June 1, 2008
- Orange Coast Voice, June 2008, page 15
- Southern Sierran, June 2009 as ‘Thinking Outside the Dump: Zero Waste’
- Fullerton Observer, Oct. 2009, page 11, as ‘Zero Waste: Thinking Outside the Dump’
Let’s Get Out of This Dump
by Sarah S. Mosko, Ph.D .
Our throw-away habits are making a dump out of our world.
A fond memory from my childhood is of visiting the neighborhood “dump” with my dad to drop off whatever refuse, like old tires, we could not burn in our backyard incinerator.
Nowadays, the local dump has been supplanted by centralized landfills, and major restrictions have been placed on backyard incineration. Our waste stream has been transformed also since the introduction of petroleum-based plastics, single-use disposables, and packaging excess. Too, products once designed for durability and repair have been replaced with flimsier versions intended to be tossed and replaced.
In short, we have become a throw away society. Read the rest of this entry »
February 1, 2006
Appeared in Southern Sierran, February 2006
Plastics Damaging to Health: fetuses and children particularly at risk
by Sarah S. Mosko, Ph.D.
The Environmental Working Group reports that toxic fire retardants (PBDEs) are found in mother's milk.
Plastics can pose threats to human health at all stages in our life cycles, with specific risks varying with the type of plastic.
In the process of converting petroleum or natural gas into plastic, toxic chemicals can be released into the air and water supply. For example, vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen, is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. A chemical called perfluorooctanaote (PFOA) used in the production of plastic-coated non-stick cookware is also carcinogenic.
An assortment of “additives” is often needed to lend particular characteristics to a product. Many items, like computer casings and hair dryers, require flame retardants because plastics are highly flammable. Read the rest of this entry »