Sunday, August 31, 2014



Celeb superlatives: Aguilera's unique baby name

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 02:57 AM PDT

Celeb superlatives: Aguilera's unique baby name
Think high school yearbook superlatives — if Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Christina Aguilera were classmates. Best recent addition to the ever-increasing roster of 'unique' baby names: Summer Rain. Apple, Bear and Pilot Inspektor can soon have playdates …
Read more on USA TODAY

Latest Celeb News

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 12:02 AM PDT

Joan Rivers Update: Daughter Melissa Asks for Prayers as Fellow Celebs Send
With Joan Rivers in a medically induced coma in what daughter Melissa has characterized as a "serious" condition, fellow celebrities and fans alike are sending their best wishes to the red carpet queen. Melissa, who has been keeping vigil at her ailing …
Read more on Yahoo! Voices (blog)

What it really takes to keep a celeb wedding secret
Editor's note: For Today's Throwback, we dig deep into our archives to bring you the very best, most awe-inspiring or funny videos to ever come across our news desk. The story below originally aired on HLN in September 2012. The media didn't find out …

Vote For Your Fave Celeb Instagram Pic of the Week!
Every week we scour your favorite stars' Instagram accounts to find the most interesting/surprising/amazing pics for you guys to check out. Vote on the one you like the very best! Here are our top 10 picks of the week. Be sure to tell us which one you …
Read more on J-14 Magazine

Friday, November 14, 2008

Much Ado About Merck Marketing

I'd suggest the money spent on this fiasco be put to nutrition education in an effort to prevent and reverse diabetes rather than promote drug sales.
A group of labor unions is launching a campaign that accuses CVS Caremark Corp. of violating patient privacy and improperly pushing doctors to prescribe a costly prescription drug.

Change to Win, a group of unions that represents about six million workers, said CVS's pharmacy benefits management business has been urging doctors via a letter to add Merck & Co. diabetes drug Januvia to specific patients' treatments. The letter, obtained by the union group, said CVS identified the diabetes patients through a review of prescription-drug claims processed by its Caremark unit.

A line at the bottom of the letter says Merck paid for the mailing. Neither Merck nor CVS would say how much Merck paid, and the drug maker also declined to say whether the mailing boosted Januvia sales.

CVS said the union group's actions are rooted in a dispute about workplace rules. The unions represent several thousand CVS workers. The Woonsocket, R.I., company said the unions have been attacking CVS for more than a year, including objecting to two recent acquisitions.

Januvia is as much as eight times more expensive than many other diabetes treatments, according to a recent study. Some medical experts say patients may not need the drug and may respond just as well to older, cheaper treatments.

The CVS letter was previously reported by Phoenix Business Journal.

Change to Win says the Januvia letter is an example of CVS putting its interests ahead of the businesses that pay it to manage employee prescription-drug benefits. CVS became a big player in the pharmacy-benefits business when it acquired Caremark, then the nation's second-largest PBM, for about $27 billion in 2007.

A Merck spokeswoman said the Whitehouse Station, N.J., company paid for the mailing "to help inform physicians about additional treatment options." She added that "no personal information about patient participants in the plan are provided to Merck." The letters were sent by CVS Caremark, not Merck.

CVS said it does not improperly try to switch patients to more expensive drugs and protects the privacy of plan participants' health information. As for the Januvia mailing, CVS said it was part of a program to provide information to physicians and that doctors make the ultimate decision about prescribing a drug.

Employers and insurers hire PBMs with the goal of keeping costs low while providing access to a wide range of treatments.

In recent years, PBMs have been accused of favoring drugs that generate rebates and high profit margins. Six years ago, some patients complained about a letter from Longs Drug Stores urging the patients to switch to a new version of the osteoporosis treatment Fosamax. That mailing also was paid for by Merck.

The union campaign, set to be announced Friday, comes as CVS's PBM business has struggled. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, announced last month, revenue in the PBM unit fell about 1% to $10.6 billion.

Change to Win's executive director, Chris Chafe, said the goal of the CVS campaign is to change state laws to force PBMs to disclose to customers all payments or rebates they receive from drug companies; limit the amount of patient information the PBMs can disclose; and require that any switching of drugs results in lower costs for PBM customers.

Mr. Chafe said CVS was targeted because of its large role in the retail drug business and the PBM industry, and because the company manages prescription benefits of many union members. Change to Win's members include the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union.

Write to David Armstrong at

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And Now for the Rest of the Story

Just this past Sunday (9 November, 2008) I posted this article on Natural Health News: Boosting Drug Sales with Studies.

I added one follow-up article earlier today, and now I am happy to give you something to think about in terms of why sound nutrition is a better option than wholesale use of drugs. Supplements certainly do edge out the pharmaceuticals in this study.

You'll also see how it is totally possible to fool a lot of the people a lot of the time -
Why treat nutritional deficiency with drugs?
(OMNS, November 13, 2008) A recent study suggested that statins might be used to avoid the effects of nutritional deficiency. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Jupiter group described a study of statin drugs in people with high C-reactive protein and low cholesterol. (1) High C-reactive protein levels are associated with inflammation and heart disease/stroke. The authors concluded that, in apparently healthy persons with elevated C-reactive protein levels, rosuvastatin (Crestor) significantly reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.

Their much-publicized claim, that this statin lowers the risk of heart attack by approximately one half, is technically correct though highly misleading. The reported annual incidence of coronary events was 37 people in 10,000 (controls) and 17 people in 10,000 (treated). Similar results were reported for risk of stroke. When expressed as a proportion, a 46% improvement (17/37) sounds large. However, an improvement of 20 events (37-17) in 10,000 people known to be at risk is less impressive. Such an improvement means that 500 people (10,000/20) with this increased risk would need to take the tablet daily for a year, to prevent one person suffering an event.

The paper does not explicitly report deaths. One reason for this may be that if a person on statins suffered a heart attack, that person was about three times more likely to die than a control who was not on statins.

The cost of rosuvastatin per person is approximately $1000 per year. So, treating enough people to prevent one heart attack costs $500,000 per year. Since about 70% of the heart attacks were not fatal, prevention of a single death from heart attack would cost even more, approximately $1,700,000. Giving the benefit of the doubt, we may allow for a similar reduction in stroke and say that "only" $250,000 is needed to protect one person from a stroke or heart attack. It is hardly surprising that Astra Zeneca's share price increased by $1.3 billion dollars on release of this paper and the corresponding media hype. (2)

The media suggested millions of healthy people could cut their risk of heart disease by taking statins. (3) They also claimed that statins could cut the risk of heart attack for "everyone". (4) This is inaccurate and incorrect. The study did not include normal healthy people, only a sample of a relatively small number of people, suffering from inflammation (increased C-reactive protein) - a known cause of heart disease and stroke. Out of 89,890 people considered for inclusion, 17,802 people (19.8%) met the specific criteria of poor health for the study. Widespread prescription of statins to healthy people is not supported by these findings.

The fact that statins produce a modest improvement is unsurprising, since they are known to lower inflammation, as do many nutritional supplements. It has pointed out that Crestor lowered C-reactive protein by 37%, but vitamin E lowers it (C Reactive Protein) by 32%, (5) and vitamin C by 25.3%. (6,7) These effects are similar to those of statins and would be expected to provide comparable benefits, without side effects and at a lower cost.

Crestor and other statin drugs have serious side effects. The incidence of established side-effects, such as rhabdomyolysis (0.3 per 10,000 per year), myopathy (1.1 per 10,000) and peripheral neuropathy (1.2 per 10,000 per year) seems low, (8) but may be underestimated as it takes time to establish long-term side-effects. (The depletion of coenzyme Q10 by statins is a particular concern.) The figures imply that for every ten people who avoid a cardiovascular event, at least one previously healthy person will suffer a non-trivial side effect of the statin drug.

The doctors reported a statistically significant increase (270) in diabetes in the statin group compared to the placebo group (216). Over the course of the study, this corresponds to an increased risk of approximately 61 in 10,000 people. So, the number of people on statins reported to become diabetic was greater than the number that avoided a heart attack! These people might have shorter lives and be at greater risk of heart disease in the long term.

Notably, the Jupiter study was stopped early, which the authors admit prevents assessment of how side-effects might outweigh reported benefits in the longer term. The study was to last 3-5 years and the criteria for stopping were not included in the original published design. (9) The paper claims that when the study was stopped "these [diabetic] events were not adjudicated by the end-point committee". The committee either knew about the diabetes in which case it was considered, or it did not and the committee was not doing its job properly.

The Jupiter name stands for Justification for the Use of statins in Prevention: an Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin; the reader might think this "justification" sounds more like a marketing plan than a scientific endeavor. The researchers did not address the underlying cause of the inflammation and increased C-reactive protein: they simply treated the condition with drugs. In many cases, raised C-reactive protein is a result of nutritional deficiency. (10)

It is worth mentioning that several nutritional supplements inhibit inflammation and lower C-reactive protein, without causing known side effects. Deficiency in vitamins A, (11) B6, C, E, A, folate, carotenoids and lycopene, (12) and selenium (for example) is associated with raised C-reactive protein. (13,14,15) We suggest that the $250,000 cost of preventing a single cardiovascular event with rosuvastatin might be better spent funding a study of such inexpensive alternatives the deficiency of which may be the cause of the problem.

The people at risk could be encouraged to supplement their diet and restore their health without using these expensive drugs to conceal their underlying sickness.

Stick with the supplements!


(1) Ridker P.M. Danielson E. Fonseca F.A.H. Genest J. Gotto A.M. Kastelein J.J.P. Koenig W. Libby P. Lorenzatti A.J. MacFadyen J.G. Nordestgaard B.G. Shepherd J. Willerson J.T. Glynn R.J. for the JUPITER Study Group (2008) Rosuvastatin to Prevent Vascular Events in Men and Women with Elevated C-Reactive Protein, NEJM, 359(21), 2195-2207.

(2) Mail Online (2008) Crestor news helps AstraZeneca market value leap by more than £1.3bn, 9:25 PM, 10th Nov.

(3) Smith R. (2008) Millions could cut heart attack risk by taking statins, study finds,, 7:55AM GMT, 10 Nov.

(4) Hope J. (2008) The new statin drug that cuts the risk of heart attacks and strokes for EVERYONE, Daily Mail, 11th Nov.

(5) Devaraj S. Tang R. Adams-Huet B. Harris A. Seenivasan T. de Lemos J.A. Jialal I. (2007) Effect of high-dose alpha-tocopherol supplementation on biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation and carotid atherosclerosis in patients with coronary artery disease, Am J Clin Nutr, 86(5), 1392-1398.

(6) Block G. Jensen C.D. Dalvi T.B. Norkus E.P. Hudes M. Crawford P.B. Holland N. Fung E.B. Schumacher L. Harmatz P. (2008) Vitamin C treatment reduces elevated C-reactive protein, Free Radic Biol Med, Oct 10. [Epub]

(7) Sardi B. (2008) The Headline You Should Be Reading: Statin Drugs Don't Save Lives And May Increase Your Risk For Diabetes, Knowledge of Health Report, Nov 11.

(8) Law M. Rudnicka A.R. Statin Safety: A Systematic Review, The American Journal of Cardiology, 97(8), Suppl 1, S52-S60.

(9) Ridker P.M. JUPITER Study Group (2003) Rosuvastatin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease among patients with low levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein: rationale and design of the JUPITER trial, Circulation, 108(19), 2292-2297.

(10) Ford E.S. Liu S. Mannino D.M. Giles W.H. Smith S.J. (2003) C-reactive protein concentration and concentrations of blood vitamins, carotenoids, and selenium among United States adults, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57, 1157-1163.

(11) Root M.M. Hu J. Stephenson L.S. Parker R.S. Campbell T.C. (1999) Determinants of plasma retinol concentrations of middle-aged women in rural China. Nutrition 15, 101-107.

(12) Boosalis M.G. Snowdon D.A. Tully C.L. Gross M.D. (1996): Acute phase response and plasma carotenoid concentrations in older women: findings from the nun study, Nutrition, 12, 475-478.

(13) Friso S. Jacques P.F. Wilson P.W. Rosenberg I.H. Selhub J.(2001) Low circulating vitamin B(6) is associated with elevation of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein independently of plasma homocysteine levels, Circulation, 103(23), 2788-2791.

(14) Devaraja S. Jialal I. (2000) Alpha tocopherol supplementation decreases serum C-reactive protein and monocyte interleukin-6 levels in normal volunteers and type 2 diabetic patients, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 29(8), 790-792.

(15) Upritchard J.E. Sutherland W.H. Mann J.I. (2000): Effect of supplementation with tomato juice, vitamin E, and vitamin C on LDL oxidation and products of inflammatory activity in type 2 diabetes, Diabetes Care, 23, 733-738.

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Low Cholesterol Risks

Professionals only supplements resources that I rely on in my clinical work usually publish reports on studies of natural supplements that help health concerns.

While most hear about how high cholesterol is so bad and how many risky drugs you need, often you don't hear that low cholesterol can impair your immune function or defer review of other more risky markers. Triglycerides included.

I've educated on triglyceride issues for so long it seems funny to me that its just hitting headlines. Still its not prominent in the media to equal the risk to your health.

The real warning should be that yes, high triglycerides will kill you.
The Deadly Truth about Low Cholesterol
It’s a common misconception with fatal consequences: Many people still believe that low total cholesterol levels mean you’re not at risk for stroke, heart attack, or any of the other deadly risks that come with cardiovascular disease.

But in reality, nothing could be further from the truth—and unless you’re paying close attention to one particular group of fats called triglycerides, your heart could be a ticking time bomb, no matter how healthy your cholesterol might look.

Triglycerides are naturally manufactured and stored by both your liver and fat cells. At normal levels, they’re a crucial source of energy for your body—but start producing more than you can store, and those excess triglycerides will be dumped into your bloodstream, where they can wreak havoc on your arteries, heart, pancreas, and liver.1

Studies have shown that abnormally high triglyceride levels raise your risk of heart attack threefold—and when accompanied by low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL, or “good” cholesterol), your risk jumps a staggering 16 times higher. In fact, this ratio is one of the single strongest predictors of heart attack risk, even more accurate than the better-known LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol) to HDL ratio.2 And it isn’t just your heart that suffers. Studies show that risk of stroke, obesity, diabetes, and liver disease are all linked to these dangerous fats.3-5

Keeping triglycerides in check is absolutely critical to your health—and a simple combination of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and a supplement blend™ can make all the difference. One recent trial showed that supplementing with fish oil daily slashed triglyceride levels by 46 percent in as little as eight weeks.6 And niacin boasts nearly five decades of research demonstrating that it not only reduces triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, but also increases HDL levels by up to 29 percent.7-8

Finally, be wary of your blood sugar: Numerous clinical trials have shown that refined carbs and sugar can actually double triglyceride production.9-10 Tossing sugary sodas and boosting protein intake can help.11 So can supplementing with natural blood sugar managing agents like bitter melon, goat’s rue and quercetin.12-13A comprehensive formulas like some we use in our work contain these ingredients along with several others, including cinnamon. Clinical trials reveal that this popular spice can reduce triglycerides by 23 to 30 percent.14


1. Webster’s New World Medical Dictionary, 3rd edition, William Schiel, Jr, MD, Author, 2008, Webster publishing.

2. Gaziano, JM., Hennekens, CH. Fasting triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, and the risk of myocardial infarction. Circulation. 1997 Oct 21; 96(8):2520-5.

3. Grundy, SM., Cleeman, JI., Merz, CN., Brewer, HB, Jr., Clark, LT., Implications of recent clinical trials for the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. Circulation. 2004 Jul 13; 110(2):227-39. Review. Erratum in: Circulation. 2004 Aug 10; 110 6):763.

4. Tanne, D., Koren-Morag, N., Graff, E. Blood lipids and first-ever ischemic stroke/transient ischemic attack in the Bezafibrate Infarction Prevention (BIP) Registry: high triglycerides constitute an independent risk factor. Circulation. 2001 Dec 11; 104(24):2892-7.

5. Kadikoylu G, Yavasoglu I, Bolaman Z. Plasma exchange in severe hypertriglyceridemia, a clinical study. Transfus Apher Sci. 2006 Jun; (3):253-7.

6. Vega GL, Chandalia M, Szczepaniak LS, Grundy SM. Effects of N-3 fatty acids on hepatic triglyceride content in humans. J Investig Med. 2008 Jun; 56(5):780-5.

7. Crouse, JR. 3rd. new developments in the use of niacin for treatment of hyperlipidemia: new considerations for use of an old drug. Coron Artery Dis. 1996 Apr; 7 (4):321-6.

8. Drexel H. Nicotinic acid in the treatment of hyperlipidaemia. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Nov;21 Suppl 2:5-6.

9. Teff, KL., Elliott, SS., Tschop, M., Dietary fructose reduces circulating insulin and leptin, attenuates postprandial suppression of ghrelin, and increases in triglycerides in women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jun;89(6):2963-72.

10. Furtado, JD., Campos, H., Appel, LJ., Miler, ER. Effects of protein, unsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intakes on plasma apolipoprotein B and VLDL and LDL containing apolipoprotein C-III: results from the OmniHeart Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jun;87 (6): 1623-30.

11. Parks, EJ., Skokan, LE. , Timlin., Dingfelder, CS. Dietary sugars stimulate fatty acid synthesis in adults. J. Nutr. 2008 Jun: 138 (6): 1039-46.

12. Sridhar MG, Vinayagamoorthi R, Arul Suyambunathan V, Bobby Z, Selvaraj N. Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) improves insulin sensitivity by increasing skeletal muscle insulin-stimulated IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation in high-fat-fed rats. Br J Nutr. 2008 Apr;99(4):806-12.

13. Rivera L, Morón R, Sánchez M, Zarzuelo A, Galisteo M. Quercetin ameliorates metabolic syndrome and improves the inflammatory status in obese zucker rats. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Sep;16(9):2081-7.

14. Anderson RA. Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proc Nutr Soc. 2008 Feb;67(1):48-53.

Unwarranted And Unwise: Mandatory HPV Vaccination

For well over a year we have been alerting readers of Natural Health News to the risks of the HPV vaccines, the problematic side effects, and the fact that for the most part it is unproven and that HPV more often than not clears on its own. We also believe it should not be mandatory, that there are no studies of long term effects, and several natural therapy approaches are available.

You can locate our prior posts on vaccines and Gardasil via the search function on Natural Health News.

Now we find that a number of experts agree.

Mandatory HPV Vaccination Is Unwarranted And Unwise, According to Experts

ScienceDaily (2008-11-12) -- A new article in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics suggests that it is premature for states to currently mandate the HPV vaccine as a condition for school attendance. Gardasil is relatively new and long-term safety and effectiveness in the general population is unknown, experts point out. ... > read full article

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Doctors: Disclose Off-label Prescribing To Patients

There exists a culture today in mainstream medicine, and sadly in the hybrid called naturopathic medicine, to treat patients like objects. Failing to explain medications or treatments is one of the missing links and a basic but forgotten ethic of health care practice.

There are just too many people who have not understanding of why they are given a drug for a symptom or what the drug or treatment might do or the adverse effects.

Arrogance fails to heal: Here take this drug, maybe it will make you sicker or kill you, but we're not telling.

Roulette anyone?
ScienceDaily (Nov. 11, 2008) — Doctors should be required to disclose when they are prescribing drugs off-label, argues a new article in this week's PLoS Medicine. Michael Wilkes and Margaret Johns from the University of California Davis argue that the ethics related to informed consent and shared decision-making provide an imperative for doctors to inform patients about the risks of a medical treatment when their use has not been approved by regulators.

Off-label prescriptions are those that do not comply with the use approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the drug. While off-label prescribing is legal and accounts for roughly half of all prescriptions currently written in the US, it is often not supported by sound scientific evidence. Worse, say the authors, off-label prescribing can put patients at risk and drive up healthcare costs.

The public often assumes that all common uses of prescription drugs have been approved by the FDA, say the authors. But current law does not prevent doctors from prescribing a drug to any patient for any use whether it was approved for this use or not.

And while off-label prescribing is common and sometimes necessary (as in the area of paediatrics where many drugs have not been tested on children), Wilkes and Johns argue that off-label prescribing can also pose potentially serious risks. By definition no governmental body has conducted a review of the effectiveness or safety of the drug for the off-label use, they say. As a result, an off-label prescription may be ineffective or detrimental, and could be more costly than existing drugs.

Wilkes and Johns argue that the strict requirement that doctors obtain informed consent from patients before enrolling in a research study means they should obtain the same consent when a drug is being prescribed off-label as each such prescription is just like a mini research study. The contemporary expectation for shared decision-making between doctors and patients also supports full disclosure about off-label prescribing, leaving the option open for patients to opt for a drug which has received FDA approval for the condition in question.

"From an ethical perspective," say Wilkes and Johns, "[what is required is] open, honest discussions where doctors tell their patients that the use of the drug will be off-label and thus not approved for this indication, explain the risks, potential benefits, and alternatives, and then ask patients for their permission to proceed."

A recent PLoS Medicine paper ( described techniques by which drug companies covertly promote off-label use. Adriane Fugh-Berman (Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC) and Douglas Melnick (a preventive medicine physician working in North Hollywood, California) discussed the use of "decoy indications" and drug representatives to engage in illegal pharmaceutical marketing. Pharmaceutical marketing, they say, has "distorted the discourse on off-label uses and encouraged the unmonitored, potentially dangerous use of drugs by patients for whom risks and benefits are unknown."

"Companies that engage in off-label promotion should be heavily fined and their future marketing practices subject to increased scrutiny by regulatory agencies," say Fugh-Berman and Melnick.

Journal reference: Wilkes M, Johns M. Informed consent and shared decision-making: A requirement to disclose to patients off-label prescriptions. PLoS Med, 5(11): e223

Public Library of Science (2008, November 11). Doctors Should Disclose Off-label Prescribing To Their Patients, Experts Argue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 12, 2008, from /releases/2008/11/081110223328.htm

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

America Recycles Day November 15

I live in a very small town in the midst of wheat fields. We have limited recycling. Our sister town ten miles down the road has no recycling.

Twenty six miles down the road is one cool recycling center and thanks to Andy Boyd, they recycle almost everything.

So if you don't have recycling where you live, look around and see if you can't find a site close to where you live.

I've been recycling since the 60s and I think it is worth the time.
Simple Recycling Guide to Get You Ready for America Recycles Day
Help Save Natural Resources

"In Beverly Hills... they don't throw their garbage away. They make it into television shows." ~Woody Allen

Americans generate almost twice the amount of trash of other developed countries -- a whopping 4 pounds of garbage per person everyday. That's 301,139,947 U.S. residents producing just about four pounds of trash each, equaling 1,204,559,788 pounds or 602,280 tons of trash each day...the weight of about 580,000 Liberty Bells.
recycling symbols number 1 for plastics, pet plastic

The U.S. currently has approximately 3,000 active landfills. Buried and forgotten (unless you live near one), the trash that each American creates leads to water contamination, land erosion, methanol off-gassing, and disgusting odors. (Peee-euw!) Much of this waste within landfills actually retards bio-degradation, therefore defeating their intentions.

An overhaul to landfill systems, recycling, making producers and manufacturers responsible for the end-life of their products, biodegradable packaging, and learning to adjust the way we as individuals consume are all part of the long-term solution. But when it comes down to it, it's our own responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle, and to become more educated about the long-term consequences of landfills, and the endless benefits offered by up-cycling and recycling paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, scrap metal and fabric.

On America Recycles Day, November 15, we remember that although 75% of trash is recyclable, only 25% actually gets recycled. Curbside recycling makes it easy for households to be part of the solution. It's easy to divert materials from landfills and incinerators. Here are some things to consider when you're recycling.


When adequately exposed to the elements, paper decomposes completely in 2-5 months. But if thrown away as regular trash, once the plastic bag itself eventually deteriorates in about 20 years, then maybe the paper entombed inside the plastic trash bag will finally have its chance to decompose as well. Sadly, paper -- in all its many shapes and sizes -- amounts to almost half of what we end up sending to landfills. However, if Americans recycled just one tenth of their paper, it would save 25 million trees a year.

If you read anything in print you should know that the act of recycling paper decreases the demand for virgin pulp, thereby reducing the devastation of forests, and the overall amount of air and water pollution created during the manufacture of the paper. It's always best to separate paper into white office paper, newspaper, cardboard, and mixed-color paper, and tie each type separately. Once sorted and bundled, carry the items to be picked up curbside at the appropriate time on the designated days for your community.


In 1988, the American Society of the Plastics Industry developed the resin identification code that is used to indicate the most common polymer materials used in the manufacture of a product or in packaging to assist recyclers with sorting the collected materials.

To check the recyclability of a plastic item, look to see if there's a Universal Recycling Symbol (URS--usually on the bottom). Next, look to see if there's a number inside the triangle. The numbers are meant to give us a leg up on what kinds of resins were used. If there is no number, then the material is considered "generically recyclable" (in which case there are codes beneath or near the triangle indicating the materials used). Each number, from 1 to 7 indicates what type of polymer was used.

At the moment it's only economically viable to recycle items with a URS triangle with the No. 1, which is PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) or No. 2, which is HDPE (high-density polyethylene). But scattered across our great nation, local recycling programs are stretching the range of plastics that might be recycled as the technology to do so becomes available. (It takes 20 years for a plastic bag to decompose but up to 250 years for a plastic cup to decompose.)


Glass that finds its way into recycling systems is usually comprised of clear, green, and brown bottles and broken glassware -- and when recycled the process uses less energy and produces less carbon dioxide than manufacturing glass from scratch. (A glass bottle takes 4,000 years or more to decompose, or even longer if it's in the landfill.)


Aluminum may be reused by simply re-melting the metal. That's energy efficient and a lot less expensive than making new. (It takes 500 years for an aluminum can to decay.)

Scrap Metal

Aluminum lawn chairs, bicycles, cabinets, chain link and wire fencing, doors, grills, household appliances, iron furniture, lawn mowers (with oil and gas drained) metal sheds (disassembled), railings, refrigerators and freezers (doors must be removed), sewing machines, shower stalls, swing sets, wire clothes sometime they all become scrap. Instead of sending then to the dump consider a curbside scrap metal collection. When arranged in advance, pickup is often free and made on your regular recycling day. (Don't place your scrap metal items into your blue bin.)


The best way to recycle fabric is to contribute your old duds to a charitable organization. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste, Americans have dumped over 9 million tons of just about anything with a thread count into landfills nationwide.

When you donate your unwanted, unraveling, or otherwise thread-worn garments to your favorite charity -- even though it probably won't end up resold as clothing for someone in need -- it will probably have a very green reincarnation through re-sale to individuals and textile recyclers.

Unfortunately, no man or woman comes with an operational manual (well, at least I've never found mine!) Turning a new leaf to becoming "green" can seem overwhelming. By not considering our carbon footprint, spending habits, and waste, we're all adding to global warming by not recycling. Locate the recycling guide provided by your city, state or county (the regulations change from region to region) and keep it handy.

When it comes to cleaning your recyclables, to prevent critters or bugs, it's fine to rinse your metal cans, glass and plastic containers. But no need to go nuts -- the heat used during the recycling process deals with many contaminants.

As it says on the Liberty Bell, "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof." By working together, our actions will produce a healthier land and a healthier environment for all the inhabitants thereof.

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