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Teflon & other PFASs are seemingly everywhere....

 
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I used to wonder why lead was used prevalently in the medieval times, even though many knew it was bad. Or why arsenic was used in so many dyes/colors in the Victorian time, even when they knew it was killing people.

But, when I look around at all the teflon and plastics we use now--even through we know they're horrible and causing long term health issues and environmental harm--I don't wonder so much. Producers want profits, and consumers want convenience, and teflon and plastics create both of those things, even as they create great harm.

This article from the Consumer Reports made me very sad today. It reminded me, yet again, of how hard it is to avoid teflon, plastics, and other toxins in my life.

Here's a quote from the article (I Tested My Blood, Tap Water, Household Products, and Cat for PFAS):

I learned that the type of nonstick pans that I used to fry the fish usually contain the toxic chemicals, also called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Research alerted me to their use in some types of parchment paper used to roll tortillas, while the aluminum foil in which I wrapped leftovers raised a red flag with its “nonstick” label. For dessert, I purchased cookies that a local bakery packed in the type of paper bags sometimes treated with PFAS, and the chemicals may have been in my tap water and fish.

But PFAS, dubbed “forever chemicals” because they don’t naturally break down, aren’t only lurking in the kitchen. The synthetic compounds are often used to make thousands of everyday products water-, stain-, and grease-resistant, and they’re popular with manufacturers across dozens of industries because they’re so effective. That’s a problem because the class of around 4,700 compounds is linked to serious health problems including cancer, heart disease, birth defects, liver disease, and decreased immunity."



97% of people in America have PFAS in their blood. The author of this article had his blood tested for PFAS:

That included PFHxS, which was measured in my blood at 2.7 nanograms per liter, and in Ling Ling’s blood at about 13 ng/L. The U.S. median for humans is about 1 ng/L.



I find, more and more, that if I want to have natural options, I have to make them myself. The other day I went looking for 100% cotton scrubs for my husband. He wanted them with a fly opening. THERE ARE NONE. None. There's some nice 100% cotton scrubs. They even have pockets!. But, they don't have a zipper fly. I found these women's scrubs that are spandex and bamboo (that's better than polyester, but still not that eco-friendly). I found [url=]these using a "tencel blend," but there's no zipper fly, and no description of what's in that blend. There's LOTS of synthetic-blend scrubs that have pockets and zipper flyes, and all of them have at least 40% polyester. The "eco-friendly" ones are usually something like 50% polyester/43% recycled polyester/7% spandex. I've tried searching "hemp," "eco," "100% cotton," "tencel", to no avail. Most sites are dead ends, promising eco-friendly stuff, and having the scrubs be 20%+ polyester. Knowing all the microplastics created by polyester, I do not think anything should get that label if it sports polyester.

It's frustrating thinking of all the toxins, and how hard it is to find good options. But, the ray of hope I have is with things like the SKIP program. We might not be able to buy non-toxic stuff, but we can MAKE it.

One of the things Paul most wanted in the SKIP textiles badge was for a couch. Why a couch? Because couches are home to tons of plastics, flame retardents, teflon, and other nasty cancer-causing gunk. But, they don't have to be that way. And we can do better. And so I'll keep learning the skills and knowledge to make my own non-toxic stuff when I can't find it online.
 
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Yeah Nicole, this whole issue can become pretty darned frustrating.  

I can't help but think that that figure of 97% is a statistical confidence value based on the level of testing as it's hard to believe that anyone doesn't have PFAs in them, but I hope there are some folks out there that have somehow managed to avoid it.  When they tested Arctic sea life they found they had it too.  It is unbelievable that anyone is still allowed to manufacture these compounds.

I was looking into options for gallon plus sized watering cans for the boots this weekend that were not plastic or galvanized.  While there are stainless steel and copper options, they were hundreds of dollars a piece.  Anyone have any options they like?
 
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Greg Martin wrote:

I was looking into options for gallon plus sized watering cans for the boots this weekend that were not plastic or galvanized.  While there are stainless steel and copper options, they were hundreds of dollars a piece.  Anyone have any options they like?



I have seen coloured galvanised ones so they have a paint coating on them I have no idea what the coating is, it may or may not be better than the zinc. You might find aluminium ones as well, (depending on your thoughts about that of course). Otherwise I guess you need a cooper!


We don't use nonstick saucepans they are all stainless with glass lids we have one teflon pan that's 4 years old now and not a scratch on it, the plan is to throw it out when it's done and not replace it with a like pan. But it doesn't want to die.

Adding a fly into the scrubs wouldn't be to hard if that's the only sticking point on them.
 
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This ties in with an epiphany I had.  I realized how important jobs were to people.  Money has never been important to me.   I have been dirt poor ...in HS I would wake up with frost on my one army surplus blanket. .... and I have been more secure at times. Either way, jobs have never meant much to me.  So it was a shock when I realized people were willing to destroy the environment to make a buck.
 
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Greg Martin wrote:

I was looking into options for gallon plus sized watering cans for the boots this weekend that were not plastic or galvanized.  While there are stainless steel and copper options, they were hundreds of dollars a piece.  Anyone have any options they like?

This sounds like a serious challenge, and home-made might be your only option.

Do you know what they're putting in to make it "galvanized"? Is it more than just zinc? As usual, the dose makes the poison  - small amounts of zinc help a plant, but too much is really bad and I have no idea how to determine the line.

To make the problem worse, different watering jobs require different sorts of watering equipment. At one point when I was fed up with plastic watering cans, I tried a metal one with a *really* long spout that I found *really* hard to control. I admit I gave up and went back to plastic for years, until I found some galvanized ones which were a better shape for me to manage.

If it wasn't for the size you're looking for, I was thinking for indoor use, I'd like to try a second hand pottery teapot from the Thrift shop. A "Chinese" style one is really easy to use (two handles on top that swivel and a canister-type shape) and I know it works fairly well for my house plants because guess who gets my left-over tea?
 
Nicole Alderman
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Jay Angler wrote:Greg Martin wrote:

I was looking into options for gallon plus sized watering cans for the boots this weekend that were not plastic or galvanized.  While there are stainless steel and copper options, they were hundreds of dollars a piece.  Anyone have any options they like?

This sounds like a serious challenge, and home-made might be your only option.

Do you know what they're putting in to make it "galvanized"? Is it more than just zinc? As usual, the dose makes the poison  - small amounts of zinc help a plant, but too much is really bad and I have no idea how to determine the line.



I'd read this article/blog two days ago: Are you contaminating your garden’s soil? Chicken Wire: 2,201 ppm Lead, 30 ppm Cadmium. Click & read for safer choices.

She'd tested a bunch of galvanized stuff, and all of it came out with levels of lead. And the soil around that stuff was contaminated with lead. Apparently, the zinc in galvanizing is contaminated with lead? I haven't researched much beyond this article, but I think it'd be a worthy thing to research!

Lead (Pb): 2,201 ppm
Cadmium (Cd): 30 ppm
As mentioned above, this information was originally shared with my readers in June of 2014. Since that original posting, I have dozens of additional samples of this type of wire. I have never once tested a sample of galvanized chicken wire (or other galvanized hardware cloth / wire cloth) that was negative for Lead! As a result I stopped using any galvanized chicken wire (or any other galvanized products – including animal feed buckets and animal feed dispensers) for any and all applications around my home and garden.



I have consistently found the soil in close proximity to that wire is more likely to test positive for a high level of Lead (usually measurably higher levels than the surrounding soil that one might otherwise find in a garden or chicken coop.)  

 
Greg Martin
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Yeah.  Last time I was out there Paul said they avoid galvanized fencing for that reason so I figured they'd like to avoid galvanized in general.  Plastic may be the way to go since at least it's not a single use product, but I'd like to try and avoid that as well.  

I started thinking about how folks used to store water in animal hide pouches and that thought led me to hiker's backpacks with drinking water pouches, though they all seem to be less than a gallon.  I think if I were going to make something I'd probably design a soft backpack with a multi-gallon silicone bag inside it that has a hose that comes out to my left hand so I could shoot water like Spiderman shoots webs.  The front strap of the backpack would have a pouch for putting seeds in and then I could seed and water at the same time.....silly?  What else could you add?  
 
Nicole Alderman
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Maybe make it so you can add on a watering can rosette (nozzle). Usually when I'm watering, I'm watering seedling, and I don't want to shoot water, I want to have it gently rain down. (It was a sad, sad year for me when my kids broke all of my watering can rossettes!)

If you find a good watering can or substitute, maybe we can post it in the thread I made about searching for durable watering cans. I've resorted to just using plastic ones, and thankfully my kids aren't as hard on them as they used to. But, I'd love to move away from plastic!
 
Jay Angler
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

She'd tested a bunch of galvanized stuff, and all of it came out with levels of lead. And the soil around that stuff was contaminated with lead. Apparently, the zinc in galvanizing is contaminated with lead? I haven't researched much beyond this article, but I think it'd be a worthy thing to research!

I certainly live in a climate where this could happen - wet all winter and a tendency to acidic soil. That said, one mixed group of chickens and ducks have been living together for a year now in a galvanized chain-link Dog pen with the lower section covered with galvanized hardware cloth to stop raccoon from reaching in, eating out of a galvanized metal feeder, so I thought I'd have a look at what lead poisoning in chickens might look like. "Clinical signs of acute lead poisoning in chickens include muscle weakness, ataxia (uncoordinated muscle movements), loss of appetite, marked weight loss and eventual drop in egg production."  https://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry/files/234977.pdf  I'm not seeing any of this. Mind you, the chain link fencing was bought used and I'm guessing it's at least 10 years old, and the feeder is probably at least as old also. Many things like this purchased today, are being made overseas and since zinc and lead are usually found together in mines, who knows if with all the "cheap and fast" stuff being made today isn't a much greater risk.

I *really* wish that things like this were easier to test for on a home level. From the due-diligence perspective, some of the places where I think this could be of the greatest risk on my farm, I need to try and grow some sunflowers to absorb any heavy metals hanging out there, dry them, and then burn them in a retort (so the lead's not going up into the atmosphere) so we end up with bio-char. I'll have to ask over in that forum what happens when you biochar such things, but if they feel the lead can still easily leach out, it will be land-filled. At least I've collected the lead and concentrated it if it's there.

The blog mentioned that chickens tend to peck near fencing and suggested this was because lead tastes sweet. I would like to suggest from my experience, it's because that's where the worms hang out. Mind you, maybe lead-contaminated worms taste better?
 
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One awesome but challenging option would be to make a watering can   BB for making a watering can
 
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Sounds to me like cooperage BBs would be a good idea. You could even make a backpack bucket with a hose and rosette coming out the bottom if you wanted. Even a large watering can of a conventional design might be constructed using only wood and rope.

Also, one could use kayak or canoe-building techniques to make any shape or size vessel, from natural materials like hide or birchbark, using pine sap or equivalent as an adhesive and sealant. Sounds like another BB there.

We use almost exclusively cast iron, ceramic-enamelled cast iron, and stainless steel. We have a set of durable modern non-stick that I have researched at length. They apparently can't leach into foodstuff, but the moment we get chips or cracks, or even scratches, in that stuff, it's gone, and I don't care if it was a well-meaning Christmas gift from my much-better-half's grandfather.

Between PFAS and microplastics, it's getting to feel like you have to make everything from scratch, and not just your food.

-CK
 
Mike Haasl
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I wonder if there's a "bottle" gourd cultivar that would be relatively useful for a watering can.  

At least with cooking pans we have cast iron and stainless steel.  
 
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