Blog Archives

Google’s Street View cars have been quietly testing air pollution

by  Katie Fehrenbacher,http://fortune.com/

googlemobileWhile Google’s Street View cars have been busy snapping images of roads across the globe, including some of the most remote locations on Earth, a small handful of the smart vehicles have been quietly gathering data on something that’s much harder to see: air pollution.

Three of Google’s Street View cars were equipped with sensors from San Francisco startup Aclima and the roving sensor-laden vehicles spent a month driving around Denver last year, testing the air quality. The cars spent 750 hours on the city’s streets and collected 150 million data points about levels of various air pollutants, many of them caused directly and indirectly by gas-powered cars and fossil fuel-based power plants. The test was done in collaboration with NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency.

A key point of the test was to validate seven-year-old Aclima’s environmental sensor tech, which is a first step for the startup to offer the environmental sensors more widely. The company uses algorithms, big data analytics and machine learning to make its sensor data highly accurate. The company also makes it own hardware and has been developing what it says is the world’s smallest particulate matter sensor in collaboration with the EPA and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Read more

Brain Fog, Weight Gain, Fatigue — the Sneaky Symptoms of Household Mold

By Yahoo Health Editors, https://www.yahoo.com

moldsymptomsWhen you hear the word mold, chances are you think of the fuzzy stuff growing on the leftovers in your fridge, or the shower scum that develops on your bathroom tile when you’ve slacked on cleaning. But the truth is, some mold isn’t just an icky sign of neglect — it can be toxic, even deadly.

Dave Asprey — the former Silicon Valley entrepreneur behind “The Bulletproof Executive” blog and Bulletproof Radio podcast — has released a new documentary calledMoldy, which explores the hidden health dangers associated with mold toxicity. (A screening of the film is available for free now until June 14, and can then be purchased through the documentary’s website as a DVD or digital download).

The documentary is personal to Asprey who suffered from mold toxicity. He says it’s a problem that potentially impacts hundreds of millions of people — even if they don’t know that’s what is making them sick.  Read more

Pet allergies are big business

By Darcy Reynolds, http://www.columbusceo.com/

allergydogIt’s that dreaded season. Allergens are bountiful and wreaking havoc on our eyes, noses and throats. But the allergy suffering isn’t exclusive to humans. The misery many of us have to deal with can extend to our very best friends; our beloved household pets.

Allergic symptoms in dogs and cats can translate into frustration, misery and big business. If you have spent time in the company of a favorite canine and witnessed persistent licking and paw chewing along with incessant scratching, red skin and “hot spots” plus itchy ears and runny eyes, you are likely watching the effect of allergies in action. Cats, too, present allergies in a similar manner along signs such as hair loss, scabs or open sores, excessive scratching and discharge in the ears.

In both people and pets, an allergy is a state of hypersensitivity in which exposure to an allergen induces the body’s immune system to overreact. Gwendolen Lorch, DVM and assistant professor of dermatology at OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, believes cases of pet allergies are trending upward, particularly in the Midwest. “Puppies that are bred and raised in Arizona may never present themselves with an allergy. But for areas like Ohio, an average vet practice may treat pet allergies and related ailments in 30-40 percent of all appointments booked,” Lorch says. Read more

Suburban asbestos deaths blamed on ‘factory of death’

By Ruth Lamperd, Herald Sun

Wunderlich AsbestosMORE than a dozen deaths in a Melbourne suburb have been blamed on an asbestos factory where children once played in piles of the deadly dust.

But the catastrophic effects of the Wunderlich factory in Sunshine North have not been revealed to residents despite owner CSR paying compensation to victims.

A five-month Sunday Herald Sun investigation can today reveal the tragic toll of Melbourne’s “factory of death”, which shut in 1983.

INTERACTIVE SPECIAL REPORT: DEVIL IN THE DUST

At least 16 people who grew up within 1km of the plant — none of whom worked there — have died of asbestos-related diseases, the latest on Thursday. Another eight are known to be sick.

Residents said that on some days asbestos would swirl in clouds above the suburb and a white powder would cover windows and car dashboards in the factory’s peak years from the 1950s until the 1970s.

Allan Brander grew up in a street north of the Wunderlich factory and spent many weekends riding his bike over hectares of waste.

His son, Damian, said his father died a painful death last year, five months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Read more

Contact the journalist: ruth.lamperd@news.com.au

“The disease ate him alive. If I grew up there I’d be concerned about my health now,” Mr Brander said.

Factory planned on South Side raises pollution fears

By Spencer Hunt, http://www.dispatch.com

A glass-recycling factory planned for the South Side has renewed many neighbors’ fears of pollution.

Phoenix-based Closed Loop Glass Solutions plans to build a new type of furnace and recycling system that promises to remove lead from old glass television tubes without sending the toxic metal into the air.

Closed Loop must emit less than 1 pound of lead per year, according to a permit approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“We will be way under that in terms of our operations,” said Brent Benham, the company’s chief financial officer.

That promise has done little to mollify some South Side residents who say the area already is dominated by heavy industry.

“We don’t want to see a company that is in any way going to be emitting lead into the community,” said Eileen Neale, a member of the Alum Crest Acres Civic Community group and the Far South Columbus Area Commission. “We’re absolutely inundated with those kinds of facilities.” Read More

 

Tips to improve your indoor air quality

Cleaning the air cooler filter at Stacken.

Cleaning the air cooler filter at Stacken. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

By BPT, http://www.jsonline.com

 

ou pride yourself on keeping a clean home. The laundry is washed, the dishes are dry and the den where the children built their pillow fort has been restored to sanity. You’ve been vigilant about cleaning up the messes you can see, but what about the messes you can’t? What are you doing to improve the air quality in your home?

 

You may not think about the air quality in your home because the problem isn’t visible, but that doesn’t stop dust, dander or chemicals from polluting your air. Everyday living generates up to 40 pounds of dust in a six-room house every year, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the HVAC Inspection, Maintenance and Restoration Association.

 

Taking steps to clean the air in your home will do more than just improve air quality; it will also save you money. Twenty-five to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted because contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work inefficiently, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

 

If you’re interested in improving the air quality in your home and saving money while you do it, here are some tips to get you headed in the right direction.

 

Read More

 

Indoor air quality: One of the EPA’s top 5 environmental risks to public health

By Michelle Krueger, http://www.nwitimes.com

When it comes to air sealing and ventilating, new residential building codes are now in place to ensure energy efficiency as well as the comfort of the homeowner. In many existing homes, there can be a number of uncontrolled air leaks that add up to the equivalent of leaving a window open 24/7.

While its been reported that air sealing uncontrolled leaks can reduce energy bills anywhere from 10-20 percent or more in some cases, its important to understand a home’s ventilation before undertaking any project. The advice of a certified home contractor may even be needed to avoid creating an unhealthy and potentially-life threatening environment.

With indoor air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, dust mites, pollen, radon, mold, excessive carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and other chemicals identified by the EPA as contributing to poor indoor quality that causes or contributes to health concerns such as asthma, headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue, it’s extremely important to understand the role of proper ventilation or air exchanges. Indoor air is on average two to five times more polluted than the air outdoors and can be up to 100 times more. Read More