Tuesday, December 30, 2008
This morning when I woke up I smelled something horrible, kind of like exhaust, raw gasoline, beer and burned poison... so strong I had to shut my windows to keep from gagging. When I tried to enjoy the sunny day outside I got nauseous, lethargic, and seizure prone. I decided to ask some local friends over email whether they could smell something terrible outside too, and I got mail back saying that everyone had "headaches" and it was probably connected to the TN Coal Ash disaster (with link). WTF? I looked it up and there it was... one of the grossest pollution stories I have ever heard since the Exxon Valdez spill.
"The spill at the utility’s Harriman Fossil Plant deluged more than 300 acres of rural Roane County, destroying three homes and damaging 42 other properties. In nearby Kingston, that raised fears of fouled water and air, while 13 families wait to see if their homes can be salvaged, said Carolyn Brewer, finance director for the city of 5,300. The sludge-like spill, a mixture of water and residue from burned coal, escaped from a 40-acre holding pond after a retaining wall burst last week."
What infuriates me besides the fact that the air outside is tainted like we are living inside a can of roach spray, is that "authorities" have already tried to dumb down the implications of such a disaster.
Here is the conflict between a big corporation cover up and reality:
"...in just one year, the plant’s byproducts included 45,000 pounds of arsenic, 49,000 pounds of lead, 1.4 million pounds of barium, 91,000 pounds of chromium and 140,000 pounds of manganese. Those metals can cause cancer, liver damage and neurological complications, among other health problems. And the holding pond, at the Kingston Fossil Plant, a T.V.A. plant 40 miles west of Knoxville, contained many decades’ worth of these deposits...
For days, authority officials have maintained that the sludge released in the spill is not toxic..."
(VIA NY Times)
And then there's this...
"The authority has been using backhoes and heavy equipment to clean up the ash and is building weirs, or underwater dams, to try to keep it from traveling downstream. Officials do not have an estimate of the cost of the cleanup or how long it will take, said a spokeswoman, Catherine Mackey...
Mr. Smith also criticized the agency for increasing the flow of the Tennessee River to keep the ash from approaching the drinking water intake for Kingston, a town a half-mile up from the confluence of the Clinch and the Tennessee. “They’re actually moving the stuff further downstream, in order to protect the drinking supply at Kingston,” he said. "
(VIA NY Times)
They are moving kind of slow on water testing too...
"Samples taken at the site of the spill in Harriman, 35 miles southwest of Knoxville, “slightly exceed” the standards for some metals, according to a statement from the Tennessee Valley Authority, owner of the coal power plant where the Dec. 22 accident occurred. Results from well-water and air tests won’t be known until later this week, the utility said....
A test for heavy metals in water, soil or sediment should take two to eight hours, said Peter Schulert, the chief executive of the Environmental Science Corporation, an environmental laboratory near Nashville. “There’s no reason why you couldn’t have the results within a day,” Mr. Schulert said.... "
(And that fact is making people mad, rightfully so!)
“They think that the public is stupid, that they can’t put two and two together,” said Sandy Gupton, a registered nurse who hired an independent firm to test the spring water on her family’s 300-acre farm, now sullied by sludge from the spill. “It took five days for the T.V.A. to respond to us.”
They (whoever this "authority" is) tries to make it sound like it's not such a big deal, if you happen to come in contact with this sludge bi-product then just give your hands a little wash. NO advice on what to do when you are breathing it, since there's no brilliant soapy water solution.
"Authorities are testing air quality in the area and “currently evaluating the potential for health effects,” the agencies said in the TVA’s statement. Anyone who touches soil, sediments or water affected by the spill should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water and wash clothes separately from other items, according to the statement. "
So do we all get government distributed respirators too, so that we might be able to breathe safely without getting sick? Big corporations are big babies (ego centric to a fault) - they can never admit when they have done something wrong, they give heartless apologies and keep counting their dollars while all of us sit here breathing polluted air and people's homes, land and water are destroyed. They worry over being sued when they should be sued for any damage they may try to weasel their way out of covering. But really, how can you compensate fully for someone's sludged home and health?
Adult smokers already know what they are doing is not the healthy choice for their body, but what science had not yet realized was even the particles/residue transferring from a smoker's hair, clothes and skin to their children were causing kids learning disabilities, a similar reaction as to being exposed to low levels of lead.
"When you smoke – anyplace – toxic particulate matter from tobacco smoke gets into your hair and clothing,” says lead study author, Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, assistant director of the MGHfC Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy. “When you come into contact with your baby, even if you’re not smoking at the time, she comes in contact with those toxins. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in your breastmilk.” Winickoff notes that nursing a baby if you’re a smoker is still preferable to bottle-feeding, however.
Particulate matter from tobacco smoke has been proven toxic. According to the National Toxicology Program, these 250 poisonous gases, chemicals, and metals include hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, butane, ammonia, toluene (found in paint thinners), arsenic, lead, chromium (used to make steel), cadmium (used to make batteries), and polonium-210 (highly radioactive carcinogen). Eleven of the compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogens, the most dangerous.
Third-hand smoke can remain indoors even long after the smoking has stopped. Similar to low-level lead exposure, low levels of tobacco particulates have been associated with cognitive deficits among children, and the higher the exposure level, the lower the reading score. These findings underscore the possibility that even extremely low levels of these compounds may be neurotoxic and, according to the researchers, justify restricting all smoking in indoor areas inhabited by children."
Personally speaking my parents didn't smoke, but my grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and everyone under the sun smoked around me. I learned early on how bad the first, second and third hand smoke was when I watched my best friend in elementary school lose both her grandparents to cancer caused by smoking. Then by the time I was a teenager my own over exposure led to cig reactions like coughing up blood, developing sinus infections, fevers, and long drawn out illnesses after spending time with a smoker. When I turned 20 my own grandfather (Pepere) who had smoked blackberry vines as a teen on the bayou and unfiltered camels most his life developed lung cancer and died nine months after being diagnosed.
As someone who now has strong reactions to even the smell of it on someone's clothes I am not surprised to hear reports of how dangerous the third hand smoke residue is. Possibly what makes the matter entirely worse for smokers is the fact that big companies manufacture this stuff with chemicals, bleached papers, additives and other substances that make it way more carcinogenic then the actual tobacco plant is to begin with. Add to the equation that they are spraying these crops with toxic pesticides and it makes for one hell of a smoke to inhale.
FIY: Second hand smoke kills 3 times more children then any other cancer combined.
Monday, December 29, 2008
The following project is how me and Nick sealed off the door between the two halves of the house & it is now a duplex with separate outside entrances.
Check this crazy out:::::
Meet Nick, my new housemate who is kind enough to help me do this important yet coo-a-doo project. The first layer against the door is foil strips taped together with packing tape- then taped flush to the wall.
This is my sci-fi fashion pose, a possibly failed attempt to make the MCS foil barrier somehow a sexy thing. (I did help tape too! I swear.) With the foil completely flush and tape around all the edges, a layer of plastic was added on top... While this was happening I was on the other side of the door squeezing organic fleece fabric strips into the door cracks with pointy scissors. If I look a little haggard at this point it's cause I was extremely haggard...the thrill was gone. The very last layer of protection is bubble wrap! Why? Cause that is what I had on hand and doesn't it look like a portal to another dimension now !?!? Hopefully I get beamed to a place with unicorns, aliens, or just no chemicals...
I will update later on whether this MCS protection project worked to it's full potential as Nick (the impending housemate) moves his belongings into the other side of the house. Leave me any suggestions in the comments section...
And in the words of Britney Spears: "You Say I'm Crazy, I GOT your crazy!"
Sunday, December 28, 2008
This 'corset dress' is made with 100% organic cotton fabric with low impact dyes sourced locally from Spiritex for under $5! It's made from end of the mill scraps - and I can say this project is not as easy as my other tutorials but is well worth the time spent crafting it. The biggest challenges for me were that the base fabric was not stretchy which doesn't leave room for sizing mistakes, creating the corset look takes a little more time and patience to piece together and lace up, and attempting to make blah fabric look sassy takes some planning. I made this project to see if i could possibly take very boring tan checkered pattern fabric and turn it into something sexy and fun - the style is inspired by the many drawings of woman's clothing I did in the 80's as a child.
PS- You will want to add a zipper, side ties or some other open/close device on the sides if you don't use stretch fabric.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE!
Let me know what you think...
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Throw this jumper on over your favorite shirt and make a sassy organic outfit in a instant!
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
PS- My good friend Bort used to work for an X-mas tree farm and said not only are the trees sprayed with pesticides but they are sprayed with PAINT too! Now that is f-en gross! Buy Organic :) xoxo
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
*So go HERE to watch Sewing with Organic Cotton Part 3, to see how to make a camisole and shortie set with side ties...
*Then go HERE to see Sewing with Organic Cotton Part 4 and check out the orange and black 'bandeaux' top with drawstring tap shorts!!!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Check it out at The Oko Box!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
so make sure to support a healthy planet while holiday shopping this season!
PS - There's still plenty time to order online, all packages are shipped USPS priority mail and there is an option to upgrade to Express mail!
Here is an email I received today from a customer who bought the Organic Cable Gloves:
"I received the gloves yesterday and LOVE them!! They are so comfortable and warm! Thank you all for such wonderful customer service - I had only ordered them a couple of days before - and thank you for the personalized note on the enclosed invoice - you all are wonderful!! With the wonderful, stylish and eco friendly (wallet friendly too!) products that the Oko Box offers, and your over-the-top customer service, I will be a return customer!! Thank you again!! Happy Holidays! "
Love you Susan!!! Thanks!