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California won’t ban BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups

With 22 legislators abstaining, the California Assembly voted 31-27 Monday not to ban chemical bisphenol A in baby products. BPA is one of those things you'd like to keep out of your kid; the bill would have banned it from bottles, sippy cups, and other containers for tots. Legislators also voted 36-33 (with 11 abstentions) against a bill that would have banned equally icky chemical PFOA from food packaging. The Food and Drug Administration released a draft report Friday concluding that BPA in food containers poses no health threat, and critics questioned whether it was timed to influence California legislators. …

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'Chemical symbol H-twenty', video

A video for World Water Week

It's World Water Week, so I have an almost-legit excuse for posting this quirky, quotable video. It's part of the Look Around You series, a British spoof of '70s and '80s educational videos that takes on other scientific topics like Maths and Ghosts. Make sure you have your copybook at hand:

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Grassroots globalization

Dean’s Beans founder on the good effects of trade

On my pet topic of how business is creating grassroots good in the world, here's a great interview [mp3] from Corporate Watchdog Radio with the founder of Dean's Beans, a fair trade coffee company. Dean Cycon travels to the coffee-lands and meets directly with the communities he buys from. He's building (global) community and raising standards of living via long distance trade, and the company has been profitable from day one, so that's a real success story. His stories in this segment about how other retailers manage their fair trade programs, though, can be sobering. This is a solid listen …

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Common chemical in food containers not a health threat, says FDA

Food containers made with common chemical bisphenol A pose no health threat, according to a draft assessment by the Food and Drug Administration. More than 100 government- and university-funded studies have linked BPA to cancer, diabetes, behavioral disorders, and reproductive problems, and an April report from the National Toxicology Program declared there was "some concern" about infant exposure to the chemical. But relying largely on two industry-funded studies that say the chemical is just peachy, the FDA found that "an adequate margin of safety exists for BPA at current levels of exposure from food contact uses." Advisers will review the …

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Hydro-power

Fleet of hydrogen concept vehicles crosses U.S. as part of Hydrogen Road Tour

The BMW Hydrogen 7 "stores its hydrogen as a super-cold liquid and burns it in a V-12 piston engine; BMW claims that the exhaust from the Hydrogen 7 is actually cleaner than the ambient air," says The New York Times' Wheels blog. Dan Riehl. A parade of hydrogen concept vehicles is undertaking a two-week sweep across the U.S. The Hydrogen Road Tour, sponsored by nine automakers, the Department of Energy, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, the National Hydrogen Association, and the Department of Transportation, began on Aug. 11 in Portland, Maine and will arrive in Los Angeles, Calif. on Aug. …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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From Goode to Bad-ass

Goode humor, man Meet the Goode Family: an animated caricature of every Whole-Foods-shopping, hybrid-driving, African-orphan-adopting, vegan-dog-having do-gooder you've ever met. Wait, what are you looking at us for? Our dog's pescatarian. Fleece is the word Sheepish about buying wool? Check out baacode, a fleecy-fashion supply-chain tracker that allows ewe to take a virtual tour of the ranch where your sheep was raised. It's shear genius! Photo: icebreaker Smell you later Worried that global warming will cause a stink at the office? Don't sweat it! Twinkle, twinkle, little rock star With no Live Earth mega-concerts planned and no more Obama campaign …

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The floor to end all wars

Demand destruction is driving prices down, but is that a good thing?

As Joe says, Americans are driving less: "Americans drove 53.2 billion fewer miles November through June than they did over the same eight-month period a year ago..." Consequently, demand for oil is down to a five-year low, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Not hard to figure out what's going on here -- as Matt says, prices change behavior. Let's ponder a few things: First, most of the changes people are making are short-term hacks like carpooling more, consolidating trips, skipping weekend outings, and so forth. Gas prices haven't been high enough, long enough, for people to have time to …

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Southern exposure

The hybrid solar home, part 2

My thoughts have turned lately to the challenge of heating and powering residential homes in the Pacific Northwest with renewable energy. My goal was not to just find a way to reduce fossil fuel use, but to eliminate it. When I started this exercise I wasn't at all sure it could be done (in an affordable manner). Here in the Seattle area we average a little more than two clear days a month for six months of the year! Back in January, I mulled over the concept of an affordable, solar-powered, carbon-neutral home designed for this latitude and longitude that …

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Mellow fellow

Jack Johnson is laid-back — except when it comes to being green

USA Today recently published a short feature on musician Jack Johnson. Although the focus of the piece (Jack's a mellow surfer dude from Hawaii) = not news, there is this interesting bit (emphasis mine): Johnson's contracts require that event organizers compost and recycle at least 50 percent of the waste generated at the show and purchase carbon-dioxide offsets covering the energy his show uses. To reach out to fans, he has created a social networking site, allatonce.org, where people can talk about green initiatives, trade greening tips and organize carpools to concerts. As an incentive, visitors get free downloads from …

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video

TPM chats with Van Jones

At Netroots Nation, TPM talked with Van Jones:

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