Factoids, infobits and eco-trivia

Life Prices

How much does it cost to save a life? A preliminary cost-benefit study by the Harvard School of Public Health calculated expenses in three main categories: medical intervention, injury avoidance, and pollution control based on 1200 U.S. government regulatory impact analyses that contain cost and life-saving information.
Life extending medical intervention came out least expensive, averaging $19,000 per life-year saved. Injury avoidance controls - from seatbelts in card to ejection systems in Air Force B-58 bombers cost an average of $48,000 per life-year saved.
Offering the poorest return on invested dollars, environmental regulation of radiation, asbestos, lead and other environmental hazards with a median cost of $2,782,000 per life-year saved.
Some medical procedures, such a prenatal care and childhood immunization, cost next to nothing, while the cost for regulating asbestos averages $1.8 million dollars for each life saved. Dr. Tammy Tengs, one of the study's main authors claims "We could save more years of life [overall] if we are more attentive to the cost of saving each life." Garbage Magazine.

Oh, say can you CO2
Substitute a compact fluorescent light for a traditional bulb and you'll keep a half-ton of CO2 (carbon dioxide) out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb... and keep it clean - dirt absorbs lights and uses more energy. (Center for Environmental Education)

Don't be a drip
Fix a small leaky faucet and you save up to 50 gallons of water per day. (Center for Environmental Education)

Seeing Orange
2,4-D, the most commonly used herbicide on home lawns, was formerly a component of the defoliant Agent Orange. It contains traces of toxic dioxins. Skin exposure has resulted in delayed nervous system damage in humans. Other possible effects: skin rashes; eye throat, and respiratory tract irritation; lymphatic cancer. (Save Our Planet)

Computer recycles

Recycle one aluminum can and you save enough money to run a personal computer for three hours. (Center for Environmental Education)

Warming Signs

The northward spread of insects and the tropical diseases they can carry may
confirm the that global warming is taking place in our time. A Cambridge
University researcher says a sand fly that transmits a parasitic disease is
edging north across France, for example. And a mosquito native to North
Africa has been found in Wales. (Inter Press Service, Rome).

PERC you right up

About 2,400 dry cleaners in the South Coast (Los Angeles Area) Air Basin use perchloroethylene, which contributes to smog. Currently, "PERC," which leaks into the air when clothes are transferred from washer to dryer, is produced at the rate of 320 gallons per year at some facilities. (Save Our Planet)

Don't breathe the air

Whale Safe

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has ruled that whales may not be hunted in the Southern Hemisphere below the 40th Parallel South. The location was chosen because all whale species except the rorqual feed there before returning to the tropics to reproduce. Although "binding" on signatories, Japan and Norway have repeatedly violated the moratorium on whale hunting passed in 1986 and neither have suffered sanctions or other significant repercussions apart from adverse publicity. (Cambio 16, Madrid)

Assault on Battery

Researchers at Argentina's
National Atomic Energy Commission
have developed a method to treat used batteries,
a major source of pollution worldwide, that would allow
them to be safely disposed of in landfills. The process consists
of exposing the batteries to a thermal treatment and mixing
them with ground glass. What comes out is a compact
block that, the researchers say, traps batteries' heavy
metals and will not degrade, even when
exposed to water, for more than
4,000 years. (Clarin, Buenos Aires)

Picture This

Four in ten adults enjoy looking at, feeding and taking pictures of wild animals outside of zoos. 76-million Americans age 16 or older participated in "non consumptive" wildlife-associated recreation according to a 1991 survey by the Fish and Wildlife Service. (Wall St. Journal)