Mom’s exposure to hairspray linked to genital defects in baby boys

Women exposed to lots of hairspray in the workplace — hairdressers, beauticians, and the like — are more likely to give birth to boys with genital defects, says a British study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Surprise: Hairspray contains phthalates.

Thanksgiving can reconnect families and revive traditions — like sweet potato rolls

Sweet potato rolls.Photos: April McGregerI remember the look on my grandfather’s face when I tried to politely explain that I couldn’t eat the giblet gravy or the dressing (known in other parts of the country as “stuffing”) that I had always relished. The reason, I informed him, was that I was a vegetarian; those old favorites contained turkey broth. He replied with a blank stare. It was a completely isolating experience. In a family where preparing and sharing food is our strongest form of emotional currency, my rejection of my family’s food was a rejection of their affection and a …

A done diesel

Volkswagen Jetta TDI: 2009 Green Car of the Year

2009 Green Car of the Year: Volkswagen Jetta TDI At the L.A. Auto Show Thursday morning, the Green Car Journal jury voted the Volkswagen Jetta TDI the 2009 Green Car of the Year. The TDI "clean diesel" runs on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and uses a "common rail direct injection system" that decreases 95 percent of sooty diesel emissions. The turbocharged diesel sedan bested a field that included two hybrids and the trendy Smart ForTwo. Though it garnered respectable fuel-efficiency ratings from the EPA, 31 mpg city/40 mpg highway, the TDI won the award because it achieved "the kind of …

NRDC says video games’ huge energy suckage easily cut

Video game consoles in the United States consumed some 16 billion kilowatt-hours last year, or about enough juice to power the city of San Diego for a year, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. However, cutting down video games’ impact is relatively easy since the three most popular video game consoles — Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBox360, and Nintendo’s Wii — can significantly reduce their power suckage if players simply switch them off after use and activate their already-existing power-saving features.

Cell-phone chargers rated on energy efficiency

How energy-efficient is your cell-phone charger? (And why have you never thought to ask?) The world’s five biggest cell-phone manufacturers have rated the chargers they sell, from an energy-sucking one star to an eco-friendly five stars. If everyone with a cell phone “switched to a four- or five-star charger,” declares Nokia, “this could save the same amount of energy each year as produced by two medium-sized power plants.”

Publishing world bitchslap

Simon, Random at odds over green’s role

A piece in ye olde New York Times today looks at a new line from Simon & Schuster called Little Green Books. Aimed at kiddos, the series promises to “get kids excited about going green!” Whether a book about the journey of a plastic bottle will titillate tots remains to be seen, but check out this quote from competitor Random House when asked whether it had plans to launch a similar line: “Ultimately, we believe that it makes the most sense for our authors, our consumers and our business to have green-centric titles as part of our core publishing business, …

Jack Nicholson's car

Actor touts renewable energy 30 years ago

I wanted to post this before editorial found it, because when I see something this cool, I like to plant my flag on it. The following is a segment from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s program "Marketplace," back in 1978. To repeat: Nineteen. Seventy. Eight.

Umbra on holiday shopping

Hi Umbra, When it comes to holiday presents, does it really save energy and gas to order stuff online? Rick G. Manchester, N.H. Dearest Rick, Holiday gift time, everyone! Many of you have already begun shopping, I know, and I also know that my birthday, coming in early December as it does, adds to the gifting pressure for everyone. For better or worse, e-commerce has taken purchase. I wrote last year about the hung jury on online shopping, and then Oak Ridge National Laboratory came out with a bit more information for the 2007 holiday season. To review my belabored, …

Must-use-less-energy TV

Union of Concerned Scientists offers tip to buy most energy-efficient TV

If you watch TV, then you know that the country will switch to High-Definition TV sometime in February. Those with old-school cathode ray tubes may be tempted to use this milestone to “upgrade” to a flat-screen. If that describes you or someone you know, then this Greentip from the Union of Concerned Scientists may be helpful: Energy consumption varies widely between HDTVs, even between models of similar size. There are ways to ensure your new TV is as efficient as possible: Choose the most efficient technology. There are three HDTV technologies on the market today: plasma, LCD, and rear-projection microdisplay …

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