Can we wear any clothes?

Sunnuntai 17.12.2017 klo 17.38

As the "most unneeded product of the year" the nature conservation magazine Finland's Nature chose fleece clothing, because washing them liberates microplastics in water. This got me thinking, which clothes we can wear, because environmental arguments for the discontinued use of virtually everything are strong. Below I go through them in detail:

1. Fleece clothing, but also virtually all other synthetic clothing should not be used, since they inevitably cause the release of microplastics in the environment.

2. Cotton clothing should not be used because of several reasons. It is very likely that the cotton from which the clothes are made is from genetically modified plants (GMO). The use of different pesticides in cotton fields is greater than anywhere else. As a result, the number of dead birds is great because they eat insecticide-affected insects, and the toxicant also affects them. In the semiarid areas, where cotton is produced, cotton production uses up water, which would be needed for food production and human consumption. Further, it is quite likely that the cotton clothing we wear has been produced using child labour, at least if we want to have cheap models.

3. Wool products should not be used, because wool clothing is produced by taking advantage of sheep. If one is protecting the rights of animals, that is not acceptable.

4. For the same reason as for banning wool products, everything containing leather or fur should not be used, because they can only be produced, if animal rights are not respected.

So what can we wear? Presently only linen clothing, but if it becomes popular, it is likely that many of the problems associated with cotton will also take place in linen production. Wood fibres could be a solution, but many hard-core environmentalists are also against the use of wood products. I suppose I shall start to look what the real environmentalists wear to see, if they follow their principles. - Or maybe we should walk around naked? It would also be difficult here in the north, when temperatures are close to or below freezing.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: microplastics, GMO, pesticides, child labour, animal protection

Poorly known addditives may be more harmful than glyphosate itself

Torstai 22.6.2017 klo 10.31 - Mikko Nikinmaa

With the discussion about the harmful effects of glyphosate on tends to forget that the additives in the different commercial formulations may be more harmful to non-target species than the main toxic ingredient. It is undoubtedly true that the persistence of glyphosate in soil in different climatic zones is poorly known, and because of the antibiotic properties of the compound, knowing this would be necessary to be able to estimate the effects of the toxin on the community functions of soil micro-organisms.

However, for animals the additives in the commercial formulations are the real problem. The additives are a commercial secrecy, but an example of their importance in mediating at least acute toxic effects in non-target animals comes from a recent study: pure glyphosate and one commercial formulation showed negligible toxic effects, whereas another formulation was acutely highly toxic. Since the additives are a secrecy, the properties of the compounds used cannot be studied, since the compounds in question are not known.

Two things should generally be noted about glyphosate and its formulations. First: because glyphosate is affecting pathways specific to autotrophic organisms, it has not been considered important that the effects of its commercial formulations are studied with non-target animals. And because the additives are a secrecy, even if the effects on non-target animals are studied, one does not know the toxic compound. Second: the chronic effects of the main toxic ingredient and additives have not been investigated at all on non-target animals. Because of this, there are wild, and completely unsubstantiated, rumours about the harmful effects caused.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: pesticides, environmenal pollution, non-target organisms