Environmental Factors

Can nuclear waste be safely transported?


Josh Bloom of the American Council on Science and Health raises this question, and gives a fully documented response. Spoiler: Yes, it can.

It's way past time to put forth counterarguments against the fear entrepreneurs. Isn't funny how those most concerned about getting away from fossil fuels are also the loudest voices against nukes? Sorry folks, but solar and wind power just won't cut it as viable alternatives.

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Too much food is being wasted: Let's get smarter about it


This HND piece digs into the very serious matter of food waste. We include some pretty shocking statistics from the UN, and Feeding America.

We also help clarify the meaning of those dates, placed on virtually all food items these days. In virtually all cases, the dates refer to optimum quality, and not safety issues. Tips to check for spoilage are included, as are good links to food safety resources.

Read the complete article.

Should you be worried about crumb rubber?


This HND piece describes crumb rubber, its applications, ASTM standards, and alleged health effects. Many studies have been run on this material, and it continues to get a clean bill of health. Recent concerns focus on possible effects related to its use on athletic fields and playground surfaces. Be prepared for some shoddy and silly "links" to diseases.

EPA has just released Part 1 of a major study on crumb rubber, and the material continues to look good. Apparently, though, that will not suffice for the doom profiteers, fear entrepreneurs, and those desperately looking for the "cause" of their illness. Sort of reminds me of the mega-overblown radon scare, which I had mocked years ago. One advocate did hit me with his unassailable argument, though:

"I know you're wrong, and I can prove it! The house of this guy down the street had radon...and he died!"

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EPA appears to be backing off from the discredited linear no threshold theory


This HND piece explains the Linear No Threshold Model (LNT), as it is applied to radiation and chemical exposure. This model has been consistently disproven based on practical experience, and—as we describe—ending up being a sort of "fruit of the poisonous tree." That's because when the guy behind this theory was starting to advance it, he already knew that it was bogus.

Neat, huh, especially considering that LNT was advanced during his Nobel lecture, and people who have studied the matter are quite confident that even then he was lying through his teeth. We cite examples of how LNT cannot possibly be true, and evidently, EPA's Science Advisory Board agrees. This bodes well for the future. Or putting it another way, better late than never.

Read the complete article.

Measuring air contaminants accurately


This HND piece examines the matter of interferences in the chemical analysis of air contaminants. Some historical background is provided, including how our EPA formalized measurement techniques, and the approved methods promulgated by NIOSH and OSHA.

Then, examples are given. We discuss the effect of other reduced sulfur compounds on hydrogen sulfide analysis, along with how formaldehyde in cigarette smoke threw off the CDC testing on the FEMA trailers. As always, there are useful links throughout the write-up.

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What is a green product?


This HND piece spends some time on formulating a definition for "green product." As you may imagine, there is no accepted definition, and we link to an academic review lamenting just this point. Still, out of the dozens they found, we pick the most succinct and best.

We then briefly discuss the notion of "net green," which comes off as impractical. This segues into a description of some very fine products that help you with hydration, while being technologically excellent and using top-notch green materials.

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Keeping track of toxic exposure

This HND piece examines the activities and technology involved in monitoring exposure to toxic substances. Pioneers of public health introduced this concept around 100 years ago, but it would take official government agencies such as EPA and OSHA to take it to the next level.

OSHA promulgates Permissible Exposure Limits for more than 500 substances, and most of these are based on an 8-hour time-weighted average exposure. Thus, some means of recording this data and calculating such averages is implied--even if such technology was not readily available when these limits were first introduced.

We then segue into some current products for data logging and new developments.

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Sanitation in the food industry with peracetic acid

This HND article takes up where we left off, around five years ago. In this offering, we get into the chemistry and mechanism of how PAA kills those microbes, along with the many advantages of this germicide.

After that, we segue into safety and regulatory issues, and conclude with a look at available monitoring systems for this compound.

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Hydrogen sulfide: Yes, it's nasty

This HND piece delves into that familiar "rotten egg smell" compound—hydrogen sulfide (H2S). We cover its toxic properties and regulatory status. It turns out that it's second only to carbon monoxide as the leading cause of fatal gas inhalation exposures in the workplace.

One of the reasons why this stuff is so deadly is that it inflicts olfactory paralysis upon those exposed (at a high enough concentration). Thus, you can smell hydrogen sulfide at low levels, where it is not so harmful. Once you get above a certain point, you cannot smell it at all. Then, it can kill you within seconds. Bad as it is, though, researchers are now talking seriously about therapeutic benefits of hydrogen sulfide.

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A look at EMFs

This HND piece examines electromagnetic fields. They're all around us, but are they also a health hazard? The conventional wisdom holds that unless heating is involved (as in microwaves), non-ionizing radiation is harmless.

But maybe, that is not the case. People are noticing odd effects on their health, caused by proximity to things like wireless routers and smart meters, used to monitor electrical usage. There has been a fair amount of research on this matter, and the results are...wait for it...inconclusive.

Read the complete article.