Lead in Turmeric and Microplastics in Tea

Many traced the issue to the 1980s when a massive flood left turmeric crops wet and relatively dull in color. Demand for bright yellow curry led turmeric processors to add lead chromate—an industrial yellow pigment commonly used to color toys and furniture—to their product. The practice continued as a cheap, fast way to produce a desirable color.

More: Researchers find lead in turmeric

There’s a new trend in tea — out with the old, flat paper tea bags and in with the pyramid-shaped mesh bags that allow bigger leaves extra breathing room. The bags, which have been around since at least 2006, are sometimes called “silken” sachets. They can be made from hemp, corn-based plastics, nylon or PET (polyethylene terephthalate). But most often it’s one of the latter two: plastics.

But research out this week in Environmental Science & Technology reveals that plastic tea bags are doing a lot more than holding on to your tea. When you steep them in hot water — AKA make tea — they break down just enough to release billions of plastic microparticles right into your beverage.

More: Plastic Tea Bags Release Billions of Microplastics Into Every Cup

Tree-planting Drones for Firing “Seed Missiles” into the Ground


In September 2018, a project in Myanmar used drones to fire “seed missiles” into remote areas of the country where trees were not growing. Less than a year later, thousands of those seed missiles have sprouted into 20-inch mangrove saplings that could literally be a case study in how technology can be used to innovate our way out of the climate change crisis.

More: These tree-planting drones are firing ‘seed missiles’ into the ground. Less than a year later, they’re already 20 inches tall.

Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6): The Most Potent Greenhouse Gas

Cheap and non-flammable, SF6 is a colourless, odourless, synthetic gas. It makes a hugely effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations.

It is widely used across the industry, from large power stations to wind turbines to electrical sub-stations in towns and cities. It prevents electrical accidents and fires.

However, the significant downside to using the gas is that it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).

It also persists in the atmosphere for a long time, warming the Earth for at least 1,000 years.

Read More: Climate change: Electrical industry’s ‘dirty secret’ boosts warming (BBC)

Conspicuous Consumption: £335 flip-flops

Source: The Guardian, The £335 flip-flops: what the super-rich wear to look like everyone else

The headline is a bit misleading; one does not want to “look like everyone else” in these flip-flops; yes they are flip flops, but they are really expensive flip-flops.

In reference to the concept of conspicuous consumption:

Conspicuous consumption is the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power—of the income or of the accumulated wealth of the buyer. Wikipedia

Conspicuous sustainability: the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury sustainability goods, infrastructure and services to publicly display environmental piety and power—and the income or of the accumulated wealth of the buyer.

Or something like that…