Copyright, pesticides, mercury, sunscreen and rocket fuel

A mixed bag today. One important item for writers is the Canadian government’s Copyright Consultations: the public is invited to participate in guiding the government’s moves to reform copyright legislation. If you are a writer and would like to be paid for what you create, put your oar in between July 20 and September 13, or forever hold your peace.

The Environmental Working Group has many useful guides on its website, including the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which I’ve mentioned before – it shows which fruits and vegetables are high in pesticide residues, and which, if you can’t afford everything organic, are relatively low if farmed conventionally. The missing piece of the puzzle is the relative nutritional value of the organic vs industrial products, as organic (especially small scale) is generally better in that regard.

I hadn’t seen the EWG’s guide to safe tuna consumption though. It makes the point that albacore – the more sustainable choice from a fishery point of view (if line-caught) – is actually higher in mercury than the other type they mention (light – which according to this is probably skipjack) and the recommended consumption of albacore is less than half that of light. While you’re packing your wallet with sustainability guides, here’s another one that lists mercury content in fish.

The sunscreen guide (offered through the EWG’s Skin Deep – cosmetic safety site) is also very useful, as it’s bewildering to choose from all the brands on offer these days; and there’s so much weird information circulating about sunscreen. Now that there are rumours of cancers being linked to sunscreen use, it’s worth a look. This piece, from the EWG’s discussion of the research, caught my eye:

Controlled studies comparing sunscreen users with non-users indicate that sunscreen can reduce the risk of squamous-cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer. There is little substantial evidence, however, that sunscreen reduces the risk of the other common types of skin cancer, basal-cell carcinoma and melanoma.

In other words, as we’ve been hearing for ages, no matter what and how much you slather on, you still have to cover up, wear a hat, and limit exposure.

EWG has many other tools and tips on the website but I liked this Everyday Pollution Solutions, which offers suggestions to simplify and detoxify your life. Though its mention of rocket fuel (perchlorate) contamination of drinking water gives one more thing to worry about.

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