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Eco-Fair Offers Tips For the Environmentally Conscious

December 9, 1989

ATLANTA (AP) _ Saving the Earth is not such a difficult thing.

For instance, if Americans recycled all their Sunday newspapers it would save more than 500,000 trees a week.

And with the junk mail Americans get each day - 44 percent of which is never opened - they could produce enough energy to heat 250,000 homes.

Just pumping up tires to the right pressure would save about 2 billion gallons of gasoline a year.

These and other practical points are listed in a book offered at the Earth Expo and Earth Action Conference, which opened Friday at the Georgia World Congress Center and is aimed at offering tips to individuals on conserving earthly resources.

It is the first of a series of fairs planned for seven cities.

″Most people believe that the problem is so overwhelming that no one person can do anything,″ said John Javna of Earth Works Press in Berkeley, Calif. ″That’s simply not true.″

His book, ″50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save the Earth,″ appeared Nov. 1 and already has sold more than 100,000 copies.

Javna and his book are crammed with ″pop facts,″ some of them downright scary. (For instance, Javna says there are more artificial chemicals in the average American home today than there were in the average chemical laboratory 100 years ago).

There are suggestions, too: Mothballs are made from 100 percent paradichlorobenzene, harmful to the liver and kidneys. Alternatives: Cedar chips or cedar oil work just fine.

Another fair participant, pharmacist Stanley Meyerson of Syracuse, N.Y., has developed the National Ecological and Environmental Delivery System, specializing in products for people sensitive to the increasing number of chemicals in the home and elsewhere.

″This is the first generation to be exposed so totally to chemical products - chemicals, dyes, preservatives, contaminants in the water,″ he said.

His company markets water-based paints and dyes, water and air filters and biodegradable products such as soaps, adhesives and cleaners.

Show coordinator Zenia Richler, who researched the applicants and pared the list to about 68 based on credibility, said many of the new products, such as biodegradable cellulose bags that resemble plastic but are made from plant fiber, still are more expensive than their synthetic counterparts because they aren’t yet mass-produced.

The biodegradable plastics also raise environmental concerns. For one, the material breaks down into plastic particles that may contain toxic metals such as cadmium and lead. For another, recycling centers are refusing degradable plastics because they are not as strong as plastics don’t degrade, thus contaminating the recyclable mix.

The fair also includes displays for reusable diapers that have the convenience of disposables, herbal skin creams, insulation that does not use fiberglass and an attractive bench made completely of recycled plastics.

For a fee Watercheck, of Cleveland, Ohio, will check your tap water for over 90 contaminants and send you a printout of the results. If your water flunks, Watercheck recommends seeing a qualified water treatment specialist.

Entrepreneurs say the problem of impure water is getting worse as more and more dangerous chemicals go into landfill dumps and find their way back into the water system.

″The water systems can’t keep up with the chemicals that are going into them,″ Ms. Richler said.