Wednesday, March 24, 2010


It was way too cold this winter, it started late in New England and I had parsley from my garden for Thanksgiving for the first time since i have been up here.
The cold weather reached Florida this year and the tomato crops were killed.
There was a lot of snow, all over the country, but the East coast has had record breaking warm weather for mid march, unheard of.
There are already floods on the rivers from all the snow melting.
This is the confusion about global warming or rather climate change.
We, who are not studying it, think with what we experience on a daily or seasonal basis and it becomes confusing.
Climate change means things are less predictable, an El Nino forms are the weather gets strange, we get more storms, more snow, more cold in one part that is typically very cold and another gets warmer weather.  Storms become harder to predict, a 25 mph front becomes a 80 mph hurricane.
It is the unpredictability of the weather that makes it climate change, not how cold or hot it is today or tomorrow or even this year.  Those are all variables.  It is the difference from normal patterns that spells a significant change.  It is abnormal fluctuations that are the problem and then there is the average temperature of the entire globe, which, despite cold in one place or another, is still going up.
We are in a solar minimum and that effects things greatly.  If it were not a minimum, the temperature would still be hotter.  The sun has a lot to say about it, so do we.
Now what about our part in it?
It is arrogance for us to think we do not effect the planet in very significant ways.
Is ours a major player?  No the major player is the sun and volcanoes, but we still have a part to play.
The climate changes and swings naturally also, but for us to deny that we contribute is arrogance or worse, greed.  Because it takes money and effort and it affects the bottom line for a company not to have an impact. 
Will it happen any way?  I would say yes.
Will it happen sooner if we do not do something to stop it?  I would say yes.
so why not try to help at least our grand children and they may be able to adapt.
It is clear that politicians and companies have no clue the way the debate rages on.
It is time to stop listening to either side of that debate, listen to the entire earth, we might see something.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Poll results

I was surprised and learned some things.
The first is that there is a movement away from bleach usage, but it is very small and most people have no idea about it.
While the poll was not scientifically random, it did include a wide cross section of people.
27 responders
3 no longer use bleach or try to use other products labeled "eco-friendly"
that left 24 in the category of "Who does not use bleach?"
To me, the 3 are significant in that I was not aware of any do not use bleach movement.
I had no responders from out of the USA.
The 3 were from different areas of the country, were different age groups and different politics (I am very sure of this in 2 cases, but not the third).
I learned something.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Information needed

This is an informal poll and is an attempt for me to gain knowledge and change my attitude if necissary.
I recently have had a couple of people tell me they never use bleach or bleach products,
Bleach products would include products that have chlorox in them (laundry bleach, cleaning products with bleach, mildew stain removal products, many disinfecting liquids), most pool disinfecting chemicals (bromine is another), most automatic dishwasher detergents and many other cleaning products.

The question starts with my statement that I do not know anyone who does not use some product with bleach in it.
Do you know anyone WHO DOES NOT USE ANY product with bleach?
Please respond with the location of the world (Provence or state and country)  and what is the alternative used.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

scofieldtown dump - the investigation

As meeting progress and people leave and new people come and ideas change hands and people get angry.  I am still waiting for the science.  Yes, I am admitted "Squint" (as coined in the TV show; Bones).
All those homes that were tested (I count 197, plus some that were done by private home owners and then shared), what was the big deal?
The START survey contracted by the US EPA found pesticides in some wells on Hannah's Road.  They found a spot with some Dieldren in the playground are of the dump, but what else was found?
It is not talked about.  The public talks VOCs.SVOCs. Heavy metals, but the things found in the greatest concentrations in the area where the water drains out of the dump, were none of those.
It was old pesticides, DDT and its family (DDE and DDD) and a PCB pesticide Archlor.  Those levels were hundreds to tens of thousands of times greater than dieldren found.  If the dump was a source, they would be in the wells.  They were looked for, they were not found even in a trace amount.
The START testing looked at VOCs.  I was interested in VOCs, which are solvents and components of oil and gasoline.  The START testing found acetone, but in the quality control a "field blank" is carried with the sampler to ensure that any false contamination would not be introduced into the other samples.  The field blank had acetone.  Eliminate that as a VOC.
So out of the 197 homes tested, all for VOCs. what was the outcome?  Mostly chlorination and bromination by-products, all easily attributable to pools and hot tubs in the area and household bleach use.  There were a couple of strange chemicals found in 2 wells in trace amounts (Chlorotoluene), and two wells which had oil or gas residue.  One well with a paint solvent.  All of then very separate from each other.
The big thing about the site is there was a salt dome that was kept there, uncovered for years and some anecdotal evidence that the salt was buried into the dump after each season.  This would mean that thee are tons of water soluble sodium chloride flowing underground.
The wells in the area are very similar, most less than 300 feet in depth and only have 20 feet of casing.  there are many treatment softening systems used most disposing of the regeneration brine into their own septic systems.  Salt levels are varied, mostly along the lines of where the softeners are.  This can be further verified by levels of potassium, where the regeneration brine used was potassium chloride.
There are many other factor, the Villa Maria complex was an old farm house which farmed a large area.  there was a road leading south to what loos like a dump site for the farm, this is where Very Merry Rod ends.
Many wells were dug very close to the homes, there are no regulations and some of them abut the foundation.  Any termite treatment, which digs a hole 3 to 4 feet into the ground and then has an insecticide solution poured into it at intervals around the entire foundation of the home would effect a well that close to the foundation.
The issue is complex, but who fault is it?
All of ours because it is the years of not understanding what these chemicals could do to us and using them so haphazardly.
The dump is not the issue, all of us are the issue.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The anatomy of an outbreak

It starts with a report because somewhere someone was sick enough to either be admitted to a hospital or get their doctor concerned enough to check out why they were so sick.
Then another report. 
The second report should trigger an investigation, sometimes it does, some times not, but the third does.
Interviews are performed and a location that fits the time frame is uncovered.
Workers are then queried:
Is any one sick?  The response is usually a unified no.
More questions about what they do, when they work.
Then general food handling practice.
What do they work with?
Do they use gloves?
Do they wash their hands?
They all know the right answers, but occasionally some one blanches on a question nad we know the truth.
Stool samples are required of every worker.
They do not report all the people who work there, but samples form the workers come back positve.
Some confess they have been sick.  They know that if they are positive they will be out of work for at least 2 weeks.
The owner gets upsets, "we cook our chicken to 550 degrees!", he exclaims.
We look at each other and tell him it is not the chicken.  that it probably was someone who was sick working with out gloves on the salad.  he blanches and asks, gloves?  Salad?
A worker comes in, not on our list. 
They work nights. 
They were not told about the problem.
They have been sick.
They say everyone has been sick.
We know, we say.
More positive stools and now the restaurant is closed because all their workers test positive, even the owners.
We are told of people having been sick who ate there, but it is now a long while and they are okay.
When did it start?  We do not know.
How many people got sick?  A lot, many more than we will ever find.
Why. why don't they wash their hands?