Environment, Home

Increasing Awareness about Wildfire-Related Air Quality Issues

More than 10 million acres were burned in fires throughout the US in 2017, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Besides damaging plant life and buildings, fires can also significantly affect air quality.

In a recent report, NPR explained wildfire-related air quality problems and the financial issues many organizations and households face when needing to buy air cleaners. According to NPR, public health departments are giving greater importance to wildfire-related air quality problems as wildfire seasons increase in duration and intensity.

For instance, at the beginning of last year, Missoula County’s Health Department started collaborating with Climate Smart Missoula to provide HEPA air cleaners to seniors before the beginning of the fire season. By summer, they extended the program to include other at-risk residents. To compare, the department’s earlier approach was to issuing advisories warning.

According to Dan Debelius, Group Analyst at industrial researcher Freedonia, “At risk populations, particularly those with respiratory ailments, like asthma and chronic bronchitis, are susceptible to further health issues if exposed to poor quality air. Air treatment can prove invaluable to these people, as it reduces or even eliminates the source of the problem, rather than just treating the symptoms.”

Chemicals, Home

Federal Policy: CPSC Warns Pregnant Women and Children Against Toxic Flame Retardants

In a landmark recommendation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has asked consumers, particularly those who are pregnant or with young children, to ask retailers if their children’s products, electronics casings, furniture, and mattresses are free from organohalogen flame retardants. The recommendation further asks manufacturers to eliminate the use of these chemicals. Ninety seven percent of Americans have toxic flame retardants in their bodies.

This is a clear shift from the “one chemical at a time” policy. According to Commissioner Elliot Kaye,”As a policy maker, and more importantly, as a parent, I am horrified and outraged at how chemicals are addressed in this country.” He further said, “Waiting to assess the safety of chemicals after they are already in consumers’ homes and our children’s bloodstreams is totally irrational public policy.”


Environment, Home

Recycling Rates on The Decline in California

California’s Bottle Bill is 30 years old, but the 30th anniversary comes with great concern about the recycling rates in the State.

Former Assembly member Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles), the author of the legislation, Assembly Bill 2020, stated “The legislation set a goal of 80 percent beverage container recycling, which we exceeded in 2008, reaching as high as 85 percent in (2013). But as of mid-2017, recycling rates have slid backwards and now are at 77 percent. There’s an easy fix the Legislature can make in the next few weeks to reverse that trend.”

In the last two years more than 560 recycling centers (about 20%) have closed due to a decrease in recycler reimbursement levels. In terms of container quantity, 2.5 million fewer containers are being recycled per day compared to the last reporting period.

A legislation to address the recycling issue has been put forth by Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Phil Ting and is supported by the Brown Administration. However, it was ignored during recent budget negotiations and is likely to die unless taken up by the Legislature before it adjourns in mid-September.

Environment, Grid, Home

Power Restored for 405,000 Georgia Power Customers

Hurricane Irma’s affected about 1 million Georgia Power customers. The utility has restored power to over 405,000 customers in 24 hours, but as of 18:30 Tue, about 545,000 are still without power. Restoration estimates will be given after assessment is complete.

Georgia Power must wait until conditions are safe to begin power restoration. Rain, strong winds, and other factors such as blocked areas may also delay the assessment and restoration process.

Update – 18:30 Tuesday

The company is attending to over 9,800 cases (including broken lines and poles)

The hurricane has affected supply in several areas around Columbus, Savannah, Metro Atlanta, etc.

Under severe weather conditions, Georgia Power can use additional resources as part of the Southern Company system. The utility is also part of a national mutual assistance network of utilities. While Georgia Power has requested for help through the network, resources have been assigned to harder-hit areas in Florida.

Environment, Home, Water

Texas Flooding – Rainfall Could Exceed 50 Inches…


The National Weather Service said Sunday the flooding in the Houston Texas area was “unprecedented” and its impacts are “unknown & beyond anything experienced.” Houston officials now looking for anyone with a boat to help search and rescue efforts. Additionally, Galveston Texas officials are looking for anyone with flat bottom boats to rescue people.

via Texas Flooding Breaks all Records – Rainfall Totals Could Exceed 50 Inches… — The Last Refuge