The Fire Blanket can stop small household fires

Kovenex Fire Blankets can help put out small household fires – even grease-based fires.

Close to 75,000 household fires occur in the U.S. every year, causing thousands of deaths, injuries and over $7 billion in property loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Kitchen and cooking-related fires account for 44 percent of these.

Many homes have fire extinguishers tucked in a corner or near a wall — “just in case.” But in an emergency, can you operate it quickly? And if it’s out-of-date, it could be almost inoperable to fight a small house fire.

One of the tools used by first responders and firefighters is a fire blanket.

To learn more on how this simple, affordable tool can be your second best firefighting tool at home or work, go to

New airport x-ray machines could pose cancer risk

Thirteen years ago, a panel of radiation safety experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration gathered at a hotel in Maryland to test a new device – the Secure 1000 – that could detect hidden weapons and contraband by beaming X-rays at people to see beneath their clothing.

The experts agreed this device shouldn’t be in general use as it violated the longstanding principle in radiation safety that humans shouldn’t be X-rayed unless there is a medical benefit. The machine’s inventor assured the group that since only 20 machines were currently in use, it probably wouldn’t see widespread use anytime soon.

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Two companies caught by EPA trying to export hazardous discarded electronics to Vietnam

Two recycling companies were caught by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency trying to illegally export e-waste to Vietnam.

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Making (green) Buildings Safe for Firefighters

Green buildings may present special challenges for firefighters because of new technologies, building materials, and building techniques. That’s the concern Fire Safety and Green Buildings—Bridging the Gap, a new website developed by the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM); a handbook on the topic has also been released. 

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Cosmetics may soon be safer

Most consumers don't know what chemicals are in their cosmetics

Lisa Archer, national coordinator for The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, personal care products contain more than 12,500 chemicals but most consumers don’t know which ones are safe.

That may be about to change.

Three Congressional Representatives – Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin – have introduced a bill to reform the current outdated law n the use of ingredients in personal care products including cosmetics.

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Retailers set to limit lead in handbags

The health hazards from hidden lead in handbags will soon be limited


Most consumers don’t know that there are no standard limits to the amount of lead in purses, handbags, footwear and other accessories. 

Those little metal fasteners, brackets and tacks are almost invisible to consumers and fashionistas, yet they pose real health hazards to pregnant women and women of child-bearing age. 

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FAA suspends JFK's errant air traffic controllers

JetBlueAuthroities have suspended an air traffic controller and a supervisor at JFK after the controller allowed his son to direct several pilots from the control tower.

“This lapse in judgment not only violated FAA’s own policies, but common-sense standards for professional conduct. These kinds of distractions are totally unacceptable,” FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement. 

The air traffic controller allowed his son to read some routine instructions to pilots, then brought another child to work the next day.

Pilots seemed amused and pleased. “I wish I could bring my kid to work,” one of them said.

All this was brought to light when a recording of the radio calls was posted on the internet, then reported by a Boston television station. Such transmissions are routinely streamed live on the internet. One user of the popular site, which is devoted to air controller talk, posted the recording not long after it occurred on February 16th, when New York schoolchildren were on winter break.

According to the recording, the boy made five transmissions to pilots readying for departure.

Control towers are generally highly secure areas, though the agency sometimes gives employees permission to bring their children for a tour.

Dave Pascoe, founder of LiveATC and a pilot and radio enthusiast, said he was sickened at the thought that the controller could be disciplined.

“I believe that this is being blown out of proportion,” he said. “This is just a completely controlled situation. A child was being told exactly what to say.”

He added: “I think it’s just fantastic that this guy cared enough to take his kid to work. How many parents take their kids to work these days?”

Is this a case of the FAA coming down hard to avoid a media frenzy? What do you readers think?

From the mouth of babes (uh, I mean kids)

JFK's air traffic control tower

JFK's air traffic control tower

We’ve all heard of “Take your Son / Daughter to Work” days. Okay, but in New York, the idea may have gone too far.

A just released audio reveals that in February a child directed pilots from the air traffic control center at John F. Kennedy Airport, one of our country”s busiest airports. The Federal Aviation Association has said it’s investigating.

In an official statement, the FAA said “This behavior is not acceptable and does not demonstrate the kind of professionalism expected from all FAA employees.”

In mid-February, schoolchildren throughout the New York area had a week-long winter break. The audiotapes show that during that time kids authorizing pilot take-off wasn’t a single incident.

JFK control tower.2A child can be heard on tape making five transmissions to pilots. 

In one instance, the child can be heard saying, JetBlue 171 contact departure.” The pilot responds: “Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job.”

The child appears to be under an adult’s supervision, because a male voice then comes on and laughingly says, “That’s what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school.”

In another exchange, the youngster clears another plane for takeoff, and says, “Adios, amigo.” The pilot responds in kind.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said children of the tower’s employees are allowed to visit but need to get approval from the FAA first.

The union representing air traffic controllers condemned the workers’ behavior.

Was this a potentially dangerous situation? Or was it a Dad giving his kid a chance to try their hand at something amazing, to inspire him / her, while closely monitoring for “just in case”?

What do you think?

USDA to scrap an important food safety check

Our ability to track cattle in cases of food contamination could be compromised

Our ability to track cattle in cases of food contamination could be compromised


The National Animal Identification System – a USDA program set in place during the Bush administration (one of the small bright spots of his tenure) after the discovery in late 2003 of a cow infected with mad cow disease –  will be scrapped due to apparent resistance from ranchers and farmers. Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack will announce the changes this Friday.

In the meantime, states will need to create a new system that included how to identify livestock. Officials plan to create a different livestock tracing program that they hope will gain widespread industry support. 

New federal rules will be developed – this could take two years or more to create – but the officials said these would only apply to animals moved via interstate commerce, such as cattle raised in one state being transported to a slaughterhouse in another state.

It’s not clear how far the government would go to restrict the movement of livestock between states if the animals did not meet basic traceability standards.

The soon-to-be-scrapped system received $142 million in federal financing but only 40 percent of the nation’s livestock producers participated in it,  according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

 So, once again, lobbyists have the final say on matters of safety. Since it’s our food supply, doesn’t that make you feel comfy?

New study outlines health risks from cellphones



Radiation from cell phones creates health risk concerns

The amount of radiation varies from cellphone to cellphone and scientists are divided as to how much is too much.

The Environmental Working Group, which analyzed the radiation emissions from over 1,200 cellphones, now says the standards for American cellphone radiation don’t make enough allowance for safety and ignore the impact of electromagnetic radiation on children.  “We think that based on current standards there’s increased risk of developing brain tumors in long term users — people who have used cellphones for more than 10 years — from radiation in cellphones,” says senior scientist at EWG Olga Naidenko, who worked on the report for around 10 months.

The group put together a database of feature phones and smartphones that lists the maximum radiation each of the devices emits. Check the link to see how your cellphone ranks for radiation.

A little bit of knowledge is a powerful thing. It can help you make smart decisions the next time you’re ready to get a new cell. For more on this story, check out