Foreign Energy, and Terrorism, then you’ll want to see this new
film: “Who Killed The Electric Car?” It opened in theaters throughout the
U.S.A. this weekend, and it is excellent.

[More:]

15 years ago, all of the major American car manufacturers had produced the
first wave of modern, beautifully-engineered, fully-electric cars. These
electric cars were much less expensive to maintain than gas or hybrid cars because:

(a) they required no gas (as opposed to hybrid cars); (b) they dramatically
reduced our dependence on oil; (c) their use would eventually result in both
reduced oil-and-gas prices and the elimination of our need for foreign oil; and
(d) these electric cars were charged at home through existing wiring, so they
created much less air pollution than either gas or hybrid cars.

10 years later, the same car companies were actively collecting all of these
electric cars from their customers and destroying them, despite their general
superiority and their many obvious advantages over gas and hybrid cars.

WHY?

“Who Killed The Electric Car?” is a very important, genuinely-patriotic
documentary film which answers that question by interviewing many of the insiders
and decisionmakers who are responsible for the policies that have put us back
on the path of oil addiction and economic slavery.

ACTION ALERT: Please e-mail everyone you know and urge them to see “Who
Killed The Electric Car?” this weekend, or as soon as possible. Also please see it yourself. It is distributed by Sony Pictures, and it is being shown right
now in theaters nationwide. If this film has good attendance over the first
week, it will be kept in theaters longer.

And please use this link to view the trailer for “Who Killed The Electric
Car?”:

http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/

Finally, here are some typical comments from film reviewers:

“Chris Paine’s documentary makes an unapologetic case for the electric car
and an unofficial indictment of the forces allied against it.”
– Richard Corliss, TIME MAGAZINE

“Certainly makes the case that if the electric cars were available today in
mass quantities at competitive prices, they would sell like ‘Girls Gone Wild’
videos.”

– Jack Mathews, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

“If $3-a-gallon gasoline doesn’t make you hate the big oil companies, the
shocking revelations in Chris Paine’s thought-provoking documentary, ‘Who Killed
the Electric Car?’, will.” — V.A. Musetto, NEW YORK POST

“In many ways, the movie is superior to ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, with more
journalistic balance than the Al Gore global-warming film.” — Lisa Rose, NEWARK
STAR-LEDGER

Source  here

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