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Cell Bill
September 2014

Overcharging Mobile Devices Wastes Money

phoneSmartphone maker Nokia estimates most devices need only about two hours to fully charge, making overnight charging highly wasteful; users also should disengage and unplug chargers from the wall when they’re done. Another helpful tip fromBatteryUniversity.com is not to wait until cell phone power is nearly or completely depleted before recharging, because full discharges put a strain on the battery that can shorten its lifespan.

Umbra Fisk, an environmental columnist at Grist.org, advises using a power strip and even a timer as parts of a central charging area for all mobile devices to facilitate monitoring and reduce overcharging. Energy Star-qualified (EnergyStar.gov) cordless phones demand about half the energy of standard units.

Energy Star reports that the average U.S. household spends $100 annually to power devices while they are off, constituting nearly 10 percent of annual electric utility bills and amounting to an annual total of 100 billion-plus kilowatt hours of U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.

 
Safer Shampoo
September 2014

Makers Agree Not to Use Cancer-Causing Chemical

shampooThis year, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) reached legal agreements with 26 major companies to discontinue using a cancer-causing chemical in shampoo and personal care products, and potential agreements with more than 100 additional companies are still pending. Cocamide diethanolamine (DEA), a synthetic chemical created from a chemical reaction between coconut oils and diethanolamine, has been used for decades in shampoos and other products as a foaming agent.

In 2012, California listed the chemical as a known carcinogen, based on assessment by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which evaluated skin exposure tests on animals. In 2013, the CEH brought lawsuits against companies selling products in California containing the substance without a health warning, as required under Prop 65, the state’s consumer protection law for toxic chemicals.

Note: A Think Dirty app offers information about the potentially toxic ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products and what not to buy.


Source: Ecowatch.com (Tinyurl.com/Shampoo-Lawsuit)

 
Cleaner Air
September 2014

New EPA Rules Proposed for Climate Change

windThe White House plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. Each state will have its own goal within the overall national pollution reduction effort, an attempt to be politically and practically flexible in its implementation. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy explains, “Each state’s goal is tailored to its own circumstances, and states have the flexibility to reach the goal in whatever ways work best for them.”

States can renovate existing coal-fired plants with newer, cleaner burning technology; switch coal plants to natural gas, which produces much less carbon; and work to persuade residents to be more efficient in their use of electricity. States can also band together in cap-and-trade networks for emission reductions, in which companies buy and sell permits allowing them to produce a certain amount of carbon emissions. Clean producers can be sellers, dirtier producers buyers.

The program represents an absolute reduction in U.S. carbon emissions of nearly one-third, rather than a simple slowing in the growth rate of emissions. Contrary industry groups, many Republicans and some coal-state Democrats oppose the proposal due to its anticipated costs and increased regulations.


Source: The Christian Science Monitor

 
Flaxseed Lowers Blood Pressure
August 2014

Food for Heart Health

flax_seedEating flaxseed reduces blood pressure, according to researchers from Canada’s St. Boniface Hospital Research Center. They attribute the effect to its omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fiber.

The researchers examined the effects of flaxseed on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with peripheral artery disease, a condition typically marked by hypertension. Patients consumed a variety of foods that collectively contained 30 grams of milled flaxseed or a placebo each day for six months. The flaxseed group experienced significantly increased plasma levels of certain omega-3 fatty acids and lower average systolic blood pressure (by 10 mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (by 7 mm Hg). Those in the flaxseed group with initial systolic blood pressure levels over 140 mmHg saw reductions averaging 15 mmHg.

 
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