China Announces Major Phaseout of Single-Use Plastics – EcoWatch

China Announces Major Phaseout of Single-Use Plastics – EcoWatch

If one of the world’s largest countries can do it, why not everyone else? –

According to the plans put forward by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, plastic bags will be banned in major cities by the end of 2020 and in smaller cities and towns by 2022, Reuters reported. (Markets selling fresh fruits and vegetables will have until 2025 to phase out the bags).

The commission said it was enacting the changes in order to protect public health and “to build a beautiful China,” CNN reported.

The plan targets a variety of plastic types and industries over the next five years, BBC News reported.

Other measures include:

A ban on the production and sale of plastic bags less than 0.025 millimeters thick

A ban on single-use straws in restaurants by the end of 2020

A mandate that restaurants reduce the use of plastic items by 30 percent

A mandate that hotels not give out free plastic items after 2025

Source: China Announces Major Phaseout of Single-Use Plastics – EcoWatch

Workplace Sales Ban on Sugared Drink Shows Positive Health Effects

Workplace Sales Ban on Sugared Drink Shows Positive Health Effects

Why not drinking your calories is a good idea –

A workplace ban on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages led to a 48.5 percent average reduction in their consumption and significantly less belly fat among 202 participants in a study by researchers at the UC San Francisco. Elissa Epel, PhD, lead author of the 10-month study that looked at positive health effects associated with reducing sugary beverages intake. By the end of the 10-month study, the participants who had reduced their intake of sugary beverages, like sodas, sports drinks and sweetened teas, also tended to show an improvement in

Source: Workplace Sales Ban on Sugared Drink Shows Positive Health Effects | UC San Francisco

Fiber in Fruits and Grains Protects Against Diverticulitis – The New York Times

Fiber in Fruits and Grains Protects Against Diverticulitis – The New York Times

The importance of fibre! –

About a decade ago, Michael Valenti of Woodstock, N.Y., suddenly developed severe pain in the lower right side of his abdomen. He had a slight fever and thought he had appendicitis. So did his doctor, who sent him to the emergency room, where an M.R.I. revealed not appendicitis but diverticulitis, an infection in an outpouching of his colon he never knew he had.

The attack came “out of the clear blue,” Mr. Valenti told me, and was especially confusing because the vast majority of diverticular pouches and resulting infections develop in the sigmoid colon located in the left lower abdomen.

Diverticulosis, as the diverticular pouches are called, is very common in Western countries, where the typical overly refined diet is low in fiber, and the risk of developing it increases with age, reaching 60 percent by age 70. Unless the pouches are discovered in the course of an unrelated exam, like a colonoscopy, most people with diverticulosis don’t know they have it.

Source: Fiber in Fruits and Grains Protects Against Diverticulitis – The New York Times

Roundup weed killer found in all kids’ oat cereals tested

Roundup weed killer found in all kids’ oat cereals tested

Yikes! Why it’s so important to know what goes into the foods we buy –

EWG tested 28 brands of conventional oat-based cereals; they all had glyphosate residue, most of them above healthy standards.

Earlier this year, environmental health watchdog, Environmental Working Group, tested 45 conventional oat-based cereal products and found glyphosate in 43 of them. They’ve conducted a second round of testing and the results are as grim as the first time around. In the second set of tests, glyphosate – the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer – was found in all 28 samples.

Glyphosate is a systemic, broad-spectrum herbicide that kills things not genetically modified to resist it. (That is, it doesn’t kill the genetically modified plants grown exclusively from Monsanto seeds.)

While the companies that make the products in question claim that there is no cause for alarm since the levels fall within regulatory limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency, the levels were nonetheless higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an acceptable margin of safety.

“Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe,” notes EWG. “Federal government standards for pesticides in food are often outdated, not based on the best and most current science. The EPA’s standards for pesticides and other chemicals are also heavily influenced by lobbying from industry.”

Source: Roundup weed killer found in all kids’ oat cereals tested | TreeHugger

Probiotic helps breast-fed babies beat antibiotic-resistant germs, California study says 

Probiotic helps breast-fed babies beat antibiotic-resistant germs, California study says 

More on the importance of the micro-biome! –

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Researchers at the University of California-Davis say they were able to dramatically reduce the number of antibiotic-resistant germs in breast-fed newborns’ intestines by giving them a daily dose of probiotic for just three weeks during their first month of life.

Dr. Mark Underwood, a neonatologist and senior author on the study, said he expected to see a drop in the pathogens, but he was surprised that newborns who received the probiotic had 90% fewer antibiotic-resistant bacteria than infants who were fed only breast milk.

“The intervention has to happen while the (infants’) immune system is still developing, still learning what’s foreign and what’s OK, so a baby is born with the only protection they got against disease: the antibodies they got from mom’s placenta and the antibodies they get from mom’s milk,” Underwood said.

“They don’t really make their own antibodies yet, and as they are learning how to do that, they have to recognize what’s OK versus what’s not OK. Exposing them to more good bacteria early in life is historically how the immune system is instructed.”

Source: Probiotic helps breast-fed babies beat antibiotic-resistant germs, California study says | Duluth News Tribune

Virginia Is the First Southern US State to Pursue 100% Renewable Energy

Virginia Is the First Southern US State to Pursue 100% Renewable Energy

Amazing! –

Virginia became the first state in the southern United States to commit to achieving 100% renewable energy after passing a law mandating the transition on March 6.

The Virginia Clean Economy Act of 2020 requires the state to eliminate carbon emissions in its electricity sector, invest in renewable energy, and create clean energy jobs. Virginia’s General Assembly estimates that the law will create 13,000 new jobs annually, while generating $69.7 billion in net benefits for Virginians, largely by reducing energy costs and minimizing the health consequences of pollution.

“The Virginia Senate finalized what would have been impossible just a year ago: comprehensive legislation that gets us to 100% clean electricity and zero carbon emissions,” Michael Town, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement.

Source: Virginia Is the First Southern US State to Pursue 100% Renewable Energy