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Electromagnetic (EMF) Safety News

Want to learn about how and why to protect yourself, your family and the environment from EMFs?  With “The Grid” (national power grid) being revamped, EMFs are probably something we should all — if not know about — at least be able to quickly find good information on.

Here’s a site that’s devoted to providing quality education about the health impacts associated with electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and radio frequency radiation (RF).  It offers resources for community activists working to facilitate public policy change.  It’s called the EMF Safety Network.  Easy enough to remember.

The site features a “EMF and RF World Concerns Summary” — a compilation of links to public policy of governments, health agencies, scientists and advocacy groups worldwide.

About EMF:

An electromagnetic field (also EMF or EM field) is a physical field produced by electrically charged objects. The field affects the behavior of charged objects in the vicinity of the field.

The field can be viewed as the combination of an electric field and a magnetic field. The electric field is produced by stationary charges, and the magnetic field by moving charges (currents).  — paraphrased from Wikipedia

On TV, paranormal researchers scan rooms for EMF fluctuations, which are considered evidence for ghosts.  That’s for you to decide.

“The voluntary exposure of the brain to microwaves from hand-held mobile phones… [is] the largest human biological experiment ever.”
~ Professor Leif Salford, Head of Research at Lund University, Sweden, as quoted in the story 10 Cell Phone Radiation Protection Tips, by Taraka Serrano.

But before you send anybody any money to protect yourself from EMF rays, read this article on skepdic.com.  In the article, while not completely ruling out the possibility of linkage between EMFs and disease, it says:

In 1997, The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of the largest, most detailed study of the relationship between EMFs and cancer ever done… [the study] “found no evidence that magnetic field levels in the home increased the risk for childhood leukemia.” The study took eight years and involved measuring the exposure to magnetic fields generated by nearby power lines. A group of 638 children under age 15 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia were compared to a group of 620 healthy children.

Anyway – it’s a good idea to have an EMF Safety Site.

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Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

lead free children
Keeping children safe from lead

This week — October 24 – 30, 2010 — is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW).

“Lead exposure can have serious, life-altering health effects,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, “especially for our children.  Those effects are entirely preventable if we take the right steps to raise awareness and give every family the tools they need to protect against lead exposure. [italics mine]

About lead

Earlier this month, EPA slapped Doe Run Company, America’s largest lead producer, with serious penalties.  And earlier this year, FDA tested lipstick and found lead in every single one.  Lipstick is supposedly not dangerous because women “don’t eat lipstick,” as one defender-of-industry put it.   That is pretty much wrong – we eat a lot of the stuff we put on our lips; but that’s a story for another blog post.  More on lead in cosmetics here and here.

Lead is a soft but dense, ductile, bluish-white metal.  Lead is highly malleable, quite corrosion-resistant, and has poor electrical conductivity when compared to most other metals (for further info see Wikipedia); for all those qualities it is used widely in the Construction Industry.

Lead is considered a “stable” material — get ready for this — it has a half-life longer than the age of the universe.

Lead is also toxic.

About lead and children

According to official U.S. documents, lead paint poisoning affects more than 1 million children today.  Unbelievable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly a quarter of a million children living in the United States have blood lead levels high enough to require public health intervention (2003–2004 data).  Major sources of lead exposure among children are:

  1. lead-based paint
  2. lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings

Really: lead poisoning is entirely preventable.  But how?

When asked what we can do as consumers, EPA suggests “testing.”  Test for lead levels in the house, test for lead in children.

There are a couple of problems with that.

One is, if I did all the testing that EPA suggests I do in the home, I’d be broke.  We’re supposed to test the water for all sorts, test the air quality for all sorts, and now test the — what — dust (?) for all sorts.  Who can afford the cost of the tests?  The undertaking would break the Kennedys too.

Never mind the time and the Project Management (PM) skills and PM software needed to manage the myriad test results and keep them up to date.

In that same vein, as it were:  how many tests are we supposed to give our children, exactly?  And how many of these hurt?

Anyway – there’s a reference site for Lead Free Kids.  That’s EPA’s Lead Awareness Week web site.  It’s pretty helpful, but you have to have the time/mind to review it.

Lead poisoning symptoms

EPA says: Lead causes a variety of adverse health effects, including brain and nervous system disorders, high blood pressure and hypertension, and reproductive problems. For children, even low levels of exposure to lead can cause a host of developmental effects such as learning disabilities, decreased intelligence and speech, language, and behavioral problems, which can affect children for a lifetime.

For help in your area, try this web page.  You can search your location by zip code for lead resources, lead-free buildings, and the like: http://www.leadfreekids.org/leadRes.html?tabmode=zip

Reference link: http://epa.gov/lead/pubs/lppw2010.htm

Latest news from EPA on lead: http://www.epa.gov/lead/new.htm

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How to save 1 billion gallons of water in a day

“If every American household reduced their water use by 10 gallons on just Thanksgiving Day, it would save more than 1 billion gallons of water, as well as save any energy or materials used to pump or treat tap water.” – Environmental Protection Agency

How can we have a greener Thanksgiving?  Prep and clean-up around holiday meals, parties, and events can use much more water than usual.  The top concern is “deep and simple,” as TV’s Mr. Rogers might say (link goes to new documentary film about TV’s kindest man).

Green Thanksgiving?

Running that faucet while preparing food or washing dishes can use more than two gallons of water every minute.  This adds up when cooking a big meal:  rinsing veggies, washing out pans, refreshing oily hands….  The trick?  Don’t leave the tap running in between rinses.   And try:

  1. Scrape dirty dishes clean, instead of using water to rinse them before putting them in dishwasher
  2. If not using a dishwasher, fill the sink with a few gallons of soapy wash water, clean the dishes, and put them aside. Then rinse them all together afterward

Either practice can save water, up to 10 gallons each time.

How much water is enough?

Americans use lots of water inside and outside of their homes. A family of four uses 400 gallons of water every day.

This amount can increase depending on location; for example, the arid West has some of the highest per capita residential water use because of landscape irrigation.  East or west, facts are best:

  1. A full bathtub can require up to 70 gallons of water, while taking a 5-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons
  2. Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth can save 8 gallons per day

Summary:  take quick showers and don’t run the tap unnecessarily.

Holiday ideas for saving water
Have a happy and green holiday season!

Simple!  Right?

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EPA and China Sign Environmental Agreement

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson was in China two weeks ago.  It was the U.S. EPA’s first official visit to China.

EPA Administrator Jackson visits China
Head of U.S. EPA, Lisa Jackson

Jackson (pictured) visited Guiyu — the world’s largest e-waste site — and also spoke with students in a “town hall” type forum.  The highlight of the trip may have been that she and China’s MEP (Minister of Environmental Protection) Zhou Shengxian signed an agreement that formalizes the partnership between the United States and China on environmental protection.

The Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, was a renewal of an MOU that expired in 2008.  Under the new agreement, the U.S. EPA will continue to collaborate with China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).

Collaboration areas include the prevention and management of:

  • air pollution
  • water pollution
  • pollution from persistent organic pollutants or POPs and other toxics
  • hazardous and solid waste
  • the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental law

“The global environmental community has learned much in the last 30 years,” said Jackson, “and MEP has many accomplishments worth recognizing.  I look forward to enhancing our collaboration and am proud to renew this historic connection today.”

According to green industry experts and the EPA, for 30 years the United States and China have engaged in a wide range of environmental cooperative efforts.  Intentions of the collaboration include:

  1. increasing energy efficiency
  2. reducing emissions of pollutants, toxics, and greenhouse gases
  3. limiting threats to public health caused by pollution
  4. creating a foundation for long-term environmental sustainability

“I have come to China to mark 30 years of environmental partnership between our two nations,” said EPA Administrator Jackson in her presentation on October 12, 2010 to 300 students at Sun Yat-sen University in China.

“This has been an expansive and productive trip,” Jackson said in an afterward.

For those of us on the sidelines, it’s nice to see an effort being made towards a bigger picture — rather than profits or other types of competition, we’re talking about Big Things, like Environment.  And recently, representatives from the U.S. discussed philanthropy with Chinese billionaires.  Could we really be evolving…? Every once in a while it seems like it might be so.

We’ll have more to say about China and the EPA later, for sure, so keep an eye on this blog for updates.

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South Road, Newbury, NH

DFG: where the NH forest meets the road.