Author Archives: Project Green Challenge

About Project Green Challenge

Project Green Challenge is a powerful, diverse, and far-reaching movement inspiring young people to take action and protect our planet. This October, Teens Turning Green is energizing high school and college students across the country to participate in Project Green Challenge, a 30-day green lifestyle initiative. The Challenge will raise awareness about conscious living, informed consumption and the collective impact of each of our actions. With the guidance of eco experts, industry leaders and the PGC Guide to Living Green, participants will discover how fun, easy and effective eco living can be.

Shop Responsibly on Green Gift Monday


Shop Responsibly on Green Gift Monday


With the holidays quickly rolling in are you gearing up to begin shopping for gifts? If so we encourage you to give meaningful gifts that will actually help the earth’s environment and you can do so by participating in Green Gift Monday on November 28th.

Directly coinciding with Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, The Nature Conservancy is encouraging you to find gifts that have a deeper meaning and are responsible. A few ideas include sending an e-card, making something, giving an experience, donating to a cause in someone’s honor, or purchasing something that is eco-friendly. And if you are still not sure what green gift you can give all you have to do is head over to Green Gift Monday where you will find a Green Gift Guide as well as DIY gift ideas.  We also suggest you head over to the Teens Turning Green page where you can purchase an eco lifestyle gift bag with 100% of the proceeds going to fund our Project Green Challenge 2012!  Help change a teens life… and the world while you’re at it!

To hold yourself accountable to sticking with your sustainable lifestyle as you shop join the thousands of supporters by taking the pledge to give the gift of green this holiday season.

Happy responsible shopping!

The TTG Staff 🙂

Your Guide to a Green Thanksgiving


Your Guide to a Green Thanksgiving


It can be easy to forget being green in the midst of the menu-planning, grocery-buying and family networking that precedes most Thanksgiving celebrations. But with all the effort, time and money you put into this yearly tradition, why not make your Thanksgiving a little greener? We’ve compiled six ways to bring sustainability into your holiday – without skimping on the festive fun.

Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving dinner, dinner, dinner party, family dinner, chicken leg, turkey leg, drumstickUsing your day-after leftovers in creative recipes like soups, sandwiches and breakfasts is the No. 1 way to reduce holiday food waste. Photo: Flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography

1. Go low-waste

On a day where copious amounts of food are as commonplace as football and family togetherness, reducing waste can seem next to impossible. But creating a low-waste Thanksgiving is easier than you think. We chatted with Emily Vaughn, associate program manager for Slow Food USA – a Brooklyn-based nonprofit on a mission to change the way America thinks about food – and came up with these four quick and easy tips to shrink holiday waste.

READ: Meet the New $5 Value Meal

  • Shop in your pantry: “Before you even start to make a menu, take stock of what you have,” suggests Vaughn. Using what you have on hand keeps prices down in the kitchen and reduces waste. Take inventory of what’s in your fridge, freezer and cupboards and build your shopping list around what you find.
  • Use it up: One-third of food in America goes to waste, adding up to 15 percent of what’s in our landfills, according to Slow Food USA. Fight back against food waste by using every bit, like incorporating vegetable scraps and inner meats in stocks, gravies and sauces. Check out our library of reuse ideas for food scraps, and don’t forget to compost what’s left.
  • Have a leftover plan: Sure, you could feed the family turkey and stuffing for five straight days. But why not incorporate your Thanksgiving leftovers into innovative recipes for added variety? Slow Food USA provides a library of day-after recipes in their Thanksgiving Guide to help you make the most of all your leftovers.
  • Take a look at your energy use: “People tend to think more of physical waste on Thanksgiving, which is very valid,” Vaughn says. “Another thing you can think of is how energy efficient you’re being with your cooking.” If you have several dishes that need to be in the oven at the same temperature, put them in at the same time to reduce energy use (and prep time!). And start with some of your ingredients at room temperature, like butter, to reduce stove-top melting time.

2. All about the turkey

Turkey is the main component for many Thanksgiving meals. But have you thought about the impact your main course has on the planet? This year, 99.99 percent of Thanksgiving turkeys will be the same breed, the broad-breasted white, and most will be produced from industrialized farming, says Vaughn.

Farming practices for most industrially-bred turkeys can be harmful to the birds and surrounding environments, she explains. And drawing turkeys from a narrow gene pool can also pose a threat to American turkey production in the future, as close breeding increases the risk of pervasive diseases and pests on large-scale farms.

READ: Is Raising Chickens Right for You?

So, do I have to skip the turkey this year? No way. Just pick out a turkey with a conscience!

Vaughn suggests heritage turkeys as an alternative to mass-produced grocery store picks. Heritage turkeys, or breeds that have been kept consistent since the mid-20th Century, are typically cultivated by small farmers for generations. Rather than pumping turkeys full of artificial additives to increase hardiness and growth, heritage farmers carefully choose different breeds with the best traits and mate them together.

Over time, heritage farming practices produce turkeys that are naturally strong, self-sufficient and resistant to disease. These breeds are typically much tastier, too.

“The people who are taking time to do this work are doing so because they’re passionate about it and they believe that it’s the right thing,” Vaughn says. “But farmers can’t do this as a community service, they need our support. They need for people to be contentious about the way that they’re purchasing.”

Check out Slow Food USA’s heritage turkey directory to find a breeder near you. But keep in mind that heritage breeds are a little pricier than your standard Thanksgiving turkey. Most grocery store turkeys sell for about $1 per pound, while heritage turkeys can cost upwards of $5 per pound.

For a planet-friendly turkey that won’t break the bank, try other alternatives like organic, free-range or pastured turkeys instead, and buy from a local farmer whenever possible, suggests Vaughn. Not sure how to decode all those labels? Consult Slow Food USA’s quick guide below.

  • Certified Organic/Certified Naturally-Grown: A turkey that has been fed organic feed for its whole life and has never been treated with antibiotics.
  • Pastured: Turkeys that have been raised outdoors with ample space to move around.
  • Free-Range: A turkey that was free of confinement for its whole life but may have been kept in a barn.

3. Vegetarian alternatives

If you or someone on your guest list is vegetarian or vegan, choosing a main course can seem difficult. Sure, you could bake up a “tofurkey.” But why not plan a mouth-watering main based around local ingredients instead?

“Some things you can look to are anything pumpkin-based,” suggests Vaughn.

Pumpkin, which can be found locally and in-season in most regions of the country, is rich, filling and hearty – as you’d want any Thanksgiving main course to be. The tasty fall gourd is also very diverse, with applications ranging from breads to stuffings to pastas. Check out some of our tips and tricks to treat the pumpkin right.

Not a pumpkin fan? Head to Slow Foods USA’s Thanksgiving Guide for other vegetarian options that will leave guests wanting more.

READ: 4 Alternative Thanksgiving Celebrations

“Another thing that a lot of my vegetarian friends really miss is that savoriness [of Thanksgiving gravy],” Vaughn says. To create gravies that rival the savory flavor of their meat-rich counterparts, start with ingredients like mushrooms to cultivate a palate-pleasing bite.

4. Choose local

Most Thanksgiving staples, like sweet potatoes, onions and pumpkins, can be found locally and in-season in most parts of the country. But to bump up the volume of your all-local menu, seek out indigenous meat and vegetable breeds that may be at risk of extinction.

SEE: How to Cook for Compost on Thanksgiving

“[In many parts of the green scene], it’s all about reduce, reduce, reduce,” says Vaughn. “With food, especially with endangered foods, one of the best things to do is to eat them. If we don’t create a market for these foods, we’re going to lose them from our fields and plates.”

To maintain a market for endangered meat and produce picks, Slow Food USA started its U.S. Ark of Tasteprogram – which catalogs more than 200 at-risk foods from all regions of the country. Use the list or ask questions at your local farmers market to find choices that are native to your region for a menu that’s as surprising as it is sustainable.

READ: Your Local Guide to Fall Produce

5. Ease big-day stress

The kitchen is bound to get a little hectic on Thanksgiving. But getting prepped early can help you spend more time in the family room and less time in the kitchen this year.

“There are so many things that you can completely prepare in advance and keep in the freezer, fridge or kitchen counter,” Vaughn says. Prepare all your pies and desserts a day or two ahead of time, and keep them in the freezer or on your kitchen counter until the big day arrives.

SEE: How to Save Food by Canning and Freezing

Vaughn also suggests prepping veggies for casseroles and sides the night before. So, on Thanksgiving, all you’ll have to do is assemble your sides and pop them in the oven.

To keep your veggies from going brown, put them in a sealable container, cover them with water and squeeze in a little citrus juice. Citrus keeps cut produce from oxidizing, which causes discoloration and a less-than-fresh flavor.

And to silence the inevitable “is it ready yet?” queries, prepare some easy snacks ahead of time. “Do yourself a favor the night before, and have something set out for you and your guests to munch on while you’re cooking,” Vaughn says. “It will be a much more painless process.”

READ: 8 Green Thanksgiving Tips

6. Eat on the cheap

As much as you love your family and friends, feeding the whole gang can get pricy. But luckily for you, Vaughn is full of suggestions to ease the burden on your wallet.

The myth that farmer’s markets are more expensive than grocery stores can keep some shoppers away from these neighborhood gems, Vaughn says. But in most cases, farmer’s markets are actually more affordable than large supermarket chains.

“If you’re a smart shopper and you shop seasonally and locally as much as possible, you will save money just by going to the famers market,” says Vaughn. Choosing items that are grown locally reduces the need for transportation, which shrinks the price (and footprint) of your meal.

READ: Go Loco for Local

Using vegetable scraps and the whole turkey, including inner meats, bones and fat, for stocks, sauces and gravies will also help you save a bundle of cash in the kitchen, as mass-produced picks can cost big bucks and homemade varieties are pretty much free.

Or try a potluck reduce money-related anxiety. “If you’re feeling like you can’t front the cost of the meal…invite everyone to bring one dish,” suggests Vaughn. “The cost isn’t borne by only one person, and you get to see a little bit about what everyone’s traditions are. It’s a great way to get to know your friends a little better.”

Have a few of your own Thanksgiving tips and tricks? Share them with Slow Food USA on Facebook andTwitter to help other families green their yearly traditions.

READ: Be Thankful, Be Green: Do’s & Don’ts for an Eco-Thanksgiving

Busting Myths: Vegan Fashion

Vegan Fashion: Compassionate Couture
By Lisa Capretto
Original Content  |  March 22, 2010
Vaute Couture founder Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart
Photo: Jon Cancelino
No one planned on Angelo, a baby lamb, being born. His mother had been raised to produce wool for clothing, but, along with several other sheep, had worn out her usefulness. Though pregnant, she was loaded onto a transport truck with the rest of her flock and sent for slaughter.

In the middle of the crowded transport truck, just a few short hours from being killed, baby Angelo was born. A woman shopping at an Italian market just a few doors down from the slaughterhouse approached the truck to get a closer look at the sheep as they were unloaded. She was shocked at seeing the newborn lamb and convinced the slaughterhouse manager to let her take him home. Today, Angelo lives at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York, far away from the fate of his mother’s flock.

Vaute Couture founder Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart shares this story to help explain her passionate support of all things vegan—even in fashion. Angelo’s experience taught her that there’s so much more going on behind the scenes of fashion than people are aware of and that every animal deserves a chance at life.

“Vegan isn’t just what you eat,” Leanne says. “It’s also how you dress and live while hoping to harm less.”

This basic premise is what led Leanne to launch Vaute Couture, her own line of vegan clothing. While conscientious fashion—being mindful of the earth (eco-friendly fashion) and human workers (fair trade, living wage, sweatshop-free)—is nothing new, consumers aren’t as well acquainted with vegan fashion and the need to be mindful of animals.

As a result, there are several myths about vegan fashion that are leading to muddled definitions, false assumptions and general confusion about what it means to dress vegan. Are you falling victim to misinformation?

Myth 1: Vegan is always about food.

“The most common thing I hear is: ‘I didn’t know that vegan extended to fashion. Can I eat the clothing?'” Leanne says. Vegan fashion has nothing to do with what you put in your mouth; rather it is about wearing apparel and accessories that are created without the use of any animal materials. That includes the obvious exclusion of fur and leather, as well as wool, shearling (sheepskin or lambskin), silk and angora (rabbit fur).

Myth 2: If animals aren’t killed for the sake of fashion, you can’t say there’s cruelty involved.

Leanne wastes no time disputing this myth, describing graphic and gruesome practices by some of the manufacturers she’s come across in her research:

  • Wool: Weeks after birth, most lambs have their ears punched and tails chopped, and most males are castrated—all without anesthetics. Shearing isn’t any better; it’s done for speed rather than precision and often results in bloody slashing and mutilation.
  • Down: Starting at 9 weeks old, baby geese are strung upside down and their feathers are ripped out. This happens every six weeks until they are sent to slaughter.
  • Fur: Fur comes from anal electrocution (literally sticking a metal rod in animals’ rectums and electrocuting them from the inside) or catching an animal in a steel-jaw leg-hold trap, which often leads to the animal trying to bite off its own limb to escape before the trapper finds it.

Myth 3: Vegan fashion is too expensive to actually wear.

Vegan fashion actually comes at many different price points, depending on the label that makes it. Whether you’re in the market for a $30 vegan bag or a $1,000 vegan coat, you can and will find something on any budget. “It’s a matter of scale,” Leanne says. “A small, independent label using cutting-edge fabrics will have higher costs per piece because they aren’t spreading out a large production run.”

Myth 4: It’s too hard to find vegan fashion, so it’s not a practical choice.

It may surprise you to hear that it’s likely you’ve already stumbled upon vegan fashion pieces at your favorite stores. Target, Bakers and Payless all sell vegan shoes, and even designers like Steve Madden and Stella McCartney are getting into vegan fashion with footwear and bags. If you seek it out—and even if you don’t—you’ll find it.

Myth 5: Vegan fashion is not fashionable.

Au contraire. From feminine pleated-skirt peacoats to beautiful bronze metallic T-strap pumps, vegan fashion isn’t just animal- and eco-friendly, it’s also stylish, sexy and chic from head to toe. The proof is in the pictures—check it out!

According to a report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, animal agriculture (raising animals for production) is the number one cause of global warming. It’s the largest contributor of greenhouse gases—more than all transportation combined. By opting for vegan fashions, Leanne says, you’re doing your part to make a difference for the world beyond your wardrobe. Here, she shares her tips for how you can do this practically, simply and on a budget.

Start Small

“Practically, just the little things make a huge difference,” Leanne says. Rather than throwing out all your clothes and restarting your style from scratch, simply make more vegan choices moving forward, like avoiding anything with fur (even trim). In addition, next time you’re out shopping at the department store or mall, keep an eye out for vegan bag and shoe options—they’re everywhere.

It’s also a good idea to surround yourself with other women who are living conscientiously and get tips from your favorites. Leanne’s favorite tip-sharing online newsletters include:

  • (for men)
  •, from Alicia Silverstone

Read Labels

Even though it’s not hard to find vegan clothing, you’ll still want to look at the labels to make sure what you’re buying is truly animal-free.

  • Materials to look for: waxed cotton (leather alternative), organic canvas, bamboo, hemp, tussah (silk alternative), acrylic, even plastic-based materials like recycled soda bottles!
  • Materials to avoid: angora (rabbit fur), cashmere (sheep), shearling (sheepskin), fur, leather, down

“Don’t forget to look for ‘all man-made materials’ on the inside of shoes and bags,” Leanne says. “Many shoes have leather soles and were made overseas, so you also want to educate yourself on words that mean ‘leather’ in other countries.” This includes “cuero” (Spanish), “cuoio” (Italian) and “cuir” (French).

Shop Smart

To keep your budget well balanced with all of these fashion temptations, Leanne suggests investing in quality pieces that you know you’ll wear often. “You can get dozens of wears out of a gorgeous, quality investment piece over multiple seasons, or you can get two wears out of a throwaway piece. Which is really more expensive?” she says. The goal is to create an edited closet rather than a pile of clothes, so think about the true price of clothing in terms of how often you can wear it.

Discover Great Fashion Finds

Looking for a little fashion eye candy? Check out this slideshow of stunning vegan apparel, from coats to tees: vegan fashion from Vaute Couture.

Pizza A Vegetable???


School lunch policy: Let them eat crud

By Mary Sanchez

November 21, 2011

See if you can score higher on this pop quiz than members of the U.S. Congress:

How much tomato paste must one slather onto a slice of pizza for it to qualify as a nutritionally adequate serving of vegetables for low-income schoolchildren?


A quarter cup? A half cup? Two tablespoons?

It’s a trick question. A tomato is actually a fruit. But let’s leave aside the horticultural definition and talk about how Congress failed the quiz. It chose 2 tablespoons, blocking sorely needed nutritional upgrades to the $11 billion federal school lunch programs. It did so because members’ brains (and quite possibly their bellies) are controlled by lobbyists.

Two tablespoons is about the amount of paste commonly found on the cardboard slices that pose as pizza in far too many school cafeterias. That amount will continue to qualify as a vegetable serving. Did I mention the frozen food lobby?

Let’s move on to another question. How many servings of potatoes, aka french fries, is it wise to serve to children before their diet becomes too laden with starch? Congress’ answer? An unlimited number!

And let’s not even go into the question of whether it is wise, as was suggested by the Department of Agriculture, that school lunches require at least half of the breads served each week be from whole grains. Congress pleaded ignorance, claiming it needed a better definition on what exactly is a whole grain.

In a healthier world, Congress should have argued for a different option. In January, theU.S. Department of Agriculture issued new guidelines for school lunches, as mandated by a 2004 act of Congress. The new rules called for limiting starchy vegetables, reducing sodium and raising the amount of tomato sauce that could be considered a vegetable serving, among other changes. The frozen pizza and french fry lobby was not pleased. According to The New York Times, the food industry spent $5.6 million lobbying against the new rules.

Clearly, all of Michelle Obama’s digging in the White House garden, among other attempts to steer the nation’s children toward fresh fruits and vegetables, just got clobbered. If anyone needs more evidence that the U.S. Congress is working on behalf of lobbyists, rather than in the best interests of the nation, this charade is it.

The nutritional guidelines for the National School Lunch Program hadn’t been updated in 15 years. During that time, obesity rates among children skyrocketed. One-third of American children are either overweight or obese, with rates of diabetes and other health-related issues also showing dangerous increases. Children receive about 40 percent of their daily calories from school lunches, so there is a connection.

The prepared foods and big agriculture industries were not the only ones pushing back against the new USDA rules. School officials, especially in big cities, were concerned about how the changes might affect their ability to feed needy students.

Reduced-cost and free lunch menus provide meals for 31 million children each school year. The federal government pays schools a maximum of $2.94 for each lunch served. The changes were expected to increase the costs of the school lunches by 14 cents — not a trifling amount when added up. School officials also wanted more flexibility, especially on issues such as the number of starches that would be allowed. For instance, baked potatoes are a nutritionally sound choice.

And, predictably, conservative ideologues added their anti-government bromides to the debate, lamenting the USDA rules’ incursion on “choice.”

Maybe if Congress had worked more to find middle ground with the American Association of School Administrators, the lawmakers might have found more leverage and courage to push back on the food lobbyists. They might even have shifted attitudes in the food industry about which food offerings can be profitable in cafeterias.

The connections between obesity and poverty and health problems are undeniable, and ignoring school lunch nutrition just makes them more expensive for the taxpayer. So, to the outcry that the federal government shouldn’t be telling schools what to serve in the cafeteria, here’s a parental reply: As long as we’re paying the bills for these programs, you’ll serve what we tell you to!

A strong argument can be made that healthier children are more ready to learn. Healthy children also have fewer school absences, are more engaged in their studies and quite possibly will behave better. Now, what educator would work against that outcome?

As any parent can attest, getting children to upgrade their food habits can be difficult. Temper tantrums, hiding the peas under the knife, tossing the unwanted fresh fruit into the trash, or choosing the higher calorie strawberry and chocolate milk are real issues.

Getting Congress to act the adult, to vote in the best interests of children, shouldn’t be an even more daunting task.

Baby’s Tub Still Toxic


We are always very proud of the work by the National Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, but this is an especially strong victory. Johnson & Johnson has announced a reformulation of its baby shampoo in direct response the Campaign’s work – a clear step in the right direction for the company, whole industry, and all of our health! Teens Turning Green is proud to have been a signer on the report and an ongoing collaborator with the Campaign. Please see the articles that we posted from Forbes and NY Daily News, as well. Spread the word. Here’s to more massive change!

Baby’s Tub Is Still Toxic by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

November 1st, 2011

More than two years after leading health and parents’ groups asked Johnson & Johnson to reformulate its flagship baby shampoo to remove a cancer-causing chemical,(i) the company is still using formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in some countries (including the U.S.), while formulas sold in other countries are free of these chemicals, according to this analysis conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Press release: Toxic Baby Shampoo: Johnson & Johnson Agrees to Global Reformulation Under Pressure from Health Groups (Nov. 1, 2011)

Why the double standard? Don’t all babies deserve to be protected from unnecessary exposures to carcinogens? We’re calling on Johnson & Johnson to stand up and make a commitment to remove formaldehyde from all its baby products in all the markets it serves.

Update! In response to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic, Johnson & Johnson released a statement on Oct. 31 saying it is phasing out formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from its baby products worldwide. See statement.

What We Found

Between July and October of 2011, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics purchased and reviewed labels of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in 13 countries to see if the products contained quaternium-15, a chemical preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde.

We found that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Indonesia contains quaternium-15, while Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. contain non-formaldehyde preservatives.

Obviously, it is possible for Johnson & Johnson to make baby shampoo without formaldehyde, and that’s what the company should be doing in all countries.

The Problem with Quaternium-15

Quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde into cosmetics products. Formaldehyde is classified as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services(ii) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The National Cancer Institute, the World Health Organization and the National Toxicology Program have all identified a possible link between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia.(iii,iv,v)

Formaldehyde and quaternium-15 are also potent allergens that can trigger rashes and other skin inflammation problems.(vi) The North American Contact Dermatitis Group considers quaternium-15 to be among the most clinically significant contact allergens in children.(vii)

Timeline of J&J Engagement

Leading health and environmental groups in the United States have sent letters and met with Johnson & Johnson executives several times over the past two and a half years to urge the company to reformulate its baby products to remove chemicals of concern, including quaternium-15.

  1. •March 2009: A report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, No More Toxic Tub, revealed that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, along with many other children’s bath products, contained two carcinogens—formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane—that were not listed on labels.
  2. •May 2009: More than 40 organizations representing 1.7 million parents, health care providers and environmental health advocateswrote to Johnson & Johnson, detailing their concerns about the toxic chemicals found in the company’s baby products.
  3. •September 2009: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics again wrote to Johnson & Johnson, asking the company to immediately remove the formaldehyde-releasing preservative quaternium-15 from its baby products in light of new research linking the chemical to increased rates of allergic contact dermatitis.
  4. •2009-2011: The American Nurses Association and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics met several times with Johnson & Johnson executives to discuss concerns about formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.
  5. •October 2011: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility and many other health and parents’ groups delivered another letterto Johnson & Johnson asking the company to commit to removing formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from all its children’s products in all markets worldwide by November 15, 2011.
  6. •In response to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic, Johnson & Johnson released a statement on Oct. 31, 2011 saying it is phasing out formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from its baby products worldwide.

What You Can Do

  1. 1.Vote with your dollar: Until Johnson & Johnson commits to making safer baby products for all babies, purchase products from companies making safer alternatives. Search EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetic database to find safer products.
  2. 2.Contact J&J: Ask Johnson & Johnson to immediately remove formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from all of its baby products sold in all countries and replace them with safer alternatives.
  3. 3.Write to Congress: Ask your U.S. Representative to support the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011.


i Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (2009). No More Toxic Tub: Getting Contaminants Out of Children’s Bath & Personal Care Products.

Letter to Johnson & Johnson, May 2009.

ii U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Report on Carcinogens. Available:

iii National Cancer Institute 2011. Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. Available:

iv Baan, Robert, et al on behalf of the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group (WHO/IARC). A review of human carcinogens—Part F: Chemical agents and related occupations. The Lancet Oncology, Volume 10, Issue 12, Pages 1143 – 1144, December 2009.

v Mackar, Robin. Expert Panel Recommends Listing Formaldehyde as Known Human Carcinogen.Environmental Factor, December 2009. Available:

vi Jacob, Sharon E.; Breithaupt, Andrew (2009). Environmental exposures, a pediatric perspective on allergic contact dermatitis. Skin & Aging, July 2009.

vii Moennich, Jessica N.; Hanna, Diane M.; Jacob, Sharon E. (2009). Formaldehyde-releasing preservative in baby and cosmetic products: Health risks related to exposure during infancy.Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association. 1(3):211-214, May/June 2009.

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For Immediate Release: November 1st, 2011



Stacy Malkan, 202-321-6963,; Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151,



Toxic Baby Shampoo: Johnson & Johnson Agrees to Global Reformulation Under Pressure from Health Groups

New report shows company making formaldehyde-free ‘No More Tears’ shampoo in some countries but not U.S.

San Francisco—More than two years after leading health and parents’ groups asked Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) to reformulate its flagship baby shampoo to remove a chemical that releases formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, the company is still using the formaldehyde-releasing ingredient in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in the United States, Canada and China, while making formaldehyde-free versions of the shampoo in several other countries, according to a new analysis conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

“Clearly there is no need for Johnson & Johnson to expose babies to a known carcinogen when the company is already making safer alternatives. All babies deserve safer products,” said Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund.

Yesterday, after Johnson & Johnson received word of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, the company released a statement saying it is no longer introducing new products with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and has reduced its use of the chemical by 60 percent in the U.S. market and 33 percent globally over the past few years.

“We know that some consumers are concerned about formaldehyde, which is why we offer many products without formaldehyde releasing preservatives, and are phasing out these types of preservatives in our baby products worldwide,” said the statement.

Archer commented, “We’re glad to see that the Johnson & Johnson is taking this seriously. This commitment is a big step in the right direction. We look forward to the day when we can tell consumers the company’s entire product line is free of carcinogens and other chemicals of concern.”

For the new analysis, entitled Baby’s Tub Is Still Toxic, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics purchased and reviewed labels of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in 13 countries to see if the products contained quaternium-15, a chemical preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde was recently added to the U.S. government list of known human carcinogens by the National Toxicology Program, under the Department of Health and Human Services. Formaldehyde and quaternium-15 are also potent allergens that can trigger rashes and other skin inflammation problems. According to a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association, quaternium-15 is “the most sensitizing formaldehyde-releasing preservative and has been repeatedly shown to be a strong allergen that can cause contact dermatitis.”

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics analysis reveals that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Indonesia contains quaternium-15, while Johnson’s Baby Shampoo formulas sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. contain non-formaldehyde preservatives.

“The American Nurses Association has adopted a precautionary approach based on the Precautionary Principle. In this application, even in the face of scientific uncertainty, if a chemical is strongly suspected of potential harm, it should be exchanged for a safer substitute,” said Amy Garcia M.S.N., R.N., C.A.E., Chief Programs Officer, Executive Office, American Nurses Association.

“Preventing toxic chemical exposures before they happen is the keystone of corporate responsibility. We call on Johnson & Johnson to remove carcinogenic formaldehyde from its products. It’s time to protect all children, regardless of their nationality,” said Peter Wilk, M.D., executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

In May 2009, ANA and PSR joined the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and many other health and environmental groups in formally asking Johnson & Johnson to reformulate its baby products after lab tests revealed that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo contained two carcinogens—formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane—that were not listed on labels.

In September 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics wrote again to Johnson & Johnson, asking the company to immediately remove the formaldehyde-releasing chemical quaternium-15 from its baby products in light of new research linking the chemical to increased rates of allergic contact dermatitis.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and ANA have since met several times with Johnson & Johnson executives to discuss these concerns.

In response to consumer demand, the company launched a new “natural” version of baby shampoo that does not contain chemicals associated with formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane. However, the original Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, which is priced at about one-half the cost of the new “natural” shampoo, has not been reformulated in the U.S. market.

Yesterday, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics—along with the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility and more than 20 other parents’ and health groups representing more than 3 million people—sent another letter to Johnson & Johnson, asking the company to remove formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from all its children’s products in all markets worldwide and replace them with safer alternatives. The letter asked for the company to make a commitment by November 15.

“While it is encouraging to see that Johnson & Johnson has made progress in formulating a safer ‘natural’ version of its iconic baby shampoo, now is the time for the company to rise to the occasion and make the safer products the world market is demanding for all its customers.” said Archer.


The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of more than 150 nonprofit organizations working to protect the health of consumers and workers by eliminating dangerous chemicals from cosmetics. Core members include: Clean Water Action, the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

Day Thirty: May Your Own


We have reached the LAST day of PGC. I cannot believe it. Wow, what a journey…


Check out Challenge Day 30! Here’s the intro and pop over toPGC to see the Green, Greener, Greenest Challenges and join us!


Over the past month, we have looked at twenty-nine of the world’s most pressing issues through a green lens. Environmental sustainability is a broad topic of global importance and we have examined it from numerous angles. Your innovative, comprehensive, and insightful responses to the challenges have wowed us. The dedication, passion, and creativity is truly remarkable… so, now we want to turn the tables! As you reflect on this month of green, was there a theme we did not touch on which you think would be a great addition to PGC 2012? Tell us! This is the opportunity to share thoughts and think through development of a new theme. We cannot wait to hear your ideas for engaging, fun, and informative challenges!

Green Schools



Global Green has such terrific content. Check out these great ideas of how you can start greening your school… and your life and workplace and world too!


Swap out old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs, saving you time buying and replacing bulbs, and an average of $30 or more in energy costs over the life of each bulb. Every CFL can prevent more than 450 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Every bit helps to reduce the risks of global climate change. Many local utility companies have free or reduced-cost exchange programs.

Organize school garden projects that engage students, teach about nutrition, and produce some food for their consumption (like they have at the White House). Create a school-wide composting program of cafeteria and food scraps. Composting provides a way not only of reducing the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of, but also of converting it into a product that is useful for gardening, landscaping, or house plants. Through basic and worm composting programs, students can learn about ecology, biology, and waste reduction.

Create a school recycling program. Recycle everything that cannot be reused; and encourage the purchase of items that can be recycled. A successful and meaningful recycling program must involve the whole campus — there is no teaching tool like the daily, hands-on practice of recycling everything that cannot be reused. By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.

You don’t have get too technical to teach students about energy use; you can simply take stock of where and how you’re using energy, by assessing where in the classroom energy is going (and being wasted). A simple energy audit can help out. How many lights are on? Is there heat or A/C? Do the computers get left on at night? Determine where you can cut back, then create a checklist kids can follow every day. You can help raise awareness by adjusting computer monitor settings, turning the lights off before recess, have a “lights-off” hour once per week, and so on.

There are many ways that green schools initiatives can support your school’s curriculum, with key tie-ins to science, math, social studies, and economics. Establish a strong link between energy and the environment. Protection of the environment is a strong motivator. Help students and adults understand that more than 80% of pollution results from the production, consumption, and disposal of energy — and that actions they take really do make a difference.

Create an educational display for your school on energy, efficiency, and/or environment. Track monthly energy savings or classroom behavior changes, and post them in a common area at school. Broadcast reminders over the school PA system each day to students, faculty, and staff, reminding them to turn off all unused equipment. Use the school¹s electronic marquee to display messages of conservation to the public. Have students attend PTA meetings to discuss the school’s energy conservation efforts.

Have students complete a walk-through energy audit of their homes. Make a list of energy problems in the home and suggest solutions, which students can bring home to their families. By modeling and discussing ways to save energy at home and at school, you can spread the energy-efficiency message to families and the community. Include practical and convenient energy saving tips in your school’s monthly newsletter as well.

Demand from school administrators and district personnel the right to know about environmental health issues such as pesticides, commercial cleaning products, lead, mold, indoor air quality (especially in portable classrooms), and industrial emissions at and around school. Advocate that schools use alternatives to pesticides, herbicides, and toxic cleaning materials whenever possible.

In California — where  one of every eight American students is educated — the Clean and Healthy Schools Act (AB821) was introduced by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D, Santa Monica) in February 2009 to require schools to usegreen cleaners. Following similar laws adopted in New York and Illinois, California has the opportunity to reduce exposures to toxic chemicals among students, teachers and staff. Send an email to support AB821 to your representative.

You can work with parents, students, teachers, principals, district staff, school board members, and advocacy groups to get your local school board to pass a framework resolution promoting sustainable and healthy schools. By organizing around a school board resolution, disparate local groups working on issues from pesticides in schools to environmental education can join forces and work together, both to get the resolution passed, and then to implement it.Download our letterto send to school officials urging them to make your school a green school.

Sign our letter to President Obama and urge him to push Congress to make green schools a high priority in the legislative and to urge local school districts and city councils, mayors, governors, and state legislators to utilize green standards for school construction.


Studies have shown that student test scores can improve up to 20% when kids learn in green classrooms that provide morenatural daylighting, improved classroom acoustics and healthier paints and carpets that don’t release toxic chemicals into the air.

Schools built with more natural daylight, better ventilation and healthy green building materials such as non VOC carpets and paints, can improve student and teacher healthand result in fewer sick days, higher teacher retention and improved student attendance.

Operating costs for energy and water can be reduced by 20% to 40%,allowing more money to be used for teacher salaries, textbooks and computers

Buildings can become teaching tools and important features of science, math, and environmental curriculumwhen green features and advanced technology and design in schools are used to excite kids about learning real world applications of green technologies.

Green Schools significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions.  In Los Angeles alone, building 34 new green schools will reduce 94,000 tons of CO2 or the equivalent of eliminating more than 15,000 cars from the road every year or planting more than 280,000 trees!

On average, a green school reduces water usage 32%.  This reduction has direct savings for the building as well as substantial societal benefits from lower pollution and reduced infrastructure costs to deliver water and to transport and treat wastewater.

A green school can reduce teacher turnover by up to 5%which results in financial savings for the school, as well as a more positive experience for students

Investing in building green schools is an investment in green jobsincluding green construction, building product manufacturing, and green architecture.

Students in Green Schools are absent less frequently.  By reducing absenteeism just 15%, a typical elementary school would save from $40,000-$60,000.

Greening public schools creates an opportunity to improve the health and educational settings for all students, regardless of income or background.

College Cafeteria Food: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

OCT 17, 2011

Written by guest blogger, Anthony Garcia

One of the major complaints about most college cafeterias is that the food served is plentiful but not particularly nutritious. Traditional college cafeteria menus are usually loaded with items like juice cocktails, soda, diner foods like hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries, and breakfasts that contain large amounts of oils and fat (i.e, bacon, sausages, pancakes and syrup), along with an endless selection of sugary desserts. College and graduate students often gain weight during their first and second year of studies, because of poor eating habits. However, sometimes healthier foods are offered alongside greasy, unhealthy foods. Even though students usually have some fresh fruits and salad bar options available, the selection of healthy foods is usually less varied and flavorful. Therefore, many students still choose the unhealthy food.

College cafeterias can become problematic for a few other reasons as well. They are conveniently located so students do not always search for other selections that may be more suitable for them. Because students get into frenzies when trying to include all their daily responsibilities all the while attempting to accommodate rigorous and irregular class schedules, it tends to force them into incorporating as many easy choices in their lives as possible. Unfortunately, their diets are likely to be one of the first things that suffer because it becomes difficult to resist some of the unhealthier, more familiar choices of food.

Furthermore, the meals are usually paid for in advance or included in tuition, so it is often the cheapest option. If students are paying for their education, they may not be able to afford other alternatives to the cafeteria and are left with lackluster foods that repeat themselves over and over again. Students new to campus may have had guardians who regulated their meals at home before, but feel a sense of “I can eat whatever I feel like” because of the new freedom of college and therefore eat the chicken nuggets instead of the rice and beans.

College cafeteria services are operated either by the college itself or contracted out to food management companies, like franchise food chains and campus kiosks. These organizations seek to offer a variety of meals appealing to the students. While eating healthy foods is best, it can also become a sterile and boring “activity” when maintained with few or no changes. Fast food has strong smells, and many American students are already pre-conditioned to crave the flavors in fast foods. Therefore, fast foods are likely to always be a part of the college cafeteria food plan because they are easier to sell.

There is a trend, however, occurring on some campuses that strays from butter-drenched vegetables and processed meats served in assembly-lines, which opts for meals served in intimate restaurant settings and elaborate dining halls. Meals in some schools are cooked by gourmet chefs who have been well trained in national and international cuisines. According to the Wall Street Journal, some colleges have realized that the students of today require lots of variety to satisfy their finicky taste buds. Enter roasted Portobello or chicken, grilled flank steak, risotto tossed with salmon, pasta stations, espresso coffee, and sushi bars! Yale University had the top four-star rating, and the University of Texas was given the worse rating (one star) for some of the most badly cooked and worst-tasting food ever encountered.

Unfortunately, this new trend of incorporating exciting and well-balanced meals seems to be hitting only the top-tier schools, where wealthier students are prominent and can afford to have the best food available. However, many colleges are at attempting to please their students and offer healthy options. According to The Daily Beast, the top three college cafeterias known for their irresistible cuisine, diverse dining and restaurant setups, economical meal plans, and fulfilling their patrons’ requests are as follows:

1. Oregon State University

2. Virginia Tech

3. St. Olaf College (Minnesota)

College cafeterias are responsible for supplying a large amount of food to a diverse group of diners under sanitary conditions. Ultimately, however, in college the responsibility for setting up a reliably healthy diet rests with the students. When students have grown up with cafeterias that serve nachos and processed foods from their k-12 experience, they may choose to continue to eat those types of foods when offered in their college cafeterias. Information is available to college students so that they can better inform their choices when in the cafeteria, and perhaps go for a salad instead of a cheeseburger. Despite overwhelming evidence about the dangers of college cafeterias to student health, it’s up to the students to become knowledgeable about proper eating habits and to remain diligent about maintaining a healthy diet, no matter where they choose to eat.

Photos 1 & 2:

Guest Blogger: Sarah


maggots.  Grain products can also be added, although that may invite some unwanted vermin (we already have rats).  Instead, give the bread to your chickens.  Animal manure is also a beneficial fertilizer, we would use cow manure and bunny pellets (what we currently use on our garden).  It works great!




The meal


In honor of the changing weather, our meal will be a celebration of remaining foods in the garden.  The three course meal is as follows:


I could grow the vast majority of the food in this meal.  Here is the ingredient list and if it is from the garden or bought elsewhere:


  • Baby spinach (garden)
  • Kale (garden)
  • Romain lettuce (garden)
  • Apple (garden)
  • Carrots (garden)
  • Goat cheese (garden)
  • Raspberry vinaigrette (made with raspberries from garden, but other non-garden products too)
  • Chicken (garden)
  • Zucchini (garden)
  • Patty pan squash (garden)
  • Onions (garden)
  • Tomato (garden)
  • Peppers (garden)
  • Corn (garden) – spices not garden
  • Phyllo dough – not garden
  • Brown sugar – not garden
  • Cream cheese – (garden)?
  • Pears (garden) – glaze not garden




It really is a mostly home grown meal!  I am sure the other ingredients could be procured locally.  I must say, after making this menu, I am inspired to have a end of summer feast with my family – featuring this exact menu!