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Friday Finds: Kraft’s Blue Box Chemical Blues

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25 March 2013, 12:09 PM
Plus: Buzzing over bee deaths and clean energy power up
Photo courtesy of @cdharrison (Flickr)

Bloggers think chemicals in macaroni are cheesy
Two food bloggers are campaigning against the use of chemical additives in the popular Kraft macaroni and cheese packaged meals due to concerns that the chemicals could pose health risks, reports the UK Guardian. Though found in foods sold in the U.S., the two additives, Yellow#5 and Yellow#6, are banned elsewhere in places like the UK, Norway and Austria amid claims that they can cause cancer or hyperactivity in children. The bloggers claim that since Kraft was able to replace the additives with alternatives in other countries (without a noticeable difference in taste), it should do the same in the U.S. So far, the bloggers’ petition, which highlights the larger issue of how ingredients banned elsewhere in the world can be found in items sold in U.S. stores, has gathered more than 200,000 signatures.

Environmental groups abuzz over insecticides linked to bee deaths
Several bee keepers and environmental groups have sued the U.S. EPA for failing to protect honey bees from toxic insecticides, reports Reuters. Bee colony populations have been taking a nosedive for some time now, and the collapse has many people worried about the nation’s food supply since bees pollinate everything from almonds and cranberries to avocados and pears. Studies have linked the collapse to the use of a class of super-toxic insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which plants absorb through their tissue, making them potentially toxic to insects. Though Europe has banned neonicotinoids, the toxic insecticides are used on more than 100 million acres of corn, soy and other food crops and even some home gardening products in the U.S. Currently, Earthjustice is working to stop or limit the use of the nation's most toxic pesticides, which often contaminate nearby waterways and negatively impact people's health.

Report finds clean energy can overpower fossil fuels in New York State by 2050
Forget oil and gas. A recent, peer-reviewed study has found that New York State could run entirely on energy produced from wind, water and sunlight by 2050, reports Inside Climate News. According to the study, moving to renewables has all sorts of benefits, including stabe energy prices, decreased energy demands through efficiency and reduced health impacts from air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Lead author Mark Z. Jacobson, who in 2009 co-authored a report on how to power the world with renewables by 2030, decided to embark on the New York State study because he figured it would be easier to get into a larger discussion about powering the entire world with renewables if researchers first broke it down by states.

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