American Council on Science and Health The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) is a consumer education consortium concerned with issues related to food, nutrition, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, lifestyle, the environment and health. ACSH is one of the few fearless voices of reason on these matters.
Christopher Whalen One guy who really understands the financial crisis. Brilliant insights. Links to his other sites.
The Coach's Team Coach Kevin Collins has an impressive resume, and uses all of his talents to demolish the Left. Site includes some guest columnists, as well.
Discussions In Infection Control This blog, designed and written exclusively by Lawrence F Muscarella, PhD, gives you the most comprehensive discussion of healthcare-associated (hospital) infections (or, “HAIs”), infection control, and both instrument and endoscope reprocessing in the world.
Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Provides much-needed balance to the increasingly strident health care lobby that seems intent on scaring everyone about almost everything.
Formaldehyde Facts Your antidote to formaldehyde phobia in the media, from ACC's formaldehyde panel.
Health Care Renewal Expert analysis of what's wrong with American health care. Advocating for accountability, integrity, transparency, honesty, and ethics in leadership and governance of health care.
Health News Digest One of the best and biggest health sites on the web. New content on a daily basis, geared to the professional and informed lay audience.
Interscan Corporation The independent pros in gas detection, known for taking on the tough applications. Site has much technical material, way beyond mere product touts.
Jewish World Review One of the original news/opinion aggregate sites. Founder/Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Binyamin L. Jolkovsky calls it "The intersection of faith, culture and politics." Loaded with content tending toward politically conservative. An oasis for energetic Judaism.
JunkScience.com Steven Milloy and company do a great job in exposing junk science, which he defines as: Faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas. Lots of good content.
Loren Feldman Feldman does videos, marketing, commentary and...puppets. He also understands tech and art.
Overlawyered Chronicling the high cost of our legal system. Water Olson and company explore an American legal system that too often turns litigation into a weapon against guilty and innocent alike, erodes individual responsibility, rewards sharp practice, enriches its participants at the public’s expense, and resists even modest efforts at reform and accountability.
Paradigms and Demographics Ohio-based "bug guy" Rich Kozlovich dishes on junk science, junk politics, and many other matters. Rich is also on the prowl 24/7 for supplemental content written by Others. And he still has time to kill pests!
Quiet Music Nick Francis is a superb music programmer. Of course, it helps that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of music. Stream, subscribe, enjoy.
Selwyn Duke Hard-hitting and well-written conservative commentary, from a modern day renaissance man. The Duke is not afraid to ruffle some feathers, or invoke his Catholic faith, either.
SenSoft International Expert assistance on GSA, VA, DOD, and other federal contracts. Yes, there really can be great customer service in such an esoteric space.
The Excel Addict Most of us use Excel. Some of us use it a lot, and are constantly looking for easier ways to do things. Francis Hayes--the Excel Addict--offers plenty of free tips, a regular newsletter, and an inexpensive book to download.
The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics Everything you know about cholesterol causing heart disease is wrong, and this website is run by eminent doctors who are trying to set the record straight. But, with billions of dollars in drug sales at stake, it won't be easy.
The Nutrition Experts The name says it all. Jo-Ann Heslin and Karen Nolan have sold millions of books, and have re-launched their information-packed website. What's more, they encourage website visitors to submit questions.
Weasel Zippers Conservative commentary from all over the Web. Updated constantly.
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Widen the scope of financial, economic and political information available to the professional investing public; provide analysis uninhibited by political constraint; liberate oppressed knowledge
On May 25th, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a news release entitled "CPSC Identifies Manufacturers of Problem Drywall Made in China."
Here are the first three paragraphs of the release:
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing today the names of the drywall manufacturers whose drywall emitted high levels of hydrogen sulfide in testing conducted for the agency by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). There is a strong association between hydrogen sulfide and metal corrosion.
Of the samples tested, the top ten reactive sulfur-emitting drywall samples were all produced in China. Some of the Chinese drywall had emission rates of hydrogen sulfide 100 times greater than non-Chinese drywall samples.
"Homeowners who have problem drywall in their homes are suffering greatly", said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "I appeal to these Chinese drywall companies to carefully examine their responsibilities to U.S. families who have been harmed and do what is fair and just."
Testing data, representative of 30 different manufacturer/year of manufacture samples, showing emissions rates for hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, sulfur dioxide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, ethyl mercaptan, and carbon disulfide are presented in a chart issued on May 27th.
In terms of hydrogen sulfide emissions, the first American-made product does not appear until the 13th position on the list. CPSC is careful to label anything significant as "draft," implying that a final report will be issued, although I was unable to get any information on when that might happen.
Likewise, the agency uses the craven language "...strong association between hydrogen sulfide and metal corrosion," even though it is beyond any doubt that hydrogen sulfide, along with other compounds, is causing the corrosion problems observed in homes constructed with the tainted drywall.
Two big questions are raised by these "draft" findings...
1. Three samples are presented from Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. The sample from 2005 tops the list with hydrogen sulfide emissions of 203.27 µg/m2/h (micrograms per square meter per hour).
But, the sample from 2009 does much better at 4.99, and the sample from 2006 is still a killer at 118.83.
Inasmuch as officials from China and the US met in Beijing to discuss problem drywall on May 24-25 (according to the news release), you would think that someone could have asked for an explanation of the radical improvements in Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Company's product. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that such details could go a long way in explaining what caused the problem in the first place.
2. The press release proudly touts that "To date, CPSC has spent over $5 million to investigate the chemical nature and the chain of commerce of problem drywall." I would ask how much of this work has actually helped the affected consumer.
So far, the only items of any use to a consumer would be the agency's identification and remediation guidelines. Ironically, if the cost of developing these guidelines is included in the $5 million figure, it would be a pittance, since much of this material had been freely available, long before the CPSC published its version.
Moreover, the remediation guidelines are woefully incomplete in that they do not call for any sort of residual surface treatment to be done to the home before new drywall is installed. It is well known that the corrosion problems can reappear in new drywall if the underlying concrete and studs are not properly treated.
The agency alludes to this—weakly—but escapes making any judgment as follows...
The Task Force does not have a scientific basis for evaluating the need for such steps, but homeowners should consider these options as they seek to make an informed decision in their particular situation.
Can't CPSC do any better than the "We need more data" gambit?
A noted building materials consultant asked me why CPSC farmed out the lab work to Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. I explained that the prestige of LBNL would prevent most people from criticizing the efforts. I guess I'm not "most people."
Methodology details on the LBNL efforts are provided in a report entitled "CPSC Staff Preliminary Evaluation of Drywall Chamber Test Results," from March, 2010. It is only in this document that one finds out that
Drywall samples provided to LBNL by CPSC were collected by CPSC staff from manufacturers, drywall suppliers and storage warehouses... These 30 drywall samples were not obtained from individual homes, and were unfinished...
Talk about starting off on the wrong foot. The problems caused by tainted drywall occur in houses, and not warehouses. Certainly it was easier to get the material from sources other than the affected private homes, but how representative would the samples be of the real world problems?
Good science requires that the samples chosen be representative of the problem being studied. To obtain them elsewhere was feckless, and betrays ivory tower/academic science at its worst.
Still, we have plenty of data, obtained at great expense. What can we do with it? I have no idea, so I posed that question to the agency. Hold onto your hats for the reply.
We're hoping that the release of this information (the drywall emission rates) will encourage the Chinese government to come to some settlement with the affected American consumers.
You can't make this stuff up.
In the meantime, neither CPSC nor any other agency has addressed the number one issue. Since 95 percent of affected homeowners cannot afford remediation, are there alternative measures that can be taken?
Don't hold your breath for any official body to step forward on that one.
If you've ever wondered how a chemical that earned the 1948 Nobel Prize could get blacklisted two decades later, you have to read The Excellent Powder: DDT's Political and Scientific History. Authors Donald Roberts and Richard Tren, of the group Africa Fighting Malaria, have done a superb job, and have somehow made the book suitable for the techie and layperson alike.
You'll read about the incredible junk science put forth by St. Rachel Carson, and the shameless posturing against this compound by elite journals such as Science. Meanwhile, millions of Africans were dying, but according to evil hacks like Paul Ehrlich, that was just fine.
If banning DDT is what founded the modern environmental movement, then it was founded on a gigantic lie. Read my book review in Health News Digest.
In anticipation of the e-mails: She is "Saint" Rachel since even though most Greens with a science background now acknowledge that her anti-DDT screed was complete nonsense, she has attained such iconic status that it doesn't matter. Yes, yes, I realize that the use of "Saint" is theologically incorrect, as all canonizations are infallible and go through an extensive vetting process, which our secular Saint Rachel did not—until it was too late.
Good guy Trevor rightly mocks some ABC journos who "discover" that consuming sugar will raise your blood glucose level. There is also some excellent data presented, which should be of interest to those of us who tend to obsess over blood glucose levels.
Unfortunately, this was a big disappointment. Those who think that Ridley Scott can do no wrong will be forced to reconsider.
If movies are now geared to 17-year-old boys, Scott wouldn't be happy to know that most of the ones I saw were text-messaging during this largely boring pic. Read my complete review, which skewers some of the revisionist PC in this feature.
To produce a 240-page document that raises environmentally-induced cancer to anything more than minuscule importance is positively shameful, and this panel—consisting of two whole people—should be condemned, nay mocked by the scientific community.
To the clueless LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S. and Margaret L. Kripke, Ph.D. I would say this:
The only proven cancer risk from chemicals derived from a very small number of cases of heavy occupational exposure, and this was pre-OSHA, of course. Almost nothing in your absurd report can be backed up, and the production of this document should force both of you into immediate retreat from public life.
More than that, you have discredited the work of every agency currently in place that, if anything, has gone overboard to limit exposure to toxic chemicals.
This is truly a disgrace, and you both richly deserve all the negative feedback.
It would be too easy to dismiss all this as a load of crap, but when you consider the broad media coverage given to a minute number of complaints on the product, is there a better descriptive phrase?
My latest HND piece takes a hard look at the complaints logged by some parents on the new diaper formulation, and suggests that empowerment of the clueless by social media might not be a good thing. Very telling is that Procter & Gamble is logging the same number of complaints (and that's a scant few) as it did with the old formulation of Pampers.
Here's a portion of a statement from Dr. Kimberly Thompson, founder of Kids Risk, Inc.—a non-profit organization dedicated to pediatric safety and risk issues—and adjunct associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health:
From a public health standpoint, parents need to know that the diapers are safe, they have been extensively tested, and that the millions of babies who have already used the over 2.2 billion Pampers diapers sold to date with the new technology do not appear to be experiencing any increase in the number, types, or severity of diaper rashes.
Interscan was the first company to realize the importance of data logging in the field of gas detection, coming out with its dosimeters way back in the early 1980s. This was followed by a complete data acquisition/archiving/reporting package called Arc-Max®, introduced a few years later.
When Windows arrived on the scene, Interscan revamped Arc-Max to be based on a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) engine—for enhanced reliability and compatibility with sensors besides its own.
This latest version of Arc-Max is more user-friendly, and lends itself better to customization. Process and environmental sensors can be mixed and matched more readily, and the reporting features can be tweaked to give you exactly what you want.
Virtually all common communication protocols are supported, and the new system is easier to network.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and other agencies, it is a no-brainer. "All" you have to do is tear out all the drywall in your house, and rebuild it. Doing this will cost the affected homeowner about $35/square foot ($377/square meter). The quoted price includes a treatment to the remaining surfaces, which, even though not mentioned by the Feds, is clearly necessary. Without this, your new drywall will get contaminated by what's left in the studs and concrete.
Note that the necessity for this treatment is not mentioned by any of the agencies. Of course, there are many who say that the Feds (and the state agencies for that matter) are "AWOL on drywall."
Since the affected homeowners are going to have to pay the total cost of this remediation out of their own pockets, with no insurance coverage, and no help of any other kind on the horizon, many are understandably wondering if they can live with the problems—or at least postpone having to fix them.
Don't bother looking for guidance on this matter on any government website. Remember "AWOL..."?
Sadly, with certain life safety issues in play, delay in remediation is not without its risks. My latest HND piece covers this topic is some detail. Check it out!