What Products Contain Microbeads?

Lake Superior
Lake Superior

How can you reduce your use of microbeads?  By purchasing products at my local food

Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions to refill your bottles
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions to refill your bottles

coop and refilling my bottles and containers, I have hoped I wasn’t adding microbeads to our waterways.  Below from the Sierra Club is the best information I have seen on microbeads. Read to find out which products NOT to purchase, and how to get rid of them if you have any of the listed items!

Below is from the Sierra Club 



First let’s review. “Microbeads” are tiny beads of plastic less than a millimeter thick that are often added to cosmetics as exfoliants and cleansing agents. Even some toothpastes contain them. It may sound like a strange use of plastic, but cosmetic companies apparently found that microbeads were cheaper than non-synthetic alternatives. The beads themselves (also called “mermaid’s tears”) are made of polyethylene or polystyrene. They are not toxic, but can pass through filters in water treatment plants and enter the water system. There, researchers warn, they can bind to toxic substances such as DDT, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls. Creatures in the water ingest these now poisonous little pellets, endangering themselves and the food chain. Yeah, I know, it’s weird to think that by washing your face or brushing your teeth you might beget a mutant fish—or mermaid—smack in the middle of Lake Erie, but such are the risks of progress through chemistry.

So–the safest way to get rid of the stuff is to leave it in its container, tighten the lid, and send it to the landfill with your regular garbage where it’s quite unlikely to escape into the environment. But NEVER, ever, not ever, pour it down a drain or flush it down the toilet, because that’s exactly how it spreads into the watershed.

By the way, to find out if a product contains these deadly beads, check the label for “polyethylene,” “PE,” “polystyrene,” or PS. The organization, “Beat the Microbead” has a list of products known to contain the beads.

http://beatthemicrobead.org/images/pdf/RED%20UNITED%20STATES.pdf  Products that contain microbeads

Some good news: The fight against these beady polluters is already having some success. Illinois has banned the manufacture and sale of products containing microbeads, and bans have been proposed in several other states. There is also a growing movement to ban the beads in Europe. The cosmetics industry itself is in damage-control mode as some major companies have agreed to replace the microbeads with safer materials. This is a hopeful sign, because, as we’ve noted before, the last thing we need is still more plastic in our rivers, lakes, and oceans. —Bob Schildgen


Record Cold and Record Heat


Minneapolis will probably set a record cold for this week’s temperatures, and British Columbia and the Arctic might set record heat records.

When I travel, people often say, “Minnesota, it is really cold there!” This week’s cold spell during the All-Star Game is going to reinforce those beliefs.  Usually this is the hottest week of the year in Minnesota with average highs in the 80s F.

As someone who loves outdoor activity, I love cooler temperatures, but what is scary is the record heat in British Columbia and the Arctic.

From Minnesota Public Radio: As Minnesota shivers today in record July cold, western Canada is baking, and literally burning up in record heat.

This unprecedented “high amplitude” jet stream pattern is producing record cold and record heat at close range within North America.

Temperatures reached 105 degrees Sunday in parts of British Columbia. At least 20 weather stations across western Canada set high temperature records Sunday.

http://blogs.mprnews.org/updraft/    Get the entire story from Paul Huttner at MPR

And from Paul Douglas at the Minneapolis  www.Startribune.com

Climate Change for Dummies. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at the Concord Monitor: “…I distinctly remember my professor Richard Bopp, researcher at Goddard Institute for Space Studies, telling us that the only thing he knew was that you could not overload such a delicately balanced system like our atmosphere and not have something change. The idea that everything in the world would gradually and evenly rise in temperature was unlikely, but he and his colleagues could not offer an alternative at that time. Well, 25 years later, we have a better idea. Thanks to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a voluntary 2,000-member group of scientists committed to understanding climate change, we can verify that we are experiencing more severe weather and increases of ocean levels, glacial melting and average temperature…”



July, 2014, Superior Views

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” E. B. White


Superior Views, early July 2014

Finally, beautiful weather! Unfortunately, after rainy June, the gnats and mosquitoes take

White Admiral Butterfly on the shore of Lake Superior
White Admiral Butterfly on the shore of Lake Superior

fun away from the enjoyment of the magnificent sunny calm days!

Redstart warblers sing and love all the mosquitoes!  Also, song sparrows, Northern parula,  and red-eyed vireo sing in constantly until a fox walks down the driveway. Hummingbirds, finch and pine siskin frequent our feeders. Other birds that nest in our neighborhood are: Chestnut sided warbler, common yellow throat, white-throated sparrow, winter wren, and oven birds. They sing a symphony of joy soon to end with July nesting season.

The best plant for pollinators in early July is the wild geranium.

The hummingbirds and bees love wild geraniums
The hummingbirds and bees love wild geraniums

The birds can be heard, but seeing them is difficult. However, the swallow-tail butterflies, a few monarchs, viceroys, painted ladies, white admirals and northern crescent add to the beauty of each day. Eggs from the painted lady butterfly sit on the pearly everlasting plants, and we watch for caterpillars.

July sunset
July sunset

Pesticides, bees, butterflies and all of us!

A bumblebee on wild geranium in N. Wisconsin
A bumblebee on wild geranium in N. Wisconsin

In the past two weeks I have spent 5 days in Iowa, and then a week in Northern Wisconsin away from the agricultural belt.  As I biked and walked in Iowa the lack of butterflies was disheartening.  I even saw and smelled the Iowa DOT spraying along the highway.  In contrast northern Wisconsin is more grass/hay country, lower pesticide use, and the butterflies aren’t like what I would like to see, but they are flitting around when you look for them.  The bee population up north is still  questionable, but better than what I saw in Iowa.

I agree with this excellent letter to the editor in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Thank you for “Bees at the brink” (June 29). Our rural surroundings have changed since we moved to south-central Minnesota in 1960. Our small farms have mostly disappeared, and our once-vibrant town struggles to stay alive. There was much more variety in the landscape: I remember picking strawberries along Hwy. 169 with my children; we heard and saw meadow larks and pheasants, and clouds of monarch butterflies were a part of every spring and summer. Now what do we have? Corn and soybeans from horizon to horizon; hedgerows with their diversity of plants and animal life gouged out; wetlands drained, and herbicides ensuring that few bee-friendly flowers grow on roadsides and lawns. Our state and federal supports, with their continuing crop insurance programs — even for marginal land — and cutbacks on set-aside acreage such as CRP and CREP help to perpetuate the increasing sterility of our natural environment.

Economic success should not be the only determinant of wealth. We lose too much if it is.

Maria Lindberg, Blue Earth, Minn.

http://www.startribune.com/local/264929101.html?site=full&c=n&stfeature=    This is the link to the Bee article she is referring to.

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/265857781.html  Autism Risk is Linked to Pesticides

Gardeners Beware: Neonicotinoids

The native Canada Anemone is blooming now!
The native Canada Anemone is blooming now!

It is worrisome that most plants still contain neonicotinoids!  Native plants are Neonicotinoid free

Purchasing plants that are free of neonicotinoids is a challenge.  I went to the local nursery that claimed to not use neonics.  They don’t use the neonic pesticide, but their suppliers might.  The clerk was very helpful, but most of the annuals

Swallowtail on a dianthus
Swallowtail on a dianthus

were not neonic free.  I had to search through the plants for specific containers, but the large majority of the plants still available could have been treated with neonics.

Report Release from Friends of the Earth: Gardeners Beware 2014

In a study commissioned by Friends of the Earth and conducted by independent scientists at the Pesticide Research Institute, findings show that most “bee-friendly” garden plants sold at major retailers in the US are routinely pre-treated with bee-harming pesticides, with no warnings to consumers.

Bees are dying at alarming rates, and neonic pesticides are a key contributor to recent hive losses. Bees and other pollinators are essential for two-thirds of the food crops humans eat every day, and contribute over $20 billion dollars to the US economy. Our own food security is tied closely to the survival of bees and other pollinators – we must take swift action to protect them.

The power to practicing bee-safe pest control is in your hands. Read the full report here and learn how to get started.