“Danger Signs: Monsanto Weed Killer Causes Animal Mutations”

“Danger Signs: Monsanto Weed Killer Causes Animal Mutations

The world’s most popular weed killer, Monsanto’s Roundup, a systemic, broad-spectrum herbicide, can induce morphological changes in vertebrate skeletal animals, say U.S. biologists studying its effect on amphibians. A study by Univesrity of Pittsburgh researchers says the poison, tested in environmentally relevant concentrations, caused the shapes of two species of amphibians to change. The study is the first to show these dangerous consequences.
The presence of predators can cause tadpoles to change shape by altering their stress hormones, but similar shape changes seen after exposure to Roundup suggest the weed killer may interfere with teh hormones of tadpoles, and potentially, many other animals. The development is important because amphibians not only serve as a barometer of an ecosystem’s health, but also as an indicator of potential dangers to other species in the food change, including humans.”

-Natural Awakenings Magazine, August 2012

Monsanto is the largest seed producer in the world…during the Vietnam War, in combined effort with Dow Chemical, produced Agent Orange for the chemical warfare program (Operation Ranch Hand). Read more on Monsanto at your own discretion 🙂

*I do not own this image*


Sunscreen Tips / Comparison


Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55

Active Ingredients:
Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalat 10.0%, Octisalate 5.0%, Ostocrylene 2.8%, Oxybenzone 6.0%

Inactive Ingredients:
Water, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Diethylhexyl 2 6 Naphthalate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Dimethicone, Ethylhexl Glycerin, Caprylyl Methicone, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyl Stearate, BHT, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Trideceth 6, Behenyl Alcohol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Fragrance

Nature’s Gate Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Dry Finish

Active ingredients:
Octinoxate 7.5%,Octisalate 5%,Octocrylene 7%,Zinc oxide 6.9%

Inactive ingredients:
aloe barbadensis leaf juice, caprylhydroxamic acid, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, cetyl dimethicone, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, dicaprylyl ether, glycerin, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) extract, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower extract, magnesium sulfate, neopentyl glycol diethylhexanoate, neopentyl glycol diisostearate, polyglyceryl-2 dipolyhydroxystearate, polyglyceryl-4 isostearate, sodium chloride, tocopheryl acetate, triethoxycaprylylsilane, water.

Badger Broad Spectrum SPF 34

Active Ingredient:
Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 18.75%

*Olea Europaea (Organic Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Cera Alba (Organic Beeswax), *Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea) Butter, *Theobroma Cacao (Organic Cocoa) Butter, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Oil, Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E), and CO2 Extract of *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Organic Seabuckthorn).

* = Certified Organic
Total Organic Content: 81.05%

Why Did I Make the Switch?

After doing extensive research, and also reading the ingredient list, although I loved my dry touch Neutrogena, it didn’t seem like the best options. It’s loaded with synthetic ingredients, including parabens. Ironically, it’s endorsed as #1 Dermatologist Recommended Suncare and has won awards from Allure Magazine.

Nature’s Gate — Probably better than the Neutrogena as it is free of parabens, phthalates, and xoybenzone, but still not the best.

Badger has no oxybenzone, octisalate, octinoxate, avobenzone, or added Vitamin A. It’s going to take some time to get used to, but in the long run, I think it will pay off 🙂 OH YEAH, if you decide to go with Badger, it is much more expensive and you REALLY have to rub it in or you might walk around looking like a ghost!

Note: Sunscreen loses potency after 1 year, supposedly…

“Cheap Bling Is Bad News”

After picking up a healthy living newsletter from a local health & fitness club, I was amazed about some of the findings. Among them, news on “cheap bling”.

Here’s what the article in Natural Awakenings (Aug 2012) has to say about the issue:

“Research from the Ecology Center, a nonprofit environmental organization, discloses that more than half of low-cost metal adult and children’s jewelry contains large amounts of toxic chemicals, including lead, cadmium, nickel, chromium, and chlorine (from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC). The report notes that these chemicals have been linked in animal and some human studies to acute allergies and long-term health impacts such as birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, young children should not be given or allowed to play with cheap metal jewelry, especially when unsupervised.”


This may be a reason to opt for quality over quantity; be careful about your purchases. Cheaper is not always better, especially knowing this. I remember my younger cousin used to get allergies from nickel-based belts, earrings, necklaces, etc. from stores that we commonly see at U.S. malls. I am not sure I can directly mention which stores are crimes of these types of products, but I am sure you (especially the ladies!) can imagine which ones…you may end up having side effects that SEAL the deal for FOREVER health problems…I know that was a little cheesy but you get what I mean 🙂

Keep in mind, your skin, the largest organ of your body, ABSORBS chemicals, lotions, etc. through its pores. If you wear something all day long, and it has some chemical which is able to pass through your pores, washing your skin with soap is not going to help you. It’s already in your body.

Natural Household Cleaners

The Truth: There’s a reason you get light-headed when you use these toxic chemicals to clean….

Here’s a page I scanned from a book called “You Can Make A Difference–be environmentally responsible” by Judith Getis

I haven’t tested out these yet, but I plan to soon : )

Solution: Try some alternatives! Save your health, $, & the environment!


Plastic Pollution Coalition Flyer

Picked up one of these during my visit to Monterey…thought I might share it with you guys : )

Water Bottle Crisis

The Truth: Water Bottles

Convenience: Purchasing a water bottle.

Setback: Health, expensive, destroying the environment, and did I mention health?

I have a big water vase I purchased from Bed, Bath & Beyond that is BPA free and has lasted me over a year now. I use a Brita filter that needs to be replaced every 3 months instead of bottled water. Not only does it save tons of money, it is better for you and the environment! Here are some quick facts about water bottles from EWG, 2011.


    • Every 27 hours Americans consume enough bottled water to circle the entire equator with plastic bottles stacked end to end.1
    • In just a single week, those bottles would stretch more than halfway to the moon — 155,400 miles.1
    • Between 2004 and 2009, U.S. consumption of bottled water increased by 24 percent. Bottled water sales have more than quadrupled in the last 20 years (BMC 2010).
    • The federal government does not mandate that bottled water be any safer than tap water – the chemical pollution standards are nearly identical (EWG 2008). In fact, bottled water is less regulated than tap water.
    • Close to half of all bottled water is sourced from municipal tap water (BMC 2010, Food and Water Watch 2010).
    • It takes an estimated 2,000 times more energy to produce bottled water than to produce an equivalent amount of tap water (Gleick 2009).
    • Bottled water production and transportation for the U.S. market consumes more than 30 million barrels of oil each year and produces as much carbon dioxide as 2 million cars (Gleick 2009).
    • Plastic water bottles are the fastest growing form of municipal solid waste in the United States. Each year more than 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter (Corporate Accountability International 2010).
    • While plastic bottles can be recycled, the majority are not. Moreover, plastic never actually degrades; it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. In some parts of the ocean, plastic outweighs plankton by a six-to-one ratio (Moore 2001).
    • Bottled water has indirect economic costs. Disposing of plastic water bottle waste, for example, costs cities nationwide an estimated $70 million in landfill tipping fees each year (Corporate Accountability International 2010).

1 Calculation assumes the water fills 16.9 fluid ounce bottles, 8 inches in height. Calculation is based on 8.4 billion gallons of bottled water consumed annually in the U.S. (23 million gallons per day) (BMC 2010); and the Earth’s circumference at the equator, 24,901 miles.


BMC (Beverage Marketing Corporation). 2010. Bottled Water in the U.S.: 2010 Edition. Available:http://www.beveragemarketing.com

Corporate Accountability International. 2010. Getting States Off the Bottle, Second Edition. Available:http://www.stopcorporateabuse.org/GettingStatesOffTheBottle [accessed May 10 2010].

EWG (Environmental Working Group). 2008. Bottled Water Quality Investigation: 10 Major Brands, 38 Pollutants. Available: http://www.ewg.org/reports/bottledwater [accessed November 12 2010].

Food and Water Watch. 2010. Bottling Our Cities’ Tap Water. Available:http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/bottled/bottling-our-cities-tap-water/ [accessed September 21 2010].

Gleick PH, Cooley HS. 2009. Energy implications of bottled water. Environmental Research Letters. January-March 2009. Volume 4, Issue 1.

Moore CJ, Moore SL, Leecaster MK, Weisberg SB. 2001. A comparison of plastic and plankton in the North Pacific central gyre. Marine Pollution Bulletin 42: 1297-1300.

[This article was directly taken from http://www.ewg.org/bottled-water-2011-how-much-do-we-drink]


A few years ago, I remember watching “The Water Bottle Problem” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flTbLnn5w_0 — I would definitely check this out, short & sweet) in one of my classes at Cal Poly, and was curious to find out if anything similar had come out since and if the problem was getting better or worse…I found “The Story of Bottled Water” (2010) on YouTube, where they claim empty water bottles are being dumped in India.

I cannot rely on one source…this led me to spending hours investigating whether or not this claim was true.

It was actually quite difficult to find sufficient backing for this claim. However, I uncovered Pepsi has been exporting substantial amounts of waste to India where the “CA-Redemption” stamp has been found on the water bottles (http://multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1994/09/mm0994_06.html). Unfortunately, this article seems to have references from the 90’s and I could not find a publication date. As I continued my search, I did come across this interesting article by the EWG: http://www.ewg.org/reports/BottledWater/Bottled-Water-Quality-Investigation. If you’re interested about what’s in bottled water, you should definitely check this out. Since many of the search results led back to “The Story of Bottled Water” (which references EWG as well) I felt the claim may be inconclusive, but I am pretty sure it is true.

After a while, before calling it quits,  I came across one last article (http://ilovehyderabad.com/columns/columns-india-dumping-ground-of-the-millennium.html) stating not only is India a dumping ground for plastic from the U.S., but also used & toxic mercury along with other things.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 2004. I do not own this picture

I found this incredibly disheartening, yet not hard to believe. During my trip to India, I realized the growing problem of waste and pollution has grown since my last visit. There is garbage EVERYWHERE. Regardless of the garbage everywhere, I couldn’t allow myself to litter…which everyone found ridiculous because I would keep my trash with me until I found a trash can (which was rare). Moreover, I knew whoever emptied out that trash was throwing it out in the streets anyway, but I still couldn’t carelessly toss it on the ground. My cousin, who has lived there her whole life, explained how there is no hope for India and their garbage problem. I’ve been trying to figure out the root of the problem and I know for a fact 1. that the government is so corrupt (experienced first hand), and 2. the ever-prevalent garbage situation does not seem to be a priority in government’s agenda. Remember: this problem is not limited to India; it is WORLDWIDE!

Solution: Stop being lazy (I know it’s hard)! Pick up a reusable water bottle and a Brita–it will not only help the environment, but save you $$! In less than a month (considering you drink the appropriate amount of water), you will get your ROI!

Overtime, routine will become habit, I promise!