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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

The Truth about Body Care

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Body care is a huge money making industry, consisting of everything from hand soap to shampoo to lipstick to hand lotion. Usage of these products varies greatly from person to person, some women spend hundreds of dollars on these products while some guys tout that all they have is a bar of soap.  Wherever you might fit in, you will inevitable use some of these products.

[Irish+Spring+Body+Wash.jpg]

When you go to buy something like soap, shampoo, lotion, conditioner, cosmetics, etc…, there is apparently a huge selection of different brands and products to choose from.  You will compare dozen of products based on how they smell, how you like the label or design of the bottle, whether or not the product is on sale, how recently you saw a commercial for the product, etc.  There is a marketing term called “Skin-Cream marketing” which refers to the diversity and price ranges that lead to a $$70 skin cream product that is found in a high end boutique. However, despite all of these apparent differences, the vast majority of these products are actually the exact same thing, and often even made by the same company (ie. Unilever or Proctor and Gamble).

What should really get your attention is what’s in the bottle: more literally, the ingredients.  Most body care products, in fact are made with toxic chemicals that are not actually good for your skin or body.  One look at the ingredients on a bottle of shampoo or body wash and you’ll see what I mean.  Does a bath in cocamidopropyl betaine really sound like a good idea?

In fact, most soaps aren’t soaps at all.  Technically, soap is made from a natural oils, such as almond, coconut, olive, or hemp oil, that undergoes a chemical reaction process called saponification that has been used for thousands of years.  However, since the early 1900’s, soap has become something entirely different; and is now made from petroleum byproducts and a cocktail of toxic chemicals.  None of these are actually good for the skin, but they do happen to mimic the effects of soap to such a degree that the average consumer cannot tell the difference.  But don’t be fooled, THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE!!  Olive oil castile soap is actually good for your skin, it has natural vitamins and it gently cleans dirt as it naturally moisturizes.  Detergents, on the other hand, can only mimic the effects to get rid of dirt.  They don’t do a great job, they don’t moisturize, they’re not natural, and they contaminate the water.  Let alone everything that went into manufacturing the chemicals!

To add to the confusion, companies add “natural essential oils” or “infuse” the products with things like vitamin E, antioxidants, etc.  This makes it seems as though the products are good for you.  To make matters worse, upon adding these extracts, they will call their product “herbal”, “natural”, or even “organic”.  But this is not the case!  It’s still the same a cocktail of petroleum derived chemicals, just with a splash of something else!  Would you drink motor oil if it had a dash of all natural lime??

Dr. Bronners Magic Hemp Soaps is working to change these practices and bring back true soap.  They use hemp in almost all of their products and it’s really the best soap on the market.

To learn more about this issue, the Dr. Bronner’s is working with the Organic Consumers Association to make sure that cosmetic companies “Come Clean” about the truth.

You can also watch this video, from the makers of the Story of Stuff, comes the Story of Cosmetics:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfq000AF1i8&feature=player_embedded

Next time you wash your face, read the ingredients first!!

Hemp Can Breathe

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

One of the many uses of hemp is as insulation for the construction industry.

Currently, insulation is often made of fiberglass, it might look like a cotton mattress, but you don’t actually want to touch it.  Or get near it, you might get micro-glass splinters.  Or if breathe too much, then you might get the micro-glass particles in your lungs.http://www.treehugger.com/installing-fiberglas.jpg

But not all building insulation is made out of fiberglass.

In fact, there are dozens of other synthetic materials that claim to have higher performance; I’m really not sure why there are so many.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building_insulation_materials

Here’s a brief list:

Material

Silica aerogel 1.76 R-10
Polyurethane rigid panel (CFC/HCFC expanded) initial 1.23–1.41 R-7–R-8
Polyurethane rigid panel (CFC/HCFC expanded) aged 5–10 years 1.10 R-6.25
Polyurethane rigid panel (pentane expanded) initial 1.20 R-6.8
Polyurethane rigid panel (pentane expanded) aged 5–10 years 0.97 R-5.5
Foil-faced polyisocyanurate rigid panel (pentane expanded ) initial 1.20 R-6.8
Foil-faced polyisocyanurate rigid panel (pentane expanded) aged 5–10 years 0.97 R-5.5
Polyisocyanurate spray foam 0.76–1.46 R-4.3–R-8.3
Closed-cell polyurethane spray foam 0.97–1.14 R-5.5–R-6.5
Phenolic spray foam 0.85–1.23 R-4.8–R-7
Thinsulate clothing insulation 1.01 R-5.75
Urea-formaldehyde panels 0.88–1.06 R-5–R-6
Urea foam[1] 0.92 R-5.25
Extruded expanded polystyrene (XPS) high-density 0.88–0.95 R-5–R-5.4
Polystyrene board[1]

The vast majority of these are some type of foam plastic, which are far from healthy.  They are produced using petroleum byproducts, using lots of toxic chemicals in some complicated chemistry process that I know nothing about, probably releasing all types of fumes in a large factory, made by a company that we don’t like but have no choice but to consume from (ie, DuPont).

http://unrealitymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/corporation.jpg

Here is yet another example of where hemp can be used to create a higher quality product, that is better for the environment, and overall, much healthier for us to use.  Hemp is all natural, all the way.  Inexpensively renewable, no harsh chemicals, and it’s completely biodegradable!

Did I mention that it’s actually a higher quality product?  Hemp “Breathes”, which means that it can absorb and release moisture.  This makes a room feel much more comfortable- it will naturally minimize the excessive humidity or dryness in the air.  And of course, the actual amount of  insulation that it provides is comparable to anything else on the market.

Here is yet another industrial use of hemp.  Imagine a day when construction workers are hauling loads of hemp insulation to a building site.http://verascleaningservice.net/images/building_construction.png

Look at how focused he is, on the hemp he is about to install….

To learn more about Hemp insulation, visit the Hemcore website

BP Oil Spill Could be Cleaned up with Hemp

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

This BP crisis makes me incredibly angry.  They’ve barely spent $2 billion on cleanup, and earlier tonight, people donate over $ 1.3 million in two hours to clean up BPs spill.   We spent almost as much as BP on the spill!! At 1.3 million dollars every two hours, we would have raised over $$1.95 billion in the past 63 days!!!

What really makes me mad is all of the things that they could have done but didn’t.  For example, I read an article just one week after the disaster on 4/20, that there are microbes that eat oil, and even PRODUCE OXYGEN as a byproduct.  This was already tested and verified to be effective, and in fact, there was a company that had a large amount in stock, and if needed, could produce more very quickly.  It was the PERFECT answer!!  A week later, I read a similar article; apparently that hadn’t actually used it, because they still had more chemical dispersants left, I guess.

http://eraven.franklinpierce.edu/exch/58/oil%20spill.jpg

I remembered another article I had seen and recovered an even better one. It of course, relates to hemp. Based on the below article, I posit (although it’s never really been tested) that hemp could be used to help clean up the oil disaster.

Hemp’s actually has several long lost cousins.  I sometimes think bamboo is a long lost cousin, the two fastest growing land plants used to race each other….Anyways, another distant cousin is the plant crop kenaf.   A fiber crop that can grow on marginal land, kenaf can be used to make twine (although not nearly as strong as hemp), but also can be used for paper products, bio composite materials, and cellulosic ethanol.  Kenaf is not actually much unlike hemp without the hempseed.

Here is an interview from a North Carolina farmer, who says that his kenaf could be used to absorb some of the oil.  To take it a step further, he says that it will synergize with the microbes and provide even more food for the hungry microbes.  The EPA says they will conduct a study…. when they should conduct a study by TRYING IT IMMEDIATELY!!

Hemp could do the exact same thing, but would probably work better.

NC Farmer talks about how hemp could be used to clean up the oil spill


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hemp Seizure in Capitol Underscores Confusion Over Cannabis
Hemp Industry Seeks Beer Summit with Capitol Police

WASHINGTON, DC — Vote Hemp legislative assistant Ben Droz was shocked when Capitol Police seized his samples of industrial hemp fiber that he needed for a scheduled presentation to congressional staffers. Police refused to release the fiber after the search, while saying they knew it had no drug value and was “just hemp.” The group of officers decided they needed to confiscate all the hemp seeds because no food was allowed, but the hemp fiber was also seized even though it is not food. “I just want to throw this out,” said one officer, who ultimately did

Mr. Droz explained to police that the items were being used to illustrate the environmental properties of hemp. “This is just another example of the confusion between Industrial Hemp, an important crop for farmers across the country, and marijuana, a distant cousin also from the Cannabis family.” The United States is the only developed country that does not recognize the distinction between the two varieties. Mr. Droz admits, “I gave up the hemp to police, fearing arrest at the time, and now feel compelled to raise this issue so it does happen again because I carry hemp every time I visit the U.S. Capitol.”

“The fact that this level of confusion among law enforcement still exists today is exactly why federal policy on hemp needs to change,” says Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. “We hope for the return of Vote Hemp’s property, an apology, and perhaps, a Capitol Hill beer summit or Congressional hearings to discuss our differences with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).”

Hemp products have been subject to confusion in the past. In 2002, the DEA attempted to ban imports on hemp foods, despite the growing recognition of its value to farmers and consumers. Vote Hemp, the Hemp Industries Association, and several U.S. and Canadian companies, successfully challenged the DEA in a lawsuit calling the ban unwarranted and illegal. Since this ban was lifted, the hemp industry has grown substantially every year. Last year alone, grocery store sales of hemp food products grew over 40%.

Since 2005, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.R. 1866) and its predecessors have waiting for a hearing in the House, but it’s been tabled the entire time. The bill has a dozen bi-partisan cosponsors, and allows states like Oregon (as of Jan. 2010), Maine, Vermont, North Dakota, Montana (and many others) to grow hemp based on State laws. Sixteen states have already passed legislation, and many, like the ones listed above, are simply waiting for the federal ban to be lifted once again. Mr. Droz has been working with Vote Hemp in order to raise congressional awareness about this marginalized issue.

The growing market proves the case of hemp. Food sales have grown every year since the ban was lifted. Other parts of the hemp plant, such as those confiscated from Droz, can be used to make any number of consumer products, while all jobs generate from the industry could be as green collar jobs.

Despite a growing global industry, U.S. farmers are still unable to grow hemp. All hemp in the U.S. must be imported from other countries to be either processed or sold here.

“It’s ironic that the very items I was using to clear up confusion, became the subject of contraband and were confiscated,” Mr. Droz comments after the incident.

# # #

Back In Washington

Friday, June 19th, 2009

I thought that it was time to revisit my blog after about a year of latency.
I’m back in DC and working again for Vote Hemp. The goal is to get federal recognition of industrial hemp. This is no easy task and has never been done before.

Grassroots support for hemp is notable and significant. To date, 14 states allow hemp farming, and Oregon will be the 15th state within two weeks. (SB 676 has already passed committee and is on the senate floor today). While individual states show enormous support with both constituencies and legislature, this hardly translates to the federal level.

My job is to get support for HR 1866, the third reintroduction of Ron Paul’s “Industrial Hemp Farming Act”. I have nothing against Ron Paul, but apparently, this is not the case for most politicians. Most politicians would support hemp if it were politically viable; unfortunately, at the moment, it is not.

I’ll try to keep you updated this summer. If you read this far, shoot me an email bendroz@gmail.com so that I know to keep writing….

-Ben


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