Archives for category: Health

FreshPaper by fenugreen is paper infused with natural, organic, botanic ingredients that greatly reduces food spoilage. Kavita Shakla won the Inventor of the Week award from Lemelson-MIT for FreshPaper and she has doubled and quadrupled the lifetime of food that sits in people’s refrigerators with this paper. FreshPaper is also biodegradable and compostable. The mission is: Fresh for All. Kavita tells the fabulous story of her invention here:

 

(Source: http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/shukla.html )

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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Green building is expected to grow 10% in upcoming years and many in the industry consider sustainable building to be the “right way to build” now a days. At a time when people are still building, consuming, and spending the majority of their time indoors it is critical that we build more sustainable buildings. Calrecycle.ca.gov explains that green buildings are designed to meet certain objectives such as “protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; using energy, water, and other resources more efficiently; and reducing the overall impact to the environment”. If you’ve ever been in a green building before, high achieving green buildings are stunning. The air quality inside certainly feels better than most buildings, the overall impact to the environment is also great because of the landscaping that is chosen and you would notice different materials that are likely made from recycling.

This article is preparation for a very special “How to Choose a Green Contractor” interview/article that is coming soon. What’s important to know ahead of time, is what a green building looks like because it is a fairly new idea. Some of the benefits are lower operating costs over the life of the building, improved productivity, reduced environmental impact, and increase in health and in comfort.

Some green buildings look like the modern marvels they are but they can also be designed to be more lavish like other fabulous homes of the past. Now, let’s look at some inspiring homes, and please read next week for the special piece that’s coming up!

green halo waste tracking system building green leed wood nvidia green halo waste tracking system building green leed wood green halo waste tracking system building green leed green leed building green halo waste tracking system

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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Obama and the EPA 's fight on power plants, the epa, climate change and green house gas

We at Green Halo Systems have been following the news about the USA’s greenhouse gas policies since the beginning of the year when the Secretary of State John Kerry’s goal was to become the “lead broker of a global climate treaty” according to The New York Times. John Kerry has made President Barack Obama and millions of others focus on global warming in the past six months and today it was announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a 30% cut from 2005 figures to all power plant emissions by 2030.

To review some of what has happened since the beginning of the year, this past February, the EPA drafted a new rule to regulate 1,500 power plans in America to curb climate change and to tighten the language on such a rule. Later that month, Pres Obama ordered the development of new fuel efficiency standards for the nation’s heavy-duty trucks through the use of executive authority. Days later, the Supreme Court considered the President’s orders when it comes to emissions from “stationary sources” such as power plants. Pres Obama’s use of executive authority has since become a popular topic.

At the end of March the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change report warned that climate change is having a “sweeping effect worldwide” that is likely to grow worse unless greenhouse emissions get under control. The report gave weight to Pres Obama’s effort to use his executive authority under The Clean Air Act.

During April the United Nations report said that the United States needs to develop a climate change law so taxing carbon pollution was up for discussion. Paul Krugman’s response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s statement was that economists’ optimism about limiting emissions of greenhouse gases is due to technological innovations that have decreased the cost of renewable energy.

At the beginning of May, Pres Obama announced investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The President campaigned to build support for the EPA’s carbon pollution limits on pollution from coal-fired power plants. Also in May, research about the giant glaciers’ “tipping points” as proof of global warming was scrutinized by The New York Times. Pres Obama also recently stated that the proof of climate change makes this issue “not some distant problem of the future”.

And so now, in the beginning of June, Pres Obama reiterated the importance of climate change policies in his second-term agenda. On June 1st, 2014, the Obama administration proposed what might be the most ambitious climate change mitigation strategy in the USA so far. The proposal is that the entire power sector (America’s largest carbon polluter) must bring its emission levels down by 30% from what they were in 2005 by the year 2030.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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There is currently legislation to phase out products containing plastic microbeads in New York and Illinois. These tiny pieces are often made out of plastic and they are commonly put into body washes and facial cleansers to exfoliate the skin. Environmentalists say that these microbeads are polluting the ocean and research is now underway in the Great Lakes which contain more than 20% of the world’s freshwater.

Earth Touch News Network explains: “Because of their small size and buoyancy, microbeads escape treatment by sewage plants and are discharged into rivers, lakes and oceans. Mistaken for food, they’re ingested by small fish and other aquatic life. But the problem isn’t just the obvious belly-aching threat of swallowing plastic. The plastic beads also accumulate toxic chemicals that may be found in the water, poisoning the fish” small fish can die from ingesting too many microbeads.

microbead legislation new york illinois green halo

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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A list of kids’ responses on the KidsCom® Web site showed what many kids thought would be a great invention for the earth:

http://www.parentstalk.com/kidseyes/ke_wkt_apr01.html

One thing that we found of particular interest from this list is that an overwhelming amount of children wrote in about how robots and machinery should be used to save the planet.

kids with robots

(Pictured above are children who built robots out of recycled materials in their first grade class)

It makes sense that since being responsible for our waste is extremely important to many but not necessarily to all, that robots could help pick up what others left out. Litter is an unsightly, and devastating issue that many cities have, and truth be told the main method of picking up others’ litter (clean-up crews) is usually not enough. The solution of having people pick up waste for community service hours is a good remedy but clean up and being responsible for our waste in the first place should be improved.

robot

In a world where robots are being used to assemble cars, package goods and to perform numerous other functions, it seems reasonable to consider building more robots that benefit our environment.

Makers of electronic cigarettes such as Lorillard Inc. (LO) and Altria Group Inc. will for the first time face regulatory oversight, including passing a review to stay on the market, under a U.S. plan that doesn’t ban TV ads or flavored versions of the new products.

The Food and Drug Administration today proposed to extend its reach over the tobacco industry to include the $3 billion market for e-cigarettes such as NJOY and blu, as well as cigars. The rules, if made final, will prohibit sales to minors, ban free samples and require nicotine addiction warnings.

Green Halo - E-Cigs Under FDA ReviewConsumer groups have said e-cigarette companies use candy flavors, TV ads and music festival sponsor-ships to target youth, who doubled their use of the products in 2012 from a year earlier. Agency officials called today’s proposal a foundation that may lead to tighter control in the future.

“For the first time there will be a science-based, independent regulatory agency providing gate-keeping,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a briefing. “The regulator will finally be doing its job.”

Industry representatives reacted positively to the proposal.

“This is not a sort of trenched-in, battlefield mentality,” Miguel Martin, president of e-cigarette maker Logic, said in an interview. “ We want to work with the FDA.”

Martin and Jeff Holman, president and co-founder of Vapor Corp., were upbeat about the FDA’s plan.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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Cancer is a devastating killer that takes one out of every eight lives on the planet. While cancer treatments have improved over the years, one key to battling the disease is early detection, which has historically been invasive, painful or hit-and-miss. That’s why the latest research from a group of Swiss and Japanese scientists is so exciting: working together, these scientists have created a surprising new way to catch cancer that is as simple as taking a breath.

Green Halo - Scientists Develop a Way to Detect Cancer on Patient's BreathGenki Yoshikawa at the National Institute of Materials Science in Japan, Frederic Loizeau from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Hans Peter Lang at the University of Basel in Switzerland and their colleagues worked together to create a sensor that is able to detect head and neck cancer using breath analysis. Previously, cantilevers with a chemical layer coating could absorb compounds which would deflect the cantilevers, but this system wasn’t sensitive enough to detect cancer. So scientists figured out a way to make the system much more sensitive using nano-chemical sensors in what is known as a membrane-type surface stress sensor (MSS).

The improved MSS was presented at the 26th IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems and in a double-blind trial, the scientists were able to accurately detect four cancer patients from four healthy patients using the new system. The units are easily portable and work as a sort of mobile nose to sniff out cancer in its early stages, potentially saving lives and alleviating some of the uncertainty when diagnosing cancer.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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China’s food safety problems have no better symbol than the illegal and utterly disgusting problem of gutter oil. Cooking oil is used heavily in Chinese food, so some street vendors and hole-in-the-wall restaurants buy cheap, black market oil that’s been recycled from garbage. You read that correctly. Enterprising men and women will go through dumpsters, trash bins, gutters and even sewers, scooping out liquid or solid refuse that contains used oil or animal parts. Then they process that into cooking oil, which they sell at below-market rates to food vendors who use it to cook food that can make you extremely sick.

This video, produced by Radio Free Asia, shows in excruciating detail how a couple of gutter oil vendors go about their work. It starts with the couple scooping sewage out of the ground, and it ends with unwitting Chinese consumers chowing down on the end product:

To reiterate, this is illegal, something that Chinese authorities are trying to stop and not used by all street vendors. But it’s also thought to be widespread. Being reprocessed garbage and sewage, gutter oil contains all sorts of untold carcinogens. Many of the operations, like the one shown in the video, are small-time. But there’s enough money to be made that some producers go much bigger.

In April, Chinese authorities uncovered a gutter oil production ring that spanned 13 cities and over 100 people, who somehow acquired rotten animal parts and boiled down the fat into oil. The sting, which came after a five-month investigation, yielded 3,200 tons of the stuff; authorities estimated the black-market producers had already sold a stunning $1.6 million worth of their product.

Food in China is delicious, and gutter oil typically is used just in some street food stalls or cheap, hole-in-the-wall dives. But it is a reminder why authorities there are deeply concerned about food safety issues.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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A cloud of smog has enveloped Paris – and on Friday air pollution levels were actually worse than notoriously smoggy Beijing. The French capital is taking emergency measures to reduce air pollution – over the weekend the city made public transportation, bike sharing and electric car sharing free, and starting Monday private cars and motorcycles with even registration numbers will be banned. 700 police officers are stationed at checkpoints issuing $31 (€22) fines for violators. Electric vehicles, hybrids and cars carrying at least three people are exempt.

While Monday’s air quality is improving in parts of the city, a check of the Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) still finds “hazardous” levels of air pollution at Boulevard Haussmann in the eighth and ninth arrondissements. The fine particulate (PM2.5) index value of 880 is dangerous, and authorities have warned that “everyone may experience more serious health effects.”

Green Halo - Paris Air Quality Worse Than BeijingExperts blame last week’s unsafe pollution levels — the worst in France since 2007 — on a combination of unseasonable warm and sunny days and cool nights with low wind speeds and precipitation. These factors kept toxic pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide near the ground instead of dissipating into the atmosphere.

France’s extensive use of diesel fuel is being scrutinized as a contributing factor to the unhealthy levels of air pollution. An estimated 60 percent of French vehicles use diesel-powered engines, and in 2011 70 percent of French car sales were diesel. Since World War II the French government has subsidized the use of diesel and there is a powerful corporate diesel lobby. The problem with diesel is that while it reduces carbon emissions compared to gasoline-powered engines, it increases fine particulates that cause air pollution. The World Health Organization has also found that diesel fumes are carcinogenic.

To curb pollution, authorities in Paris and the Île-de-France region surrounding the capital will also be lowering the speed limit, urging people to not burn wood in their fireplaces, requesting that trucks with heavy loads avoid traveling around the city, and asking factories to work on a reduced schedule to cut back on emissions.

Extreme smoggy conditions also hit northern and eastern regions of France, with the smog belt extending to Belgium and Germany. Similar pollution-reducing measures such as free public transportation have also been implemented in other European cities.

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A coal mine fire burning for almost a month is forcing residents of an Australian town from their homes after pollution more than 22 times above recommended safe levels triggered a health alert.

Green Halo - Australians Flee Beijing-Style Smog as Coal Mine BurnsFirefighters are pumping as much as 84,000 liters of water a minute, the equivalent of about two Olympic-size swimming pools an hour, onto the burning mine at GDF Suez’s Hazelwood power station in Victoria state, according to local authorities. Pollution readings in the nearby town of Morwell, 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Melbourne, peaked last month at levels beyond hazardous on the Air Quality Index.

Residents have abandoned more than half of the 750 homes in the worst-affected area, as families with pregnant women, elderly people and young children take up A$1,250 ($1,128) weekly payments to temporarily relocate, according to the state government. Victoria’s Premier Denis Napthine has urged people in the region to offer vacant holiday homes to those seeking respite and pledged use of his own coastal vacation property.

“The ash falling out of the sky every day was getting in to every part of the house that wasn’t air tight, it smelled like an ashtray,” said Nick Albon, a 30-year-old engineer who moved out of his home about 500 meters from the mine’s northern boundary on Feb. 16. “Headaches were the first thing to instantly hit. As soon as you got out in the smoke, you could taste it in your mouth whenever you were outside.”

Another great Green article from Green Halo
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