The Bathhouse at Tassajara.

Bathhouse at Tassajara

by William Olkowski, posted 9.14

Tassajara is a Buddhist monastery southeast of Carmelin the Santa Lucia Mountains, CA.  In the Japanese tradition, many monasteries were/are open to the public as a way to generate funds to support the monastery.  The last time we were there, during the first Jerry Brown administration, they had rebuilt the bath house which this W/C picture depicts.  The bath house has no nails but is put together with just wooden carved joints which is also traditional.  If you can visit the monastery for the weekend do it as the surrounding area is wild and beautiful.  The monks treat you with grace and the food is terrific and famous, although vegetarian, which we could tolerate for a few days.

Update on Pesticides in Human Body

Update on Pesticides in Human Body

Excerpts selected by W.O., 1.2.12

Note: the data from umbilicord samples means that many people who are having babies are feeding the little things a soup of poisons, never tested in combination.  Imagine having the blood flow to a fetus contaminated by 232 chemicals!!! Gads.

And flame retardants are among the terrible list.  And when have you seen a piece of furniture or a denim jacket burst into flames?  Such a crazy civilization.

bisphenol A.comes out of plastic bottles, so switch over to glass.


Since 2000 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has conducted biomonitoring tests of more than 200 people, including tests of

20 samples of umbilicord blood (

These studies have driven the debate about the hundreds of chemicals to which Americans are exposed, even in the womb.  In our most recent cord blood biomonitoring, which took samples from 10 newborns from ethnic and racial minorities, we found up to 232 toxic chemicals, including flame retardants and bisphenol A. (


As EWG documented in our Secret Chemicals report, the public had no access to more than

17,000 of the chemicals in the toxics inventory.  Companies had claimed CBI protections (confidential business information) for more than two-thirds of the 20,400 chemicals that came onto the market between 1976 and 2009.

Due to CBI protections, a large number of the chemicals were in consumer products, including 10 specifically designed for children’s products and manufactured in high volumes.

Flame retardants are a major issue. They are ubiquitous and present significant health risks, including cancer and neurological and reproductive system damage. As certain flame retardants are barred or phased out, we are concerned about the secrecy surrounding the chemicals introduced as replacements. The issue of safe substitutes is not unique to flame retardants.  We are learning that some BPA alternatives may not be safe.

Over the last decade EWG has done extensive research on flame retardants:

Mother’s Milk:  EWG’s 2003 study of chemical fire retardants in the breast milk of American

women was the first of its kind. It found that the average level of bromine-based fire retardants in the milk of 20 first-time mothers was 75 times the average measured in recent European studies.

Milk from two study participants contained the highest levels of fire retardants ever reported in

the U.S. Milk from several other new mothers in the study scored among the highest levels of

fire retardants detected in the U.S. up to that point.

FireRetardants%in%Toddlers%and%Their%Mothers :

EWG’s blood tests of toddlers and

preschoolers found 11 different flame retardants in a group of children — typically 3 times as much as their mothers.


Pollution in Minority Newborns: This 2009 study was a comprehensive analysis of pollutants detected in the cord blood of 10 newborns from racial and ethnic minorities. Flame retardants were found in 10 out of 10 samples. Bisphenol A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to cancer and impaired development of the reproductive system and other organs, was found in 9 of 10 samples.