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The Chemical Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) Is Everywhere In St. Louis!

We’ve all heard about the horrible problem of lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan, but silence on the problem here in St. Louis: Dihydrogen Monoxide

Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol. (DHMO.org)

Despite the dangers, it is everywhere in our society. Where is the media on this? Silenced! At least with natural gas they add an odor so people can be aware of the danger it poses!

You've been warned!
You’ve been warned!

Turn on your tap and I guarantee you’re going to get DHMO — the same chemical Monsanto uses in many of its products. Independent test results have confirmed the presence of DHMO in taps in the St. Louis region.

Officials claim it is safe to drink — but they said that in Flint too!  Do you really want to take that chance?

Thankfully there are grassroots efforts to raise awareness and ban this harmful chemical:

The National Consumer Coalition Against DHMO (NCCADHMO), not affiliated with the Coalition to Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide, was founded in 1997 in an effort to raise public awareness about the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) in our daily lives. The secondary goal of NCCADHMO is to act in the public interest as a lobbying agent in Congress to affect public policy regarding the safety and uses of DHMO. Although we are not funded by the EPA, we are loosely affiliated with the US Environmental Assessment Center’s Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division. This affiliation was created in an effort to make information available to the public in an expedient fashion, and to provide a public forum for the ongoing DHMO debate. 

But DHMO has found its way into everything: food, beverages — even our own bodies! Yes, the chemical sprays on commercial crops & golf courses is in the food we eat daily.

— Steve Patterson

 

Above-Average Temperatures, Humidifier Kept Us Comfortable During Winter

March 23, 2016 Environment, Featured 5 Comments

The past winter was the warmest on record, from March 8th:

The Lower 48 states had its warmest winter in 121 years of record-keeping, NOAA announced this morning.

Temperatures averaged over the country between December and February were nearly five degrees above the 20th-century average. Every state but two were warmer than normal and all six New England states set winter records. (Washington Post)

From the NOAA:

  • The December–February average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 2.03°F (1.13°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for December–February in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.52°F (0.26°C). December 2015–February 2016 also marks the highest 3-month departure from average for any 3-month period on record, surpassing the previous record set last month, November 2015–January 2016, by 0.16°F (0.09°C).
  • The globally-averaged land surface temperature for December 2015–February 2016 was 3.47°F (1.93°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for December–February in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record of 2015 by 0.83°F (0.46°C). December 2015–February 2016 also marks the highest 3-month departure from average for any 3-month period on record, surpassing the previous record of November 2015–January 2016 by 0.70°F (0.40°C).
  • The December–February globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.51°F (0.84°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for December–February in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.40°F (0.22°C).

Though we had some cold spells, it didn’t seem as cold as last year. Here are the results from the non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Winter is over, how were your heating bills compared to the previous winter?

  • Substantially higher 0 [0%]
  • Higher 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat higher 2 [7.41%]
  • About the same 6 [22.22%]
  • Somewhat lower 6 [22.22%]
  • Lower [7 25.93%]
  • Substantially lower 6 [22.22%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 0% [0%]

More than two-thirds reported lower heating bills. Our heating bill was substantially lower — it was zero! Yes, we went all winter with our HVAC system turned off. Our loft has three floors below and above, plus units on each side. With windows only on one side, we’re well insulated. An advantage of multi-family living.

For comfort I worried more about the inside humidity level — dry Winter air feels colder.

Most of the Winter was like this -- 69 degrees. The humidity level was maintained by the regular use of a humidifier, boiling a large pot of water, and doing laundry. January 10th
Most of the Winter was like this — 69 degrees. The humidity level was maintained by the regular use of a humidifier, boiling a large pot of water, and doing laundry. January 10th
Both the interior temperature & humidity dropped when we went away for a few days in mid-February. This is from the 13th as we returned pm Amtrak. Upon returning we didn't turn on the furnace to take out the chill -- we raised the humidity level;
Both the interior temperature & humidity dropped when we went away for a few days in mid-February. This is from the 13th as we returned pm Amtrak. Upon returning we didn’t turn on the furnace to take out the chill — we raised the humidity level;
A few days ago we were back to the natural interior temperature for when we're home and maintaining the interior humidity
A few days ago we were back to the natural interior temperature for when we’re home and maintaining the interior humidity

Many sites suggest 40%-60% relative humidity for healthy air quality, but that depends on the outside temperature:

If outside temperature is 20 to 40 degrees, humidity indoors should not be more than 40 percent. (Source)

In the Spring & Summer we do need to use air conditioning, but largely to lower the humidity. Eventually we’ll get a dehumidifier.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Winter Heating Bill Compared To Previous?

March 20, 2016 Environment, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Winter Heating Bill Compared To Previous?
Please vote below
Please vote below

Spring is here!

Astronomically speaking, the equinox (March 19/20) marks spring’s beginning begins in the Northern Hemisphere (whereas it announces fall’s arrival in the Southern Hemisphere). At this moment, the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic. The equinox happens at the same moment worldwide, even if our clock times reflect a different time zone. 
Did you know this is the earliest spring of our lives thus far? Do you remember when spring started on March 21? It’s due to leap year madness.  Read more about, “The Earliest Spring of our Lives.

Meteorologically speaking, however, in the Northern Hemisphere the official spring season always begins on March 1 and continues through May 31. Summer begins on June 1; autumn, September 1; and winter, December 1.

Weather scientists divide the year into quarters this way to make it easier to compare seasonal and monthly statistics from one year to the next. The meteorological seasons are based on annual temperature cycles rather than on the position of Earth in relation to the Sun, and they more closely follow the Gregorian calendar. Using the dates of the astronomical equinoxes and solstices for the seasons would present a statistical problem because these dates can vary slightly each year. (Old Farmer’s Almanac)

Today’s poll question isn’t about Spring, it is about the Winter that just concluded:

The poll is open until 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Reducing Use of Plastic Disposable Straws Good for the Environment

March 9, 2016 Environment 15 Comments

Why would an urban blog ask about personal use of straws? It’s obvious to some of you, but this should help the rest of you.

Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That’s 46,400 school buses every year! 

Americans use these disposable utensils at an average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day. Based on national averages, this equates to each person in the U.S. using about 38,000 straws between the ages of 5 and 65.i Although straws are relatively small, that amount of waste really adds up! (National Park Service: The Be Straw Free Campaign)

Wow — that is a lot of straws!

The only times I use a straw are when I’m drinking a shake/malt — which isn’t very often. Unfortunately, I often forget to tell my server “no straw” when ordering water. I’ll remove it, but at that point it is headed to a landfill. Some restaurants use wrapped straws which allows me to leave it unused. I hope they’re not discarded when the table is cleared. I’d like to work with someone to develop a program to encourage restaurants to only give out straws when requested or necessary (shake/malt)

Some people use straws because they worry about sugary drinks hitting their teeth or staining. Straws only help if you get the straw past your teeth.

Most restaurants use plastic or glass for drinks, neither of which need a straw. Even fast food cups don’t require a straw — except to go.

Further reading:

Here are the results from the Sunday Poll:

Q: When eating out, do you use a plastic straw to drink your beverage?

  • Always 13 [27.08%]
  • Sometimes 14 [29.17%]
  • Rarely 14 [29.17%]
  • Never 6 [12.5%]
  • Unsure/No Opinion 1 [2.08%]

I’d challenge those who said “always” and “sometimes” to try reducing their use.

Some ideas I have:

  • Printable information to leave at restaurants about reducing straw use/waste
  • Database of restaurants and their straw polices

I’m also planning to order wide stainless steel straws for the next time we go for a shake/malt.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Sunday Poll: Do You Use Disposable Plastic Straws?

March 6, 2016 Environment, Featured, Popular Culture, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Do You Use Disposable Plastic Straws?
Please vote below
Please vote below

Today’s poll topic may seem strange, but this is my way of raising an issue I want discussed: straws.

The poll is open until 8pm. I’ll share my thoughts on straws this Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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