Should consumers still be concerned about food dyes?


Dear EarthTalk: Ever since the red dye No. 2 scare in the 1970s I’ve been wary of using food colorings or buying food that appears to contain them. Are there natural and healthy food colorings?

Nancy McFarlane

Methuen, Mass.

New-generation hair-care products are less harsh


Dear EarthTalk: I always hear about hair products and sprays that claim to be natural and organic based. What are some hair products that can be purchased that are legit and cause no harm to the environment?

Penny Siegel

Milwaukee, Wis.

Why, exactly, should we take time to sort our trash?


Dear EarthTalk: Recycling can be a somewhat time-consuming task; so can you please provide some benefits of taking the time to separate my trash? Joseph Jiminez

Houston, Texas

Recycling, which turns materials that would otherwise be incinerated or become landfill-clogging waste into valuable resources, has become second nature for many Americans. As many as four out of five U.S. households already take the time to separate recyclables from trash. Those holdouts not yet willing to bother should consider the benefits to their household and society at large.

How does going meatless help our environment?


Dear EarthTalk: I heard that the less meat one eats, the better it is for the environment. How so?

Jason K.

Sarasota, Fla.

Ideas needed for environmentally sensitive gifts


Dear EarthTalk: I would like to make my holiday gifts matter this year. Where can I find ideas for green gifts?

Mary Baumgartner

via email

What are the most efficient light bulbs for us to use?

Earth Talk

Dear EarthTalk: What are the greenest light bulbs to use? I hear there has been a lot of backlash against compact fluorescents because they contain mercury.

— Peter Roscoe, Hershey, Pa.

Do social networkers use up resources?


Dear EarthTalk: What is the environmental impact of so many people now using sites like Facebook and spending so much time online?

Bob Yearling

Paris, Texas

Is bioengineering leading to ‘genetic pollution?’


Dear EarthTalk: What is “genetic pollution” as it pertains to the bioengineering of animals, fish and plants, and what happens if they cross breed with their wild cousins?

R. Ahearn

Rome, N.Y.

Genetically modified organisms are those that have been altered by scientists to include genes from other organisms (known as transgenes) that may impart specific benefits.

How should we dispose of unwanted pharmaceuticals?


Dear EarthTalk: Pharmaceuticals were in the news again recently, how they are polluting water and raising a host of health issues because we dispose of them both unused and used through body waste elimination. What can be done?

Lucy Abbot

Macon, Ga.

Does medical waste still wash up on our seashores?


Dear EarthTalk: I remember that medical waste, washing up in New Jersey, I believe, was a big issue in the late 1980s. Is it still today?

Walter Maliszewski

Camden, N.J.