Health and Safety

This is a collection of health and safety topics that Bill Wattenburg has mentioned on his radio program.

Emergency Numbers for Cell Phones
Because dialing 911 on a cell phone will connect you with the CHP in Vallejo, you should program a few of these numbers into your phone for quicker access to the local emergency dispatcher.
Great, Cheap Disinfectant for Food
Spraying vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (from separate bottles) on fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to reduce or eliminate dangerous bacteria (including E. coli). This article about the discovery by Susan Sumner explains what to do very clearly. This article from Science News explains in more detail how the discovery was made. Further detail can be found from SafeFood News and Science News. A commercial version of this discovery is marketed by Ecolab, specifically for food processors.
Your kitchen sponges and dishrags are spreading germs!
Did you know that just putting a sponge through the dishwasher, even with the hottest temperature setting, doesn’t kill much of the bacteria that sponges collect when used to wipe down the counter top and cutting board? There is an easy way to kill most of the bacteria though. Dampen the sponge with plain water, and then put it in the microwave for a minute or two (long enough to generate steam). The boiling off of the water will kill a significant portion of the bacteria and lessen the numbers of bacteria being spread the next time you use the sponge to “clean” something. Do this every three days.
An article in Science News (Sponges and Sinks and Rags, Oh My!) describes just how filthy kitchen sponges, dishrags, and cutting boards can be, and how to clean them properly (and why wooden cutting boards are probably better than plastic ones). A related story from Science News gives further background.
Halogen torchieres can cause fires
A 300W halogen bulb gets as hot as 970°F–1000°F (paper burns at 451°F!), and 500W bulbs get even hotter. In fact, the 500W bulbs have almost entirely been recalled because of the fire hazard. If you have a new halogen torchiere, it will come with a metal wire grid that fits over the top of the lamp to keep paper and other flammable materials from touching the bulb. Many stores are offering these guards as retrofits for older lamps, and some are offering them free of charge. The guards are available from Ames, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Hechinger’s/Home Quarters, Home Base, The Home Depot, IKEA, Kmart, Lowe’s Montgomery Ward, Office Depot, Target, and Wal-Mart. Contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for more information.

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