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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: May, 2011

POSTED: Monday, May 30, 2011, 11:21 AM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday

In this morning's Greenspace column, I wrote about a recent Duke University study that analyzed flame retardants in children's products that contain foam. Researcher Heather Stapleton checked foam samples from 101 products and found flame retardants in 80 of them.

The problem is that many have ill effects. They may be carcinogenic or disrupt endocrine systems.

But the idea is to keep children safer. In the event of a fire, would flame retardants save lives or lessen the extent of injury? Not even that is certain, one of the researchers said.

POSTED: Sunday, May 29, 2011, 6:40 AM
Macrocyclops albidus

This spring's rain has created a bumper crop of mosquitoes around my house.

If you live in New Jersey, you might not be seeing as many. Officials there have an aggressive program that includes the use of fish that eat mosquito larvae.

This year, they added a new weapon to the arsenal: Macrocyclops albidus.

POSTED: Saturday, May 28, 2011, 6:30 AM

Oh, how I wish I was going to be at the beach this weekend, worrying about sunburn.

Instead, I'll be working in the garden, mostly. But that's kind of good, too. I love to mux around in the dirt.

And I guess I should be careful about the sun in the garden, too.

POSTED: Friday, May 27, 2011, 11:49 AM
Filed Under: Green Gauntlet
Green Street kitchen utensils

To tell you the truth, I have never given one iota of thought to whether my kitchen utensils are green. I have a few spoons, some of those plastic-ey scraper things to get the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar, a whisk, and that's about it.

But if I were starting out as a cook, and I wanted to be green, I might choose some kind of wood or bamboo, as long as it was sustainably grown.

That's what my friend Sylvie Verdant uses, although lately she's been into raw foods and hardly uses any utensils at all.

POSTED: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 4:52 PM

As someone who drives Route 422 and the Schuylkill Expressway every day, I can attest that highways are dangerous. There's always someone speeding, tailgating, zipping across several lanes at once, you name it.

And I always knew the pollutants I was breathing -- the various exhausts -- were not good.But I didn't grasp how bad they were until I looked at a new study by researchers at Harvard University that quantified the health effects of congestion.

Yes, congestion costs all of us time, sometimes resulting in reduced worker productivity. It wastes fuel.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 2:31 PM
A sample of one of the new mileage stickers.

We've had great efficiency labels for washing machines, for refrigerators, for dishwashers and more.

Today, federal officials unveiled new efficiency labels for cars.  They'll show not only the miles per gallon the ar is expected to get, but how much a year's worth of fuel will cost (based on certain averages) and, if it's an efficient car, how much you might expect to save in fuel costs over five years.

So if you're looking at a car that costs $5,000 more than a less-efficient counterpart, will you save more than $5,000 in fuel?

POSTED: Monday, May 23, 2011, 8:52 AM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday

Coal-fired power plants are dirty. No question about that.

But in Sunday's paper, I wrote a story about the PSEG plant south of Trenton, which has installed $600 million in air pollution controls and reduced emissions by more than 90 percent.

(An interesting tidbit that didn't make it into the story: In 1960, when the plant was built, it cost $110 million.)

POSTED: Friday, May 20, 2011, 3:27 PM

If it's spring, it's chick time.

All the Agways and similar stores have them. These year, according to one I went to, there's been a big run on chicks.

Maybe it's part of the back-to-the-land ethic. Or the locavore movement: Eat more from your yard.

About this blog

GreenSpace is about environmental issues and green living. Bauers also writes a biweekly GreenSpace column about environmental health issues for the Inquirer’s Sunday “Health” section.

Sandy Bauers is the environment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. She lives in northern Chester County with her husband, two cats, a large vegetable garden and a flock of pet chickens.

Reach Sandy at

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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