Nearly 9,500 People Die Each Year in London from Air Pollution

Smog

Debate continues to rage in almost every circle about whether global warming is simply a natural cyclical phenomenon or whether are responsible because of our emissions. Put that debate aside because it really doesn’t matter whether our emissions are causing global warming or not. It doesn’t  matter because regardless we need to reduce emissions.

A new study on pollution in London came to the conclusion that almost 10,000 people die each year because of air pollution. Previous studies showed much lower numbers but this is primarily because they failed to include NO2 in the study. Diesel engines and vehicles are the main culprit when it comes to NO2 emissions.

Clean emissions in the past decade has mainly focused on gasoline engine emissions largely ignoring diesel engines. This new data opens up a whole new issue when it comes to air quality, especially in big cities like London.

You can read more about this story on environment-today.org


NSC Declares War on Opiates

Did you know…
That since 1999 deaths because of opiates has quadrupled?
That 45 people die every day from overdoses and misuse of opiates?
That the number of deaths from opiates is twice as much as the number of deaths from Heroin and Cocaine combined?
That 60% of those who abuse painkillers are employed full-time?

The National Safety Council is responding to this alarming trend. Have a look at their Youtube video:

NSC_Opiates


Changes in Confined Space Standard

In case you didn’t know it OSHA’s new standard for confined space work goes into effect August 3, 2015. That’s just around the corner and you’re going to be help accountable for the changes if you or anyone who works for you must enter a confined space.

Check out and download the new standard by clicking on the image below.

Be forewarned, it’s a 162 pages. On the plus side, you’ve still got about 3 weeks to read it.

Confined_Space_Standard



Understanding What Sunscreen Does and Doesn’t Do

I don’t know about the weather where you live but here in Western Washington where I live we’ve seen record high temperatures and more than enough sun to last us all summer (yes, there are plenty of us here in Washington bemoaning the lack of rain). With all this sun, we’ve already seen our fair share of sunburn and this is because many people still don’t understand what sunscreen is and what it does.

Let’s start with the basics. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The Sun Protection Factor number is telling you how much longer you can stay out in the sun than you could if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all. An SPF of 15, for example, is letting you know that, if you normally can stay out in the sun for 30 minutes without sunburn or damage to your skin, with SPF 15 sunscreen you will be able to stay out 15 times longer, that is to say 7.5 hours. Increase the SPF to 30 and you should be okay for 15 hours. SPF 15 blocks 93% of the UVB rays which means that out of every 100 photon bombarding your skin 93 will be blocked while 7 will get through. SPF 30 blocks 97%.

SunX_4oz_lotion

Sounds pretty logical and straightforward, right? Not really! The problem is that most of us don’t really apply the sunscreen properly. Most of us, according to a numerous studies, only apply 1/5 to 1/2 of the amount that the manufacturer recommends (After all, we reason, of course they want me to apply lots of sunscreen, that way they can sell more!). If you apply only 1/5 of the amount of sunscreen with a protection factor of 15, you end up with a protection of only 3 rather than 15 so that now, instead of being able to stay out in the sun for 7.5 hours you will now begin to suffer damage to your skin after only 1.5 hours.

Additionally, while you may not suffer sunburn which happens because of UVB, your skin can still suffer damage (which can cause skin cancer, aging, leathering, sagging and more) if the sunscreen doesn’t protect from UVA as well. Make sure that your sunscreen contains zinc oxide, avobenzone, titanium dioxide, ecamsule and oxybenzone for maximum protection.

Three more items of note… First, don’t rely on sunscreen if you don’t have to. Short exposures to the sun are best. Sun does provide our bodies with Vitamin D which is necessary for health so try to get some exposure but keep it under 30 minutes. If you absolutely must stay out in the sun, apply sunscreen. Secondly, be aware of the fact that sunscreen does deteriorate over time and that the sunscreen you purchased last year isn’t going to protect you as well this year and certainly not as well next year. Thirdly, don’t go tanning. Tanning will prematurely age your skin and expose you to harmful UV rays. A tan, which most people associate with health is actually the opposite. Brown skin is skin that is already damaged.

 


The Fatal Quest for “Likes”

An obsession with getting others to “Like” your selfies is leading to an increase in fatalities. So much so, in fact, that the Russian government has put out an infographic and pamphlet that they are hoping to get out to as many people as possible in hopes of changing the “selfie” culture and saving lives.

russian-selfie-guidelines

Each one of the icons above is an actual real life situation that resulted in death for the selfie taker. In a desire to be seen in strange, mysterious and even dangerous situations (because such selfies inevitably result in a great number of “likes” on Facebook) more and more people are exposing themselves to serious danger and, in some cases death.

Russian youth are not alone in their quest for Facebook notoriety. Witness this tourist in NY who climbed the Brooklyn bridge to take a selfie, prompting police to have to come out and get him down. All he wanted was a photo of himself on top of the bridge. Doesn’t matter that it was obviously illegal and dangerous. Or even this trend of taking selfies with wild animals which prompted a law banning selfies with tigers.

Earlier this year Disney banned the use of selfie sticks in it’s parks because of the fear of injury from patrons taking selfies on rides.



New USDA ‘FoodKeeper’ App: Your Tool for Smart Food Storage

My wife and I just got through watching a documentary entitled “Just Eat it“. It talks about the amount of food that is wasted in the US (almost 40%) and the world (almost 30%). That means that of the food that is grown, raised, prepared, packaged, etc… 40% of it ends up being discarded.

By far the worst culprit is the individual household. We over-purchase (Thanks Costco) and end up throwing a lot of the food away, thinking it is no longer good to eat. Part of it is the confusion has to do with consumers not understanding the dates on the products that they purchase. There is, of course, the “sell by” date which only means that the store should try to sell it by this date to ensure that the consumer has a reasonable shelf life let on the item after he or she gets it home. There’s also the “Best used by” date which means that the manufacturer would prefer it to be consumed by that date in order to make sure the consumer gets the best tasting product possible. It might still be good for another 3 weeks or so, depending on the product but consumers see this date and think that they’re going to get food poisoning if they eat it one minute past midnight on that date.

Fortunately, the USDA, in an effort to curb food waste, has come up with an App for your portable device that will help you know if your food should be tossed or if it is still safe to consume it.

FoodKeeper

The Foodkeeper app is available from the USDA website. Here’s what they have to say about it:

Application Features

The FoodKeeper application offers users valuable storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more. With the application you can:

  • Find specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, depending on the nature of the product;
  • Get cooking tips for cooking methods of meat, poultry and seafood products;
  • Note in your devices’ calendar when products were purchased and receive notifications when they are nearing the end of their recommended storage date;
  • Search the application with swipe gestures or voice control; and,
  • Submit a question to USDA using the ‘Ask Karen’ feature of the application. ‘Ask Karen’ is USDA’s 24/7 virtual representative. The system provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products.

– See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/04/02/new-usda-foodkeeper-app-your-new-tool-for-smart-food-storage/#sthash.n6RocXjy.dpuf


Home Alone – Child Safety

How old does a child need to be in order to be left at home alone? How about with siblings? Once you make that call, how do you ensure that they are safe and that their experience isn’t a negative one?

Home_Alone
With summer vacations and school being out many parents struggle with figuring out these type of questions.

Most states have no minimum age laws (Illinois, Maryland and Oregon are the exceptions with minimum ages set at 14, 8 and 10 respectively) preferring instead to let the parents decide for themselves when their child is mature enough. Children are all different and have different needs and while one child may be ready to be left alone at 10, another might not be ready until much later. Generally it’s probably best not to let a child under the age of 10 be alone except for very brief periods and certainly infants and toddlers should never be left alone, even for a few minutes.

Be that as it may, here are some tips to help in giving your child this type of independence:

– When you believe that your child is old enough, start by leaving them alone for a short period of time. As they show that they can handle it and don’t show unusual behavior (acting more nervous or fearful, suddenly having nightmares or other behavior changes that might signal fear that they might not be vocalizing) you can start extending the time.

– Make sure that your child knows how to calmly dial 911 and knows what to say.

– Make sure that the child knows his or her full name as well as the address of the house where they are.

– Make sure that they have your phone number memorized as well (It isn’t enough to have it set up in their cell phone. Cell phones can break and die and they need to know how to get a hold of you if this should happen.

– Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal clues about how the child feels about being alone in the house. Don’t force the child until he or she is ready.

– Make sure that the child knows how to work the security system if you have one installed; make sure they also know what to do if the alarm goes off.

– Walk through several scenarios with them such as what to do if there is someone at the front door, what to do if they see or hear someone walking around outside, what to say if someone calls, what to do in the event of a storm, tornado or other inclement weather, what to do if the power goes out (make sure you leave flashlights and let the child know where they are in case of power outage), etc…

– Set a time (or times, if the stay is longer) when the child needs to check in with you (This is a great test to see if they can follow orders and take responsibility).

– Let them know that this is a privilege but also a responsibility and because of that there are certain rules that if broken will result in them no being allow to be alone in the house again until they show that they are mature enough to abide by the rules (e. g. no friends get to come over, rules about how much TV or computer times they are allowed and what they are allowed to view, rules and restrictions about cooking, etc…)

– Finally make sure that the environment you are leaving them in is a safe one. Lock up all guns and firearms. Make sure that drugs and alcohol is locked up as well. Make sure that matches and lighters are put away too.

Being a good parent is all about leading a child from dependency on you, as the parent to independence and leaving them alone at home, in a safe environment is certainly one of the steps in this process. A little preparation, dialogue and instruction can make this transition easier and more worry free.


Telemedicine instead of ER?

An employee gets injured. Is the injury serious enough to justify a trip to the ER? If you don’t take the employee to the ER and there are complications you didn’t foresee, are you opening yourself up to a multi-million dollar law-suit?

Unless your company is large enough to justify the cost of a full-time nurse on staff, these are questions that you need to address. Telemedicine is technology that seeks to solve these issues. It isn’t necessary new but it is starting to catch on more and more.

Telemedicine is “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.” (source: http://www.americantelemed.org)

Telemedicine makes sense. Modern technology, including the inclusion of webcams on most computers and tablets nowadays means that remote diagnostics isn’t prone to the same errors it was when it relied on an untrained eye to relay that information back the doctor. The early days saw telemedicine being a stop gap for field operatives who used radios to speak to a doctor and take appropriate action. Now with video, doctors half a world away are able to see the patient and the injury in order to determine whether he or she needs to be taken to the ER.

In today’s work world, telemedicine makes great sense. You aren’t a doctor and you can’t always know how serious an injury is. Setting up a telemedicine account one way to protect yourself as well as your employees.

Learn more about it and get set up at http://www.americantelemed.org

ATA-Logo

Note: I do not work for American Telemed, nor am I getting paid for mentioning them. This is simply a post about a system that makes sense. There are other companies out there who offer similar services.