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Environmental Issues And Your Health: Why Where You Live Matters

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In the event of major environmental disasters like the Deep Water Horizon oil spill or the similar BP Great Australian Bight spill, we hear a lot about the impact of such pollutants on the ecosystem. This is important information, demonstrating how man made disasters can devastate entire economies – consider the state of fishing in the US Gulf after Deep Water Horizon. But what we don’t always hear about are the effects of such disasters on human health and wellbeing.

In fact, it’s not just major environmental disasters that can cause ill health, but also pervasive pollutants such as car exhaust or factory byproducts that can impact your health and risks of future disease. This is why asking about your home and work environments should always be a part of your medical history. Doctors can more accurately predict health outcomes when they know what your daily life is like.

The Long Term Health Impacts Of Oil Spills

It’s now been over five years since the Deep Water Horizon spill and doctors are only just beginning to recognize some of the health-damaging outcomes associated with this event. One unexpected problem stems from the use of an oil dispersant called Corexit used to clean up the spill.

Follow-up on communities touched by the oil spill has revealed that although Corexit was used to reduce the likelihood of oil related health problems, the treatment also proved toxic. The impact on human health is so severe that it has even been dubbed BP Syndrome.

Those affected by this syndrome – including fishermen, their children, and even grandchildren – have symptoms including neurological problems, weight loss, severe allergies, heart, kidney, and liver problems, and even seizures and paralysis. Where these people live and where they work is integral to understanding their health risks.

Everyday Environmental Hazards

Of course, most of us don’t live and work in the midst of post-oil spill conditions, but that doesn’t mean our daily lives are risk free. Rather, most of us spend time in at least mildly toxic environments. Consider your local air and water quality, for example. Everything from lead in the water to dust and mold can cause health problems.

Young children are especially vulnerable to lead, which can cause reduced IQ and other neurological and behavioral issues. The recent contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan is another example of how especially marginalized populations are most likely to be exposed to environmental toxins.

Preventing Environmental Illness

What can we do to prevent worsening of these types of health problems? Typically known as environmental illnesses, such conditions can be reduced by increasing our commitment to reduced vehicle and factory emissions. It’s also important that all homes be inspected for lead paint, as children may accidentally ingest it and develop lead poisoning.

It’s also important that we continue to push for alternative energy sources, especially in light of all the oil spills experienced in the last few years. Clean energy sources like wind turbines and solar power are far preferable as they pose no environmental risk, yet most countries are still hesitant to embrace these energy sources fully.

Proper air filtration and appliance upkeep can also help to reduce the likelihood of environmental illness on an individual level. Always make sure wood burning stoves are properly ventilated and that older buildings have been renovated to remove any traces of asbestos. While both of these issues may seem largely invisible, they can cause difficulty breathing and even lung cancer. Asbestos in particular can cause a subtype of cancer known as mesothelioma.

So many of the substances we encounter and rely on each day contain carcinogenic substances and yet the government continues to license and rely on these products. Some of these products are unavoidable, but with increased awareness you can opt out of using luxury items that might pose a risk to your health. Even small steps can help reduce your risk of health problems down the line.

Environment

Livery Services: Mother Nature Needs You to Invest in an Eco-Friendly Fleet

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green fleets
Shutterstock Photos - By tostphoto | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/tostphoto

In the United Kingdom, fleet vehicles make up most of the traffic traveling our roadways. If there’s one area of the transportation sector environmentalists should be focusing on, it’s the way we move goods, services and people around the empire.

Businesses that operate a fleet of vehicles need to realize the environmental impact of their service, and the opportunities available to help them lower their operating costs, while saving mother nature.

A green fleet is much cheaper to operate – both because of lower petrol consumption and government grants and tax benefits.

Let’s take a closer look at the things your company is unnecessarily spending money on every year due to an old, dirty fleet of polluters.

Vehicle Taxes on Polluters vs. Environmentally Friendly Fleets

If you want to operate your commercial van on public roads, you’re going to have to pay a VED, or Vehicle Excise Duty. The total fee assessed for this is based on the age of your vehicle, not how much you drive it. This is important, because an idle fleet of polluters can be just as costly as a fleet of green vehicles that produce value for your company.

Vans that were built after 1 March 2001 were taxed either £132 every six months, or £240 annually. This rate is effective per the TC39 VED tax code. There are exceptions to this rate.

For example, if your van is classified as a Euro 4 van, and was manufactured between 1 March 2003 and 31 December 2006, TC36 VED tax code applies to you. The six-month rate is £77, or £140 annually.

For older vans, manufactured prior to 1 March 2001, your tax rate is based on the size of the engine. Vans with engines less than 1549cc are charged £82.50 every six months, or £150 annually. Old vans with larger engines must pay £134.75 every six months, or £245 annually.

Euro 4 vans are the cheapest to operate from a tax perspective. Why? Because they were fitted with specialized filters that help to reduce the amount of dangerous pollutants that make it into earth’s atmosphere. You enjoy the tax savings year-after-year by operating these vehicles.

It really is economically more affordable to operate a green fleet.

Petrol Costs – Another Reason to Think Green to Save Green

The cost of petrol is heavily impacted by our environment. When Britain is thrashed by stormy weather due to global warming, or oil production is impacted by environmental disasters, the cost of filling up skyrockets.

At the time of this writing, petrol is £1.16 per liter, and diesel is £1.18 per liter. There are forecasts from reliable agencies that see the price continuing to rise in the near future, passing price points not seen since 2014.

Regardless of the speculative nature of future fuel prices, the fact remains that vehicles that use less fuel save their operators money every time the wheels turn.

As an alternative, many companies are heavily investigating and testing all-electric and hybrid alternatives for a greener, more economical fleet. As an example, the Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular all-electric vehicles – and it’s a fantastic choice for transporting people or smaller cargo payloads to residential destinations.  The total cost to charge a Nissan Leaf, using current electrical vehicle charging technology, is just £3.64 to go from empty to full charge.

That’s a HUGE savings over filling a petrol tank. And with the prevalence of fast-charge locations, it’s possible to go from zero to empty in just 30 minutes.

In conclusion, there are many ways to save on fleet operation costs. And by investing in a more efficient fleet, you’ll be doing your part to save the environment. Both tax incentives and lower operating costs make green fleets a no-brainier for serious fleet operators throughout the United Kingdom.

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Environment

5 Eco-friendly Appliance Maintenance Tips

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Eco-friendly Appliance
Shutterstock Photos - By Punyhong | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/punyhong

Modern day society is becoming ever more conscious about the effects of human consumption on the environment & the planet.

As a collective, more people are considering taking action to positively counteract their environmental footprint. This is accomplished by cutting down on water consumption, recycling and switching from plastic to more sustainable materials. Although most people forget about the additional things that can be done at home to improve your individual eco footprint.

Appliances, for example, can be overlooked when it comes to helping the environment, despite the fact they are items which are found in every household, and if they are not maintained effectively they can be detrimental to the environment. The longer an appliance is used, the less of an impact it has on the environment, so it is essential for you to keep them well maintained.

If you’re considering becoming more eco-conscious, here are 5 handy appliance maintenance tips to help you.

Don’t Forget to Disconnect From Power First

General maintenance of all your appliances start with disconnecting them from power; microwaves, washing machines and ovens all use residual energy when plugged in, so it’s essential to unplug them.

Disconnecting the plugs can help keep them in their best condition, as it ensures no electrical current is running through them whilst they are supposed to be out of use. Additionally, this can help you save on energy bills. By doing this you are minimising your energy footprint.

Here we break down 4 tips to keep the most popular household appliances maintained.

Eco-Friendly Oven Maintenance

Ovens generally require very little maintenance, although it is essential to stay on top of cleaning.

A simple task to make sure you don’t have any issues in the future is to check the oven door has a tight seal. To do this ensure the oven is cold, open the oven door and use your hands to locate the rubber seal. You can now feel for any tears or breaks. If any have occurred simply replace the seal. More oven tips can be read here.

Eco-Friendly Refrigerator Maintenance

When keeping a fridge in good condition, don’t forget about exterior maintenance. Refrigerator coils, although an external fixture, can cause damage when overlooked.

Refrigerator coils can be found either at the front or rear of a fridge (check you user manual if you are unsure of its location). These tend to accumulate various sources of dust and dirt over a substantial time-period, which clog refrigerator coils, causing the refrigerator to have to work twice as hard to stay cool. An easy tip to solve this is to periodically use a vacuum to get rid of any loose dirt.

Eco-Friendly Washing Machine Maintenance

Most people tend to remember the basics tasks for maintaining a washing machine, such as not to overload the machine, not to slam the door and to ensure the washing machine is on a solid and level platform.

In addition, it is necessary to routinely do a maintenance wash for your washing machine. This means running an empty wash on the highest temperature setting and letting it complete a full wash to erase any build up and residue. You should repeat this task at least once a month.

Try to schedule this task around your bulk wash load times to save on water consumption.

This will help keep your washing machine in peak working condition.

Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Maintenance Tips

Dishwasher maintenance can be simple if implemented after every wash cycle.

To keep your best dishwasher hygiene standards, scrape away excess food whilst making sure to keep the filter at the bottom of the cavity empty between cycles. This simple task can be highly effective at preventing food build up from occurring in your dishwasher.

If you need additional tips or tasks you, can reference your manufacturer’s guidebook to check for a full breakdown. You can also head to Service Force’s extensive database of repair and maintenance manuals – including extensive troubleshooting guides for all of the critical appliance maintenance procedures.

In conclusion, you can save both money and energy by keeping your appliances in peak condition. The steps outlined in this guide will help us all preserve the environment and reduce industrial waste from discarded appliances.

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