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British Designer Gives Second Life to Chewing Gum
Anyone who has ever stepped on gum or felt a sticky glob on the underside of tables knows chewed gum can be a pest.
But did you know that chewing gum is also a problem for the environment? Although it was once made of natural substances, modern gum is made from synthetic, petroleum-based polymers called polyisobutylene, which is the same rubbery material you'd find inside car tires. This means most gum sold today is non-biodegradable.
Sure, there are bigger planetary foes than chewing gum, but one 1999 review found that the world market for chewing gum is estimated to be 560,000 tons per year, so it adds up. If gum is not disposed properly, it either accumulates in the environment, inadvertently ends up in the stomachs of animals, or local governments have to spend a lot of money scraping it off sidewalks and other surfaces. Chewing gum happens to be the second most common form of street litter after cigarette butts.
You can always switch to biodegradable varieties, mints, or practice better dental hygiene if you want fresh breath. But as the BBC recently highlighted, one designer has another brilliant solution to the pervasive problem.
For the past decade, Anna Bullus has headed UK-based Gumdrop, the first company in the world to recycle chewing gum by turning it into a moldable material that can be used in a variety of rubber and plastic products, including cups, guitar picks, and even 100 percent recyclable rain boots.
"When you are handling the finished product, you do take a while to adjust to the fact that this has been in somebody's mouth previously," Brett Nixon, the manager at a plastic molding specialist in Leicester that works with Gumdrop, told the BBC.
"But once you get over that fear it's easy. By recycling it and giving it another lease of life it's helping the environment, it's an absolutely fantastic idea."
Gumdrop Bins have been installed in several universities, train stations, shopping centers and airports around the UK. According to the BBC, after a three-month trial of Gumdrop's disposal program, London's Heathrow Airport saw a "noticeable improvement" and saved £6,000 ($8,300) in cleaning costs.
As Bullus said, "I do believe that through the right design you can actually change the way people behave."
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Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.
The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.
Tyson Foods Recalls Nearly 70,000 Pounds of Chicken Strips After Customers Find ‘Fragments of Metal’
Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.
The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.
"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
Environmental exposure to pesticides, both before birth and during the first year of life, has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to the largest epidemiological study to date on the connection.
The study, published Wednesday in BMJ, found that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) of a highly-sprayed agricultural area in California had children who were 10 to 16 percent more likely to develop autism and 30 percent more likely to develop severe autism that impacted their intellectual ability. If the children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, the risk they would develop autism went up to 50 percent.