Environment Garden

Are slugs good for my garden?

For the past two years we have been noticing an increase in the number of slugs that seem to have some sort of attraction to our garden. From the research I’ve done online, slugs are great food for birds but have no significant benefits in the garden.

We tried some non chemical ways of trying to get rid of them from our garden and haven’t had much success. We have tried salt and stale beer and the slug population continues to thrive. In fact when we stumbled on the slug eggs it was time to look for a better solution.

Ever seen slug eggs?

Slug Eggs

We’d like to try some of the Ortho Ecosense garden products to address this slug population issue, but we’re not convinced that the products are truly earth friendly. The product indicates the active ingredients are:

  • Iron phosphate 1.0%
  • Other Ingredients 99.0%

What’s in the other ingredients? Should we try and avoid using this product in our garden?


SIGG Water Bottles

According to the New York Times:

Bisphenol-A, or BPA, is used to make shatterproof plastic bottles, as a sealant in canned foods and in products ranging from CDs to sunglasses.In a draft risk assessment last August, the Food and Drug Administration said the levels of BPA to which children and adults are exposed do not pose a meaningful risk. Studies with laboratory animals have shown that it appears to accelerate puberty and pose a cancer risk. Most concerns about BPA focus on children, but some recent reports suggest it interferes with chemotherapy, and in adults it has been linked to higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Both of us have been trying to err on the side of caution, and the SIGG bottle was an investment we made prior to 2008, with the goal of avoiding plastic bottles. Unfortunately, SIGG, recently admitted that the plastic liners of their metal bottles contained BPA. (Source: Water Bottles Marketed To BPA-Fearing Parents Contained BPA All Along). Bottles manufactured after August 2008 contain no BPA whatsoever, however, when looking at the Sigg bottle we bought, it matched the cross-sectional view of the change in the Sigg bottle design as shown in the image below.

Sigg Cross Section
SIGG Cross Section View

Source: SIGG’s BPA Confession

According to Consumerist, SIGG appears to be doing the right thing by offering to replace older bottles made with the BPA liner with the new BPA-free EcoCare liner. For information on how to exchange your own bottle, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit the SIGG Exchange Program.


Zuvo Water Debate

I was reading the article Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe In Your Water article and thinking of some of the steps that we as a family are taking to help ensure that the water we ingest is going through some filtration system. One of the highlights of the article was a reference to the August 22 New York Times article about the popular weed killer, atrazine, and the dangers of ingesting the atrazine that washes into water supplies (and is therefore commonly found in drinking water). It is easy to believe that we have done all that is necessary to ensure that we are drinking water free of weed killers because in general we are a proactive family. For example, from the standard water filter we use for our shower heads or faucets to the natural detergents we’ve moved to, we try and stay one step ahead of the game.

According to the New York Times article:

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency say Americans are not exposed to unsafe levels of atrazine. They say that current regulations are adequate to protect human health, and that the doses of atrazine coming through people’s taps are safe — even when concentrations jump.

But some scientists and health advocates disagree. They argue that the recent studies offer enough concerns that the government should begin re-examining its regulations. They also say that local water systems — which have primary responsibility for the safety of drinking water — should be forced to monitor atrazine more frequently, in order to detect short-term increases and warn people when they occur.

The E.P.A. has not cautioned pregnant women about the potential risks of atrazine so that they can consider using inexpensive home filtration systems. And though the agency is aware of new research suggesting risks, it will not formally review those studies until next year at the earliest. Federal scientists who have worked on atrazine say the agency has largely shifted its focus to other compounds.

Clearly our efforts at merely filtering water was not enough. We thought we were one step ahead of the game but in reality we were not. With pitcher filters and shower head filters, your water is only as clean as the filter you use. Have you even seen the chart for the waste generated as a result of the disposable filters?

In trying to research what else we can besides not relying on bottled water I came across a product called Zuvo. The Zuvo’s patented puration process apparently uses nature’s own cleansing process right in your kitchen. It treats non-pathogenic organisms, taste and odor contaminants, reduces aesthetic chlorine, lead, and tiny particulates.

It is time for our family to be proactive one more time.