Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Energy saving light bulbs 'contain cancer causing chemicals'

Fears have been reignited about the safety of energy saving light bulbs after a group of scientists warned that they contain cancer causing chemicals.

Their report advises that the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.

Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin's Alab Laboratory, said: “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.”

The bulbs are already widely used in the UK following EU direction to phase out traditional incandescent lighting by the end of this year.

But the German scientists claimed that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released when the environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were switched on, including phenol, naphthalene and styrene.

Andreas Kirchner, of the Federation of German Engineers, said: “Electrical smog develops around these lamps

“I, therefore, use them only very economically. They should not be used in unventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head.”

British experts insisted that more research was needed and urged consumers not to panic.

Dr Michelle Bloor, senior lecturer in Environmental Science at Portsmouth University, told the Daily Express: “Further independent studies would need to be undertaken to back up the presented German research.”

The Department for the Environment insists the bulbs are safe, despite the fact that they contain small amounts of mercury which would leak out if the glass was broken.

Advice on its website states: “Energy efficient light bulbs are not a danger to the public.

“Although they contain mercury, limited at 5mg per lamp, it cannot escape from a lamp that is intact.

“In any case, the very small amount contained in an energy efficient bulb is unlikely to cause harm even if the lamp should be broken.”

The latest report follows claims by Abraham Haim, a professor of biology at Haifa University in Israel, that the bulbs could result in higher breast cancer rates if used late at night.

He said that the bluer light that CFLs emitted closely mimicked daylight, disrupting the body's production of the hormone melatonin more than older-style filament bulbs, which cast a yellower light.

The Migraine Action Association has warned that they could trigger migraines and skin care specialists have claimed that their intense light could exacerbate a range of existing skin problems.

Source: Telegraph:

Friday, April 22, 2011

ET research sites go online!

Last week, two new research sites went online for the WUEP irrigation research project! Two homeowner properties participating in Miami-Dade Water & Sewer’s Irrigation Rebate Program elected to participate in the study and received complete retrofits of their existing irrigation systems in exchange for access to their water-use data.


At dawn we began taking apart the mechanical irrigation system on the first property.

While we preserved the anti-siphon vacuum breaker device that protects the potable water lines, the indexing valve was jettisoned for two electric valves, a water meter for data collection and the weather-based “smart” irrigation controller.

West Miami

The day’s second property featured an irrigation system identical to the first, sans the back-flow device.

Another contrast from the previous home: the 100% sand substrate underneath the turf! Shoveling out this system was like cutting a hot knife through butter!

We removed the existing mechanical system for four electric valves, a vacuum breaker and emergency ball valve, a water meter for water-use data, and the ET controller/weather station.

Get smart!

Unlike our previous zone comparison study with the soil water sensor system, the ET-based controller study will proceed in a different manner. Only the mainline on the ET system is metered. Total system water-use will be compared to that of a fictional irrigation system that shares the same number of zones and the same zone GPM as the research system, only it never suspends irrigation events.

On to the next
Another property for ET was recruited last week, and this week the push begins to recruit additional research participants. Stay tuned!

2011 Irrigation Reseach Project

Monday, April 18, 2011

Re-installation of Enviroscan probes at C-111 04-13-2011

From our QA/QC it was decided that probes at VC1A, VC1B and AK6B probably had air pockets and needed to be reinstalled. Below are a few pictures illustrating the types of tasks that were performed by the team to ensure that re-installation of the probes was a success. I would like to thank the following people for helping on this day:

  1. Dr Bruce Schaffer
  2. Dr Kati Migliaccio
  3. Dr Teresa Pissarra
  4. Mrs Tina Dispenza
  5. Mrs Daisy Liu

Dr Schaffer drills the access tube hole, Isaya is balancing the weight on the opposite side of the drill in order to get a straight hole while Dr Migliaccio removes stones using a trowel from falling back into the drilled hole at site VC1 A and VC1B.

Teresa operates the drill while Dr Schaffer balances the weight at the opposite side to ensure that a straight hole is drilled Site AK6B (This site was problematic due to the roughness of the bed rock)

Tina preparing the cement mixture

Dr Migliaccio and Daisy inserting the access tube into the drilled hole and pouring a mixture of fast setting cement around the PVC to seal the small gap between the access tube and soil for improving contact ensure accurate soil water measurements.

Relocation of the Enviroscan probe at C-111 site VC1A