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New York Times article re: toxins in the environment

Oliver Sweatman February 25, 2010
Here are a few sobering excerpts from the most-emailed column on today's regarding the possible serious health concerns resulting from a build-up of toxins in the environment, in part due to the widespread usage of these chemicals in personal care (Do Toxins Cause Autism?):
"Concern about toxins in the environment used to be a fringe view. But alarm has moved into the medical mainstream. Toxicologists, endocrinologists and oncologists seem to be the most concerned." ...
Senator Lautenberg says that under existing law, of 80,000 chemicals registered in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency has required safety testing of only 200. “Our children have become test subjects,” he noted.
One peer-reviewed study published this year in Environmental Health Perspectives gave a hint of the risks. Researchers measured the levels of suspect chemicals called phthalates in the urine of pregnant women. Among women with higher levels of certain phthalates (those commonly found in fragrances, shampoos, cosmetics and nail polishes), their children years later were more likely to display disruptive behavior. ...
“There are diseases that are increasing in the population that we have no known cause for,” said Alan M. Goldberg, a professor of toxicology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. “Breast cancer, prostate cancer, autism are three examples. The potential is for these diseases to be on the rise because of chemicals in the environment.”
We've noticed an uptick in mainstream media coverage on the subject of toxins in the environment and we hope this serves as a catalyst for greater consumer awareness around the issue and ultimately improved public health. It also underscores the reason we started Ursa Major Natural Care LLC (aka, the Big Bear!) - to provide a spirited natural alternative to toxic, mainstream personal care.

Ursa Major featured in Burlington Free Press

2 February 15, 2010
One of our informal advisers, Greg Strong of Spring Hill Solutions, wrote a column for the Burlington Free Press this weekend about the importance of harnessing "the power of business, markets and human resourcefulness to help address an increasingly urgent set of local and global challenges..." in which he mentioned Ursa Major as an example of a Vermont-based start-up that is trying to "to be a net-positive contributor to the environment, the economy and society at-large from the outset." We knew something was coming and he gave us a heads up that the piece was going to print a day before it ran and we had a brief window to verify facts and suggest changes to the original draft, most of which were picked up in the print version (but not the online version). Here's the excerpt that talks about Ursa Major:
Ursa Major is trying to get it right from the beginning. This Stowe-based start-up is creating a new line of men’s personal care products —sunscreens, soaps, shaving creams, lotions — from the ground up. The founders and sole employees, Oliver Sweatman and Emily Doyle, are working hard to develop products, design packaging, secure key strategic partners, raise capital, map supply chains and put it all together to create a livelihood for themselves, their families and their employees-to-be. In other words, everything you’d expect from a start-up — with one important twist: Oliver and Emily are designing their young company to be a net-positive contributor to the environment, the economy and society at-large from the outset. This means grappling with big questions and setting real goals around things like waste production, climate impact, use of natural and organic ingredients, values-alignment with investors and making a tangible contribution their local economy and community — along with how best to measure success and progress toward their company’s goals. I believe Ursa Major’s work to expand their awareness, commit to ‘doing the right thing’ from the outset and build lasting values into their DNA is the future of business. Traditionally dubbed sustainability, social responsibility or triple-bottom-line thinking, Ursa Major and enlightened organizations like it (including nonprofits, for-profits, institutions and municipalities) represent a new model — one that aims to harness the power of business, markets and human resourcefulness to help address an increasingly urgent set of local and global challenges including climate change, depleted resources, toxin build-up in the environment, expiring species, failing ecosystems, weakening economies, and social inequities.
We think it's a mistake for young brands to toot their horns too early and our strong preference is to do, and then speak to the media from the vantage point of having done something of value, but this one sorta fell into our lap so we'll take it. Thanks to Greg and the Burlington Free Press for the coverage. Now it's time to get back to work and make good on our intentions! ?


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