Sunday, September 28, 2014

GoodGuide and Skin Deep -- Rate products for sustainability and toxicity

Daniel Goleman mentions as a website that allow consumer product ratings on the Health, Environment and Society (companies social practices).  Items can be checked out individually or by class of chemicals such as laundry detergents.  The highest rated products are listed first.

Skin Deep is another website that helps users choose the safest cosmetics to use. The items are rated on potential toxicity.  The rating system is transparent but a bit complex.   You can also search for specific chemical components.  This is helpful for a person looking at specific ingredients in a product.

David O'Rourk - GoodGuide - 8 min.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Legionella in Potting Soil Mix Linked to Australian Mother's Death.

An Australian mother taking medication for arthritis died from Legionella likely the  Legionella longbeachae strain on January 14, 2014.  Her exposure to the Legionella bacteria was linked to potting soil mix.  She refused early medical treatment thinking the symptoms she had were linked to side effects from her arthritis medication.  The Legionella diagnosis came to late and she died when her lungs ceased to function.  Her father granted an interview with Angella Cutterback from WANews.

This case is prompting a discussion regarding proper warning labels with potting soil mix. People are suggesting that the labels have explicit directions to wear a respirator while working with the potting soil.  Some potting soils do have warnings "avoid inhaling the mix."  The deaths are not infrequent as a cluster of deaths was reported in 2005 noted in the caption below the photo.

 Death from potting soil mix - Carol Nadar AuNews 2005 - Photo Estelle Grunberg
Using a respirator would be especially important for elderly individuals or those with suppressed immune systems.  The immune system can be suppressed through illness, age or medication.  Many anti-arthritic medications suppress the immune system to reduce the inflammatory response of the body.

The most comfortable disposable respirator has an exhalation valve and two straps.  The exhalation valve reduces moisture buildup inside the mask making it more comfortable to wear.  The respirators make it harder to breath so some individuals may not have the cardiovascular fitness to wear one.

3M - N-95 respirator with exhalation valve.

Legionnaires' disease - 14 minutes

Friday, September 5, 2014

Castle made by concrete 3D printer

Andrey Rudenko- Breitbart article
A local Shorewood, Minnesota architect/engineering, Andrey Rudenko, has developed a process of 3D printing with concrete.  This 7 foot high castle took 3 months to build.  According to the Mpls Star Tribune, he had originally planned to construct it in less then a week but had issues with weather and equipment. 

Optimizing the equipment for high viscosity and low flow has been a challenge but he has worked through the difficulties.  He is planning on constructing a real house using this technique.  He envisions that this process would reduce the time and cost associated with home construction.  Using metal reinforced concrete with foam insulation would work well for energy efficiency as well as sound attenuation.  He is looking to construct his home in a warmer climate in a state that allows this technique in their building codes.

Chinese researchers have also been experimenting with a similar process. 

3D printer Castle - Minnesota -2min.

China 3D printer for houses in less than a day - 12 min.