Sunsreen Damage: Our Reefs

August 29, 2009

Water activities 1Planet Protect Sportswear blog: August 29.

Of all the threats to our oceans – chemical waste, pollution, plastic products, over fishing, ocean acidification (CO2 damage), we can add another threat we humans can take credit for – viral infections due to the sunscreens we use.  We at Planet Protect Sportswear have been doing more and more research into the threat of sun screen chemicals – not only are we finding out that these chemicals are bad for us, our health and genetics, but they also severally damage coral reefs.

It seems that the main chemicals in sunscreen: octinoxate, oxybenzone, homosalate and a host of other chemicals activate a virus in the algae that attaches itself to coral – once the virus is activated, it destroys the host coral.  Marine researchers are finding that small doses of sun screen chemicals activate the virus and the net result is dead coral – or the bleaching we see.

A few brands of natural sunscreens that are safe to use include brands like: Avalon Organics, Jason, Burt’s Bees, Alba Botanica and California Baby. It seems that mineral ingredients will physically block UV rays – minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide work well, so we offer that you look for these ingredients. In addition, these minerals also block UVA and UVB rays. The chemical ingredients are not as effective against UVA, plus they are truly bad for your health.  Search for plant based sunscreens – they do a better job and are better for your health.

Please do the same research we have been doing, and find a good solution to protect your skin, and spare our coral reefs the damage.


Mercury Pollution: too close to home

August 26, 2009

pollution 1Planet Protect Sportswear – August 26 Blog:

Recently, our Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) here in Oregon decided to side with one of the state’s biggest pollution emitters to protect jobs.  It seems (and you can read the article on-line – I’ll post the link), that they ushered in a deal to cut their mercury output, and the EPA made new rules making the emissions even stronger.  So instead of enforcing the new rules for Mercury emissions, the DEQ has decided to lobby to keep the standards they’ve set.  In affect creating a sub-category just for this one cement company.

Mercury has been found in almost all of our lakes and rivers, primarily from coal and cement plants.  We all wonder where the autism epidemic comes from? – come on!  Mercury causes neurological disorders in humans – we’ve known this for centuries.  This is why the EPA is pushing hard to fix this out of control problem. Our oceans are so polluted with mercury poison that grocery stores are putting warning signs for pregnant women.

Its time our Department of Environmental Quality lived up to its name, its not about jobs, its about responsibility to human health.


Tax & Spend: Green Jobs

August 21, 2009

road side garbageOver the past few weeks I’ve spent an enormous amount of time on our highways and freeways.  It is astounding the amounts of trash that litters the roadsides.  A few posts ago, I mentioned that pick-up trucks are a major culprit in this trash mountain created daily on our roadways, the other culprit is the fast food industry. 

The next time you are on the road, try counting the number of Coke bottles, Burger King bags, Taco Bell wrappers and other products you see along your journey.  Its truly staggering.  Most all of this ends up in our waterways and in our oceans (through waste water drains).  Our states spend billions of dollars a year collecting this waste, plus millions of dollars are raised by private citizens to sponsor roads as well, just to keep them clean, and its an ongoing battle that cannot be won, only managed.

So here’s an idea.  Perhaps its time for the fast food producers and consumers to take responsibility for their mess.  Perhaps is time to take the burden off the tax payers, and put it on the product consumers.  Either way, we pay.  So how about a tax on fast food?  Let’s say .10 cents on each and every purchase goes toward roadway clean up, and we hire thousands of unemployed people to take care of our trash problems.

That’s a tax and spend that might actually work.  By freeing up the billions of dollars the individual states have to spend, that money can be put toward education, health care costs and infrastructure.  Those same work crews currently hired to do roadside trash management would still be employed, just through a new revenue stream.  Plus thousands of others  can be brought into the work force.

If we are in such need of jobs, let’s start looking at ways to make our lives better, cleaner and more productive.

Exploring the Ocean: a child’s perspective

August 5, 2009

There is no greater joy than watching your child explore new worlds with excitement, a little nervousness, and pure joy.  On my last trip to the Hawaiian islands, my middle child, became enamoured with the ocean, its inhabitants, and the thrill of discovering – humuhumunukunukuapuaha (Hawaiian trigger fish) by the dozens.  I think she just liked saying the name as fast as possible.  Respect for our oceans starts young, as does dis-respect.  I watched some parents allow their children to torment, chase and attempt to destroy anything that moved, and other children inexplicable mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the sea.  As a parent, I have worked very hard to let my children know the importance of the oceans, how, when well managed can provide food, provide medical benefits, tourist support for communities, and conversely, how when mismanaged, can lead toward disease, destruction of communities and lack of food for all (up and down the food chain).  Its just that simple, a teaching of respect, tolerance and providing education toward a specific subject.