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Miscellaneous Green Files

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</P> Golf courses put thousands of pounds of chemical pesticides and fertilizers into the ground, displace animals and birds, and use up water galore.

Thumbs Up: Going Green on the Golf Course

Golf courses put thousands of pounds of chemical pesticides and fertilizers into the ground, displace animals and birds, and use up water galore. However, here are some green tips on what you can do the next time you head for the greens:

  • Putter to courses that are environmentally friendly. Check out Blackburn Meadows, Canada's only organic golf course on Saltspring Island, BC. Their Web site, bmgcssi.com, also gives you handy tips for a healthy lawn.

  • Support turf-maintenance practices that protect wildlife and natural habitat. These include a reduction in both fertilization and watering.

  • Be fair to the fairways. Accept brown patches during dry spells.

  • Walk the course instead of using golf carts to reduce both air and noise pollution.

  • Always replace your divots.

E-Magazine, March/April 2002; Earth Share, earthshare.org

Fluoride Found in Baby's Food

Some foods frequently eaten by babies and toddlers contain fluoride, according to a report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (September 2001). The study found that a single serving (71 grams or 2.5 ounces) of baby food containing mechanically separated pur?-chicken contained 0.6 milligrams of fluoride. Thus, one small jar of baby food made with chicken delivers more fluoride than a six-month-old child should receive in an entire day. Too much fluoride can cause skeletal fluorosis, which is characterized by spotted or brown-stained permanent teeth, bony overgrowth, neurological complications, arthritis and even cancer. How does fluoride get into baby foods? Farm animals ingest fluoride added to water supplies and it gets stored in bones and teeth. Meat removed from bones by machine contains bone powder in the finished product--thus mechanically separated meats, especially chicken, have much more fluoride than most foods, because they contain fluoride-rich bone dust.
Acres USA, February 2002

Flowers Are Always Greener--On the Other Side

Ahh, those inviting summer flowers across the lane in your neighbour's backyard. They beckon so irresistibly that close to one in five Canadians (17 per cent) have secretly clipped someone else's flowers, says Ipsos-Reid in a recent poll conducted for Home and Garden TV. You're more likely to be a covert clipper if you're young (27 per cent of younger Canadians, 14 per cent middle-aged and 10 per cent older), live in British Columbia (21 per cent) and are female (20 per cent compared to 15 per cent men). The survey also found that 19 per cent of property owners compete with their neighbours for the best garden or lawn. And on any sunny Sunday morning, one in five (21 per cent) Canadians would rather dig around in their gardens than spend intimate time with their loved ones.
Ipsos-Reid, March 2002

GE from Java to Jeans

You can drink it, eat it, and soon, wear it. New varieties of coffee berries have been genetically modified to remain unripe until sprayed with a specific hormone. This allows intensive production with increased use of chemicals. GM coffee threatens the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers that currently produce most of the world's coffee. Meanwhile, researchers at Genencor International in Palo Alto, Calif., have found a way to use gene-tweaked E. coli bacteria to give jeans their characteristic blue colour, reports the Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (March 2002). The researchers are counting on biotech bacteria to replace the use of indigo, a chemical presently used to dye jeans which is made from fossil fuels and potentially releases toxins during manufacture.
organic consumers.org; cbc.ca

Help for Pesticide-Prone Preschoolers

The new Pest Control Products Act tabled this March by Health Minister Anne McLellan pays more attention to the effects of pesticides, especially on children. It is well known that children are among the most vulnerable to pesticide poisoning. A study by the Canadian Environmental Law Association linked pesticide ingestion with impaired cognitive development in children as well as an increased rate of cancer, brain tumours and leukemia (December, 1999). Another study assessed 110 preschool children in the Seattle area for organophosphorus pesticide exposure. The only child whose urine contained no measurable pesticides lives in a family who buys only organic produce and does not use pesticides at home. The study was conducted by the University of Washington Department of Environmental Health and published in Environmental Health Perspectives (March 2001). For more information on the Pest Control Products Act, visit hc-sc.gc.ca.
Western Producer, March 28, 2002; Organic Trade Association, Spring 2002

Online Pesticide Resource

Did you know that the toxic pesticide Aldicarb shows up in watermelons, bananas and milk? Now you can turn to the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) at panna.org to find out complete toxicity information on the pesticides used on your summer fruits and veggies. Other handy features of the PANNA Web site are the Pesticide Advisor, a one-stop guide to help you with pest and pesticide problems in the home and garden, and links to the Genetically Engineered Food Alert site. PANNA is a global network that works to replace pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives.
Acres USA, April 2002

GE a No-Go for Organic Farmers, World Markets

Genetically engineered (GE) cross-pollination threatens the livelihood of organic farmers like Marc Loiselle from Saskatchewan, who spoke at an agricultural forum earlier this year. GE pollen and seeds are dispersed by wind, water, animal and human activity to neighbouring farms, he says. Meanwhile, world markets for Canadian organic products continue to open up as many countries introduce laws for GE crops and foods.

  • According to the Canadian Organic Growers, the number of certified products produced by 2000 was 3,108, up 34 per cent from the previous year.

  • The US has lost over 350 million bushels of corn exports to the European Union and Japan since 1997/98, the year after GE corn was introduced in the US, according to the American Corn Growers Association.

  • Japan's imports of US food corn are expected to drop by 40 to 60 per cent in 2001, according to Tokyo grain traders. The National Corn Growers Association says the issue of GE Starlink is hurting exports.

  • As a result of GE contamination, US share of the world soy bean market has fallen from 77 to 64 per cent in the past year, according to Australia's Natural Food Commission.

  • Major grain processors are willing to pay 20 per cent more for non-GE soy beans, according to Reuters.

Presentation to the agricultural forum hosted by the Council of Canadians, Prince Albert chapter, April 4, 2002; Canadian Health Food Association

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