In any home, office or building there are inside air pollutants. Some of those air pollutants can be seen and some cannot be seen or even smelled that are floating in the air.
From articles to my own knowledge, there are things like formaldehyde leeching from product finishes and construction materials to benzene, molds and mildew, odd chemicals of various kinds, pollen, dust mites, spores, dust, fine particles of cloth and paper that float in the air coming from things around the house.
So what ways are there right now that take toxic chemicals out of the air in a home or office? I looked it up online to see and found that there are lots of air purifiers available with an average price (by my scientific wild ass guess and observation) of about $200 each. There are articles about which ones are the best and then I looked up the search terms, purifying the air in your home and found this –
9 Air-Cleaning Houseplants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill
In the NASA research, this plant was an air-purifying champion, removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from indoor air. Popular and inexpensive at garden stores, they can be planted outside after they’re finished blooming.
Not only was garden mum at the top of the list, there are a couple others on the list that I noticed specifically for purifying the air including the snake plant / mother in law’s tongue house plant that I used to have and lots of people in our family keep in their homes too.
Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
This is one of the hardest houseplants to kill. Although it does need to be watered occasionally, it generally prefers drier conditions and some sun.
These two articles are great and cover several things like decreasing the air pollutants by not introducing them in the first place which is very unlikely by the time I’d want to do something to fix it and increasing ventilation which in our house would bring far more fine yellow dusty pollen into the house among other things.
But, these articles about purifying the air did have some useful ideas to note, including stopping drips and moisture under sinks and places where mold and mildew can develop. And, this first article described Himalayan pink salt lamps that I want to find out more about as well as, that beeswax candles ionize the air as a way they take pollutants from the air which is interesting and worth checking out.
It also lists some other plants to use to purify air in the home naturally, and one thing I can say about plants after living near an airbase with constant airplanes landing overhead and very near large trafficked roadways with eight lanes across plus a freeway nearby, is that my plants never needed fertilizer or plant food because of the amount of excess nitrogen in the air they were getting and cleaning from those exhausts coming in the windows.
So, it does work to have plants, but it would have taken a virtual forest of plants in my little garden apartment to have really cleaned all of that to any appreciable extent and I had a lot of plants which still weren’t enough to do all of it.
Before you begin to improve indoor air quality, you may want to invest in an indoor air quality monitor – such as this popular Multi Tester Indoor Air Quality Monitor. Consistently measuring air quality is the best way to ensure the changes you make are yielding improvements.
When I clicked on the link for this particular air quality tester, it says that it is currently unavailable so it would be worth finding what other testers for air quality are available and maybe this one from some other source. It says in the description that this tester has an entry for formaldehyde / HCHO also, and looking at the other testers that Amazon lists for me, I noticed that each of them cover a number of different things including radon.
It would take some shopping skills to figure out which monitors would offer the exact match for this house, but they all seem to cost from $60 to $100 each depending on a lot of different things. There’s even one that is wearable.
This one is about a hundred dollars – looks like it does a lot.
Air Quality Pollution Monitor, Detector, Meter, Sensor, Tester; Detect PM2.5 Dust, 2.5 Micron Particulate Matter, Test Indoor Formaldehyde, TVOC Volatile Organic Compound Gas; Water Test Strips, eBook
Would it shock you to know that the air you’re breathing indoors can be up to 5 times worse than the air outside? Neglecting the quality of the air you breathe on a daily basis can result in illness, allergies, asthma, frequent headaches and it can even be harmful to your digestive system!
This article describes the Himalayan salt lamp that helps to purify the air in your home with how it works too which heats the salt to release negative ions into the air.
It also describes this – which is very interesting –
Bamboo Charcoal: Charcoal has long been used in our filters to purify water, and it’s also popping up in beauty products everywhere. And charcoal can have the same toxin-removing effects on air. Moso air purifying bags are bags made of linen and filled with high-density bamboo charcoal. The porous structure of the charcoal helps remove bacteria, harmful pollutants and allergens from the air and absorbs moisture, preventing mold and mildew by trapping the impurities inside each pore. Rejuvenate the bamboo charcoal by simply placing the bag in the sun once a month. Amazon carries a variety of Moso bags.
It also describes a Plant Air Purifier that costs about $100 created by a NASA scientist that gives the air purifying power of about a hundred plants by circulating with a fan, all the air in the room into an encased plant being cultured in activated charcoal growing medium. Very interesting idea for cleaning the air more effectively.
At one time, there was a product on the market to use for artist studios where a lot of chemicals and fumes from paints, thinners and other things are a constant source of air pollution in a space where art is being done, even with good ventilation that is also necessary. I’m going to look it up and see if I can find that too.
This is an $800 air cleaner that looks really good and possibly takes everything out of the air that is a pollutant. It is called the Molekule Air Purifier –
If you’ve ever shopped for an air cleaner — or if you’ve ever idly flipped through a SkyMall catalog — you’ve undoubtedly seen ads for ionic air purifiers, devices that take an unusual approach to clearing the air. Instead of relying on fans to move air through filters, the machines release a steady stream of negatively charged ions that electrify the bits of dust, dander or other flotsam. The airborne particles pick up the negative charge and become strongly attracted to positively charged collection plates inside the machine. (In many cases, they also become attracted to other charged surfaces such as walls, table tops and TV screens.)
There’s another thing that separates ionic air purifiers from other technologies: To varying degrees, all ionic air purifiers release ozone, a potential pollutant. A 2006 study by researchers at UC Davis found that one popular brand, the Ionic Breeze Quadra, released about 2.2 milligrams of ozone per hour, or about as much as a constantly running photocopier. (Ionic purifiers shouldn’t be confused with ozone generators that are marketed as “air cleaners.” By design, these devices can release 50 to 200 milligrams of ozone per hour.)
This article shows a number of products to do air cleaning and air purifying plus several that are perfect for removing smells out of the air and cleaning the air that way. It includes the ozone generator and air purifier that I included here – this article is from 2016 but the price of this is $90 – note that ozone generators can only be used in areas with no one there including no people, no kids, no babies, no elderly people, no animals, no pets – and then after the area is aired out, they can come back and the air is clean.
9 Odor Eliminators For Your Home That Reddit Users Swear By
Did you just buy a used car? Or did someone borrow your car and smoke in it when you asked them not to? Or maybe you were eating on the go and dropped food, and now your car has a bad scent in it. Whatever it is, an Ozone machine will actually remove those odors from the air. Reddit user Lizardlikesaid, “Ozone itself attaches to most volatile compounds (organic stuff, most things that cause smells) and breaks them down by oxidation. It doesn’t last more than a day on its own generally, so as long as you air it out, it’s safe.” So make sure you air out your car before driving for hours in it after using the Ozone purifier. (You can also use this in your home, too)!
Spray this around your garbage can, on your drapes, on your couch, on musty clothes, and more. The spray eliminates strong, pesky odors that wont seem to leave. The air will be left smelling fresh and clean. The formula actually seeks out odorous molecules when you spray it. Instead of masking them, it turns them into non-odor molecules. It doesn’t mask smells — it gets rid of them. Shshshannon said they used this on a mattress that smelled like cigarettes, and it was successful.
Found the air cleaning beads but this looks like they are only available to industry –
PURAFIL, INC. is a publicly held environmental company owned by the Kaydon Corporation (NYSE:KDN) and headquartered in Doraville, Georgia, United States of America. Purafil revolutionized the gas-phase air filtration industry in the early 1960’s with the development of the world’s first active oxidant-impregnated, air cleaning pellet — “Purafil.” Almost fifty years later, Purafil remains a world leader in the development of innovative gas-phase air filtration technologies designed to eliminate, control and provide real-time monitoring of toxic, corrosive, odorous and hazardous gases.
Purafil® SP Media shall meet the following removal capacities:
• HYDROGEN SULFIDE: 14% minimum by weight
• SULFUR DIOXIDE: 7.0% minimum by weight
• NITROGEN DIOXIDE: 15.0% minimum by weight
• NITRIC OXIDE: 6.0% minimum by weight
• FORMALDEHYDE: 4.0% minimum by weight
The product I had seen used some kinds of bead-like pellets to remove chemicals from the air in art studios. Well, the ones above look like that’s what they do though. And, also found this nifty thing that an artist made to clean air in a larger way as a public sculpture.
Innovative design: the world’s largest air purifier
A piece of public design that eats smog. Perfect! Just what metropolitan cities need with busy traffic and industry. Designer Daan Roosegaarde developed the idea of a gigantic air purifier for problematic cities in China. Yet the prototype was developed in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where the air is clear like a still lake compared to Beijing. Nevertheless, the Dutch air feeds the purifier with CO2 providing it with black powder, proving how much pollution there is even in smaller cities.
The air purifier is about seven meters high and opens up during the day. It has a silver color and looks like large shutters. It works more or less the same as small purifiers for the home, but then without ozone. It works with an ion technology that Daan Roosegaarde Studio patented. Put simply, ions are atoms that are not magnetic, but they work in a similar way. Ion can be charged positive or negative. They attract the opposite and that way, ions can be made to attract materials like CO2.
And, here is how the astronauts in space get the air cleaned from a NASA discussion about it on pdf –
Closing the Loop: Recycling Water and Air in Space
Carbon dioxide removal, or CO2 scrubbing, involves the use of heterogeneous granules of a synthetic rock called zeolite (also known as a molecular sieve). When the cabin fans blow air through the bed of rocks, CO2 and water stick to the zeolite, while everything else passes through. The zeolite is regenerated by heating it and exposing it to the vacuum of space. A similar process can be used in hospitals to provide portable oxygen for patients. In this case, a molecular sieve (zeolite) is used as an oxygen concentrator. The zeolite filters nitrogen from the air, providing high concentration oxygen to the patient. This process is much safer than having a tank of high pressure oxygen next to one’s bed.
I did not look up the UV-C light systems that also destroy a lot of the muck in the air including dust mites, germs, bacteria and spores. It must be contained in a thing such that no one is exposed to see its light because it can blind. Some systems for cleaning the air using the UV-C light also use other technologies in combinations with it including the ionizing systems and hepa filtration types of approaches.
There was another air purifying gizmo I’ve seen recently, if I can find it again which involves some new materials science. It is probably too new to be available inside of any products or air cleaners yet.
Also found this great search page of info on Inhabitat with air cleaners and air purifiers with lots of great articles so I’m putting here too.
Here is another air purifier of the get rid of cigar smoke variety that uses the ozone generator approach for about $350. It is very important to only use these when nobody and no pets will be in the area where it is being used –
Every other year a team of geophysicists and weather geeks told the Bloomberg administration about the storm surge that would come and why it would be exceptionally flooding to areas of the city. They explained why protection was necessary while there was still time to do something about it and why it was needed. They used charts and briefs with clear explanations but each time were sent away with nothing done, not one thing accomplished. When Hurricane Sandy came, there was no protection whatsoever.
In the late 60’s, the scrubbers being requested of oil industry facilities and other high polluting industries would’ve cost between $30 and $60 per smokestack and effluent release pipe – but, no – they wouldn’t do any of it and hired millions of dollars worth of lawyers, pr firms, lobbyists and “experts” to prevent having to do anything.
In the 70’s, it would have cost about $80 each to put that same filter on each stack and about $120 each for the effluent streams. In the 80’s, it would’ve cost about $300 each and $450, respectively. Then in the 90’s, it would’ve been from $600 to $3,000 depending on the system required to be placed, based upon the chemicals being discharged into the air, soil or water by the industry. But, no.
After the year 2000, some of those prices actually went down because of better and cheaper systems and materials with a much better understanding of treating whole systems in a more integrated way – but still, no. All the while, the damage was being done to the environment, to people, to communities and to entire regions of our nation.
And, all the time this damage was continuing to be done to the environment on massive scales across multiple industries, they were spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars on not doing anything. Industries, both individually and collectively as well as their industry associations spent far more on not doing anything or not being required by government to do anything than would’ve been spent if they had simply done something appropriate about it at any given point.
In some jurisdictions, in some states, EPA standards were applied but in many, many others, they were not. After 9/11 because of demand for filtration systems to prevent possible terrorist attacks or at least ameliorate them, and because the value of our US dollar having changed generally negatively, those 1960’s $30 scrubber filters would’ve cost more like $12,000 – $18,000 each even with the newer materials and methods.
Industries and industry groups spent decades of spending what became billions, maybe even trillions of dollars all told, across all of the polluting industries. These costs for attorneys’ fees, fines (occasionally), paying lawyers to appeal the fines till hell freezes over, retaining pr firms, supporting climate denial think tanks, hiring lobbyists and paying lobby firms retainers, supporting PACs, making campaign contributions to anti-EPA and climate denial candidates, and paying “experts” to discredit and decimate the reputations of climate change supporting scientists far exceed the imagination. And, industries supporting those costs spent real money far in excess by many times over what it would’ve ever cost to have stopped sending pollutants into the air, water, soil and forever altering the environment with it.
Thirty something years too late to fix it and now, they’re saying they want to be responsible corporate citizens as politicians they’ve bought are starting to say we might ought to do something about this. As our weather becomes more extreme by each day forward, as our sea levels rise and flooding entrenches entire areas of our country month after month where it had not been expected but once every hundred years or thousand years, when rains come with twenty inches or more in numbers of hours over a couple days rather than across months or weeks, and as arctic glaciers melt that have been there longer than humanity has existed – yeah, now it becomes a thing. It is too late. We have passed the tipping point and it is way too late to worry about it now.
Tree huggers they laughed and smirked, mocking the shunned hippy folks they thought them to be. But now, as it turns out – trees lower the temperature of the climate by two degrees. And, wouldn’t that be handy about now? But the corporate giants of industry cut all the old growth forest and jungles down that they could get their hands on and still to this day, what is left of them are being cut down, clear cut, burned into more carbon in the atmosphere across the globe as if there is not one reason not to do it. And today, see this if nothing else –
This article is the archived version of a report that appears in the July 2010 Consumer Reports magazine.
Last year shoppers spent $405 billion at Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. But according to a new study by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, they might be better off if they switch stores.
In a survey of over 30,000 readers, respondents shared their shopping experiences with 11 popular retailers. Here’s how the stores stacked up in overall satisfaction: STORE RATINGS
(Reader Score – out of 100*)
1. Costco (85)
2. Dillard’s (82)
3. Kohl’s (81)
4. JCPenney (80)
5. Target (79)
6. Sam’s Club (78)
7. Sears (77)
8. Macy’s (77)
9. Meijer (77)
10. Walmart (73)
11. Kmart (72)
Here’s a store-by-store look at the retailers in the survey:
414 warehouses in 40 states. $50 yearly fee. Costco has a wide range of goods but not a lot in each category. Private-label Kirkland Signature products are claimed to be at least as good as national brands, and all of Costco’s merchandise comes with a money-back guarantee. How to Save
Costco doesn’t accept manufacturers’ coupons but sometimes distributes its own. Instant rebates are fairly common. Customers with an Executive membership ($100) qualify for 2 percent back on purchases, up to a top rebate of $500 per year. (You’d need to spend $2,500 to recoup the extra $50.) DILLARD’S Snapshot
320 stores in 29 states. Slightly more upscale than Macy’s and slightly less so than Nordstrom, Dillard’s is trying to become a bit fancier. It claims it’s the only chain with a “text to buy” option, letting customers instantly order products advertised in magazines. How to Save
Join the store’s rewards program, which lets you earn Dillard’s Shopping Passes good for 10 percent off a day’s purchases. Dillard’s cardholders earn points; spend $750 during the calendar year to earn a discounted shopping day. If card spending tops $2,000, you qualify for free shipping on four orders. KOHL’S Snapshot
1,067 stores nationwide. The product mix is about 56 percent national brands, 44 percent exclusive brands (Tony Hawk, Food Network, and others). How to Save
Kohl’s cardholders receive an extra 15 to 30 percent off all merchandise. Spend $600 a year and qualify for “pick a day” savings six times a year. If you sign up for e-mail alerts, you save on your next in-store or online order. Occasional promotions give $10 in “Kohl’s Cash” for each $50 spent in a single purchase. JCPENNEY’S Snapshot
More than 1,000 stores nationwide. Style and quality at a smart price is JCPenney’s mantra. Private label and brands made only for JCPenney include Cindy Crawford Style and Joe by Joseph Abboud. JCPenney claims to have one of the largest apparel and home-furnishings sites on the Internet (www.jcp.com). It has been trying to revamp its image and “show that we are not just looking to sell merchandise. We are looking to sell an experience,” says Mike Boylson, chief marketing officer. How to Save
Sign up for mobile alerts about coupons, giveaways, and events. Check JCPenney’s online outlet for breaking price markdowns of 75 percent or more on clearance merchandise. SAM’S CLUB Snapshot
596 clubs nationwide. $40 annual fee. Sam’s Club has a limited choice of products in many categories, plus a revolving mix of oddball items (even grandfather clocks). Services include tire installation, optical store, health insurance, and roadside assistance. Experts say merchandise isn’t as glitzy as at Costco. How to Save
Upgrade to a Sam’s Club Plus Membership ($100 per year) to save an extra $350 in services and benefits such as prescription drugs and express shipping. The enhanced membership has a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the savings. SEARS Snapshot
Nationwide, 929 full-line and 1,200 specialty stores (including appliance showrooms and home-décor centers). Sears sells a wide range of appliances (one in two homes in the U.S. owns a Kenmore product), tools, electronics, apparel, lawn equipment, and auto products, and makes more than 12 million service calls a year. Brands include Craftsman, Kenmore, and DieHard. Another exclusive label: Lands’ End. How to Save
Look for the “deal of the day” via the Sears website, Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail alert. If you find a lower price on the same item at a local store, Sears will match the price and give you 10 percent of the difference. (Take in the competitor’s ad within 14 days). MACY’S Snapshot
800 stores nationwide. One of a dwindling number of traditional department stores, Macy’s tries to stand apart from competitors with events such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and tie-ins with TV shows including “Project Runway.” Exclusive and store brands reinforce its “Only at Macy’s” campaign. Among the options: the Martha Stewart Collection and Queen by Queen Latifah. How to Save
Open a Macy’s charge account and get a 15 percent discount on the day you’re approved and the next day. Cardholders also qualify for exclusive sales and coupons. MEIJER Snapshot
190 stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. Meijer (pronounced my-er) takes credit for the one-stop-shopping concept, and stores have expanded to include fresh produce and meat, a pharmacy, electronics, garden centers, and apparel. How to Save
Know the lingo. Meijer recently boiled down discounts to three types. Prices on “Everyday Best Price” items have been cut drastically; “sale” items are cheaper for a limited time; “price drop” items are marked down for longer than a typical sale item. Use a Meijer credit card and save 5 cents a gallon at the retailer’s gas stations. Check the website for daily “Big Steals.” TARGET Snapshot
1,750 stores nationwide, including 240 Super Targets with a supermarket. The company has unveiled a prototype of a regular store with more fresh foods. “Tar-zhay” is credited with bringing younger, wealthier customers to discount retailing. Stores are stylish, TV ads are trendy, and exclusive lines are by youth-oriented designers. The company boasts of an easy-to-shop layout. How to Save
Sign up for text or e-mail alerts and receive coupons, deals, and weekly ad reminders. Check Target’s website for daily specials and clearance items (30 to 70 percent off). Open a Target REDcard charge account and receive 10 percent off a day’s purchases. For every $1,000 spent at Target (or 10 prescriptions filled), cardholders qualify for a day of shopping with an extra 10 percent off. WALMART Snapshot
Nationwide, 803 standard stores and 2,747 supercenters. Supercenters add a supermarket and, usually, restaurants, portrait studio, pharmacy, hair salon, employment agency, tire and lube express, and vision center. Walmart.com sells more than 1 million products, which can be shipped free to your local store for pickup. Unlike most chains, Walmart has an everyday-low-price strategy, with bigger bargains on “price rollback” items. How to Save
Check the website or sign up for e-mail alerts for information on new price rollbacks and special offers. KMART Snapshot
About 1,300 stores nationwide, including standard stores, 24-hour Kmart Super Centers (supermarket, restaurants, and other services), and Big Kmarts, which fall in between. Kmart emerged from bankruptcy in 2003 and was bought by Sears, so it sells Sears brands and has similar services. Experts say the company still lacks an identity. How to Save
Unemployed? Apply online for Kmart’s Smart Assist savings card, which offers 20 percent off more than 1,500 items for six months. Join the Shop Your Way program (also good at Sears and Lands’ End) for bonus coupons and 1 percent back on all purchases. E-mail alerts tell about other discounts.
*Ratings are based on the experiences of 30,666 Consumer Reports readers who told us about 56,922 trips to 11 retailers from April 2008 to April 2009. Results might not reflect experiences of the U.S. population. Reader score reflects overall satisfaction. A score of 100 would mean all respondents were completely satisfied; 80 means they were very satisfied on average; 60, fairly well satisfied. Differences of fewer than 3 points aren’t meaningful. Displayed scores are rounded; stores are listed in order of precise overall score. To see how your favorite stores fared in terms of value, service, checkout and returns, subscribe to ConsumerReports.org. 2005-2010 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc
Surprise! American Icons That Aren’t Really American
What’s more American than enjoying a cold bottle of Budweiser while your kids enjoy their Good Humor ice cream? It sounds so ‘American,’ right? Wrong. These two good ol’ standbys are not American — or at least not U.S. owned.
Whether they never were American or were simply bought by foreigners, WalletPop’s freelance writer Carol Vinzant takes a look at 13 iconic American brands, companies and products that are currently owned abroad.
Carl De Souza, AFP, Getty Images Announcements continue to roll in from retailers that have decided to close stores, slow expansion plans or cease operations altogether.
From Christopher & Banks to the ESPN Zone, we update our ongoing roundup with the latest news from 2010. Read on to see which retailers are closing (at least some) of their doors.
Are any of these your favorites? ESPN ZONE Announced: June 16, 2010
Walt Disney Co. closed its ESPN Zone restaurants in New York; Baltimore; Washington, DC; Las Vegas; and Chicago. With about 150 employees per ESPN Zone location, the closures leave approximately 1,000 workers jobless. Additionally, approximately 200,000 square feet in retail space is about to hit the market, according to CoStar information. Disney blamed the poor economy for the closures.
MOVADO Announced: May 28, 2010
The Chicago Tribune reports that Movado Group Inc., the Swiss watchmaker and jeweler, plans to close its money-losing retail division by the end of June in a move to turn around the company. It will close all 27 U.S. stores. The company said it doesn’t intend to run any store closing or liquidation sales, a move to protect its brand name.
DOLLAR STORE Announced: May 8, 2010
A 37-store network of Dollar Store outlets in Washington and Oregon announced they will be closing, just weeks after the parent company filed for bankruptcy in late March.
KENNETH COLE Announced: May 5, 2010
In its May 5th earnings call, Kenneth Cole CFO David Edelman noted that it closed three stores since the beginning of the year and expects to close a total of five to 10 stores by year-end.
MOVIE GALLERY / HOLLYWOOD VIDEO / GAME CRAZY Announced: April 30, 2010
During a company-wide conference call on April 30, it was announced that all U.S. Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery, and Game Crazy stores would begin the liquidation process in May 2010. Stores will stay open for up to six weeks after liquidation begins. The fate of the company’s Canadian stores was sealed on June 8, 2010, as they also entered liquidation. This is an update from Movie Gallery’s February bankruptcy announcement where it originally said they were not going out of business.
FUDDRUCKERS Announced: April 26, 2010
Magic Brands, owner of Fuddruckers, said it will use a Chapter 11 bankruptcy “to terminate certain Fuddruckers leases and will close 24 corporate-owned Fuddruckers restaurants by April 30, 2010.”
CHRISTOPHER & BANKS Announced: April 15, 2010
Christopher & Banks Corporation is a Minneapolis-based specialty retailer of women’s clothing. As of April 15, 2010, the Company operates 799 stores in 46 states. The company currently plans to open approximately 10 new stores and close 25 existing stores in fiscal 2011.
KROGER LITTLE CLINICS Announced: April 8, 2010
The Kroger Co. is closing 20 in-store medical clinics operated by The Little Clinic chain, and plans to revamp the business model for the convenient care chain in which it made an $86 million investment in 2008.
CHARMING SHOPPES Announced: March 30, 2010
Charming Shoppes, Inc., the plus-size specialty retailer with up to 2,121 stores nationwide — including Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, and Catherines chains — announced plans that it would close 100 to 120 of its branches in fiscal 2010.
SWOOZIES Announced: March 30, 2010
The Atlanta-based retailer of greeting cards and gifts is closing all 43 stores. In March, Hilco purchased the company’s retail and other assets in a bankruptcy court-approved auction for $7.4 million. Everything in the stores, according to bankruptcy court filings posted Tuesday, will be liquidated.
SUPERVALU SHEDS BIGG’S Announced: March 29, 2010
According to CoStar Retail Group, SuperValu is divesting itself of the bigg’s grocery store line, closing five underperforming locations and selling the rest to Remke Markets. The supermarket owner said in a statement that it would close four stores in a Ohio and one in Kentucky. Remke is set to acquire the remaining six bigg’s stores. The divestiture is SuperValu’s second in 2010. The company recently announced the sale of its Shaw’s locations in Connecticut.
HIBBETT SPORTS Announced: March 15, 2010
A leading sporting goods company in the U.S., the company said it anticipates opening 30 new stores during fiscal 2011, expanding 20 high performing stores and closing about 10-15 underperforming stores.
CRICKET WIRELESS Announced: March 2010
According to a San Diego Business Journal report, Leap Wireless cut 180 jobs and shuttered 27 Cricket stores nationwide. The flat-rate carrier said the restructuring reflects its changing priorities for the year. Leap spokesman Greg Lund told FierceWireless that 90 of the job cuts were corporate positions and 90 were “field positions.” Leap has around 4,200 total corporate employees and now has 242 company-owned stores.
84 LUMBER Announced: March 15, 2010
84 Lumber, the industry’s largest privately held chain of lumberyards, closed 10 stores in 10 states on March 15 due to declining housing starts. The Eighty Four, Pa.-based company now operates 289 stores in 34 states, with 2009 revenues of $1.35 billion. In 2008, the company posted sales of $2.1 billion with 335 locations.
STORE CLOSINGS FROM OUR PREVIOUS ROUNDUP
ANN TAYLOR Announced: March 12, 2010
In a March 2010 press release, Ann Taylor updated expectations related to the store closure component of its strategic restructuring program. Under the program, the Company closed 60 stores in fiscal 2008, 42 stores in fiscal 2009, and expects to close approximately 72 stores in fiscal 2010, for a total of approximately 174 store closures under the 3-year program. Of these, approximately half are expected to be Ann Taylor stores and half are expected to be LOFT stores.
BLOCKBUSTER Announced: February 24, 2010
For the full year of 2010, Blockbuster expects to close a range of 500 to 545 underperforming domestic company-owned stores. Of these, Blockbuster has already closed 253 stores in January 2010 and has identified approximately 150 other stores that are expected to be closed in April 2010. The Company then expects to close approximately 75 to 125 more stores throughout the remaining portion of 2010
JONES APPAREL Announced: February 10, 2010
Jones Apparel plans on closing 165 of its specialty retail stores in 2010. While the company declined to say which of its stores would be closed, they indicated that the mall-based retail locations would be closed to allow increased focus on their outlet stores. In 2009, Jones Apparel closed 100 mall-based retail stores which has produced positive results for the parent company of Nine West, Anne Klein, Bandolino and Easy Spirit.
WALDENBOOKS Announced: January 18, 2010
In a January press release about disappointing holiday sales, Borders Group, Inc. reiterated its decision to close 182 Waldenbooks Specialty Retail stores. According to CoStar’s Retail News Roundup, Borders has been “whittling down its Waldenbooks chain since 2001, closing an average of 66 stores per year through 2007. In 2008, 112 stores were closed.”
FOOT LOCKER Announced: March 3, 2010
In 2010, Foot Locker plans to consolidate its Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kid Foot Locker and Footaction operations under one management structure. As part of this initiative, it closed 106 underproductive stores during the first quarter and eliminated 120 corporate positions. The company also closed 179 stores in 2009.
MOVIE GALLERY Announced: February 2, 2010
Movie Gallery filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February. While not going out of business, the restructuring called for the immediate liquidation and closure of approximately 760 stores. After these initial closings, the company operates 1,906 stores in the U.S., including 1,111 Movie Gallery, 545 Hollywood Video and 250 Game Crazy locations. The company anticipates additional store closings during the Chapter 11 process.
JO-ANN STORES Announced: March, 10 2010
The company expects to open approximately 30 new stores and close approximately 30 stores in fiscal 2011.
HOME DEPOT Announced: January 26, 2010
Due to the recession and lingering housing crisis, Home Depot announced it would lay off 1,000 employees company-wide. In addition, it decided to close three pilot stores: a clearance center in Austell, Ga., a hurricane recovery store in Waveland, Miss. and a small-format store in Wilson, N.C. The company said there were no plans to close any of the chain’s flagship “orange box” stores. It remains the largest home improvement store in the U.S. with 1,976 stores.
THE WALKING COMPANY Announced: February 2, 2010
The Walking Company filed a reorganization plan under which the company intends to keep 207 of its 214 current store locations open. This was a turnaround from its original plan, announced in Dec. 2009, to close 90 of its underperforming locations.
CRABTREE & EVELYN Announced: January 14, 2010
The skin-care products company filed for bankruptcy in July 2009. But, according to the BNET Retail Blog, Crabtree & Evelyn will actually emerge from the bankruptcy — something that is unusual in the retail arena. In the end, the company will only need to close 35 of its 126 stores.
ALBERTSONS Announced: January 25, 2010
Boise, ID-based Albertsons LLC is in the process of closing 11 underperforming stores. Specifically, the grocery retailer is closing eight stores in Florida, as well as three stores in Colorado. This latest round of closures will leave Albertsons with 22 stores in Colorado and 20 in Florida; as well as more than 180 stores in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. (Note: Albertsons LLC is not affiliated with Supervalu, which operates 463 Albertsons stores.) (Source: CoStar Retail News Roundup)
SAM’S CLUB Announced: January 11, 2010
In January, Bloomberg reported that Wal-Mart Store’s Inc. said it was closing 10 “financially underperforming” Sam’s Club locations in the U.S. However, the company also said it has plans to add six more stores this year. Wal-Mart operated 605 Sam’s Club stores as of Oct. 31, 2009.
DISNEY STORE Announced: February 8, 2010
Disney is in the process of liquidating and shuttering 24 U.S. and 3 Canada Disney Store locations. As of October 2009, there were 340 total locations. The closures are part of an effort to revamp its existing stores to be interactive and more in keeping with the “Magic Kingdom” theme park feel. (Source: CoStar Retail News Roundup)
FRENCH CONNECTION Announced: March 15, 2010
The fashion retailer announced that it will close the majority of underperforming stores in the U.S. and sell its Nicole Farhi business as part of a restructuring plan. The total of U.S. stores to be shuttered is numbered at 17, but F.C.U.K. has not released the specific location of those stores.
MEN’S WEARHOUSE Announced: March 10, 2010
In its 4Q 2009 conference call, the company announced that due to geographic overlap caused by its 2006 acquisition of the AfterHours Formalwear chain, the company has identified 145 stores that it would likely close.
AMERICAN EAGLE’S MARTIN +OSA Announced: March 9, 2010
Specialty apparel retailer, American Eagle Outfitters is shuttering its MARTIN + OSA brand, including its 28 stores and online business. The company expects to conclude the liquidation of the MARTIN + OSA stores by the end of this July. The company opened the first MARTIN + OSA stores, which carried sportswear and casual apparel for men and women age 25 to 40, in fall 2006.
WILLIAMS SONOMA Announced: March 11, 2010
Williams Sonoma CFO Sharon McCollam said that the specialty retailer intends to shutter an undisclosed number of stores in large, multi-store markets during the next three years.
MACY’S Announced: January 5, 2010
Macy’s said it is closing five stores as part of its ongoing effort to weed out underperforming locations amid opening new ones. Following these store closures, Macy’s will operate 849 stores, comprised of 809 Macy’s and 40 Bloomingdale’s stores.
TRANS WORLD ENTERTAINMENT (F.Y.E.) Announced: January 7, 2010
Trans World Entertainment Corp. continues to whittle down its store fleet. By the end of January, it planned to have closed 161 stores during the prior 12 months. This follows 101 store closures in fiscal 2008. Following this latest closure effort, Trans World would be left with 553 stores. Trans World hit a peak store count of 1,091 in 2006, following its acquisition of Musicland. The majority of Trans World’s stores are F.Y.E., but its portfolio also includes Saturday Matinee, Coconuts, Spec’s and Wherehouse Music. According to CoStar Tenant, the typical F.Y.E. store is 3,000 square feet and located in an enclosed mall. (Source: CoStar Retail News Roundup)
We need your input for an upcoming WalletPop feature …
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released interim guidance that would provide greater transparency in the agency’s chemical safety inspections process. Under the interim guidance, EPA inspectors will offer employees and employee representatives the opportunity to participate in chemical safety inspections. In addition, EPA will request that state and local agencies adopt similar procedures under the Risk Management Program. EPA believes that close involvement of employees and employee representatives in inspections is effective and better protects workers and the adjacent communities.
The interim guidance pertains to inspections conducted by EPA under the agency’s Risk Management Program (RMP). Through this program, EPA seeks to reduce the risks to surrounding communities that arise from the management, use or storage of certain hazardous chemicals. Owners and operators of covered facilities must develop a risk management plan, which includes facility plans for the prevention and response to chemical accidents. Under the Clean Air Act, the Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions require facilities that produce, handle, process, distribute, or store certain chemicals to develop a Risk Management Program, prepare a risk management plan, and submit the plan to EPA.
EPA expects to issue final guidance on participation of employees and employee representative in RMP inspections later this year.
Taking Stock Online, released today by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, provides the latest integrated North American data and most comprehensive picture of industrial pollution across North America.
It documents reported releases and transfers of 5.7 billion kilograms of toxic pollutants in 2006 from industrial facilities in Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The North American picture is incomplete however, as a combination of national reporting exemptions for certain sectors and pollutants and incomplete reporting by some facilities reveal significant gaps in the portrait of how much pollution is generated and managed by North American industry.
Taking Stock Online, presents the latest integrated data set from North America’s pollutant release and transfer registers (PRTRs) and features an integrated, multi-year database covering over 500 toxic substances and almost 100 major industrial sectors reporting to the PRTRs of Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The site also features new tools to assist in data analysis, including a tool to explore data on pollutants transferred across national borders.
The CEC’s Taking Stock Online site is updated annually and allows users to:
Explore information on industrial pollutant releases and transfers;
Generate reports in a variety of formats including pie charts and spreadsheets;
Create maps and view them using Google Earth;
Analyze PRTR data with respect to other information such as watersheds, rivers and lakes, and population centers using geospatial data from the North American Environmental Atlas.
Different reporting requirements reveal gaps
Top industrial sectors reporting releases and transfers in North America included metal mining and activities related to the oil and gas extraction sector; fossil-fuel power plants; chemicals manufacturing; and primary metals manufacturing. Reporting requirements vary by country for some sectors and pollutants, revealing important gaps in the tracking of industrial pollution at a North American level-for example:
The oil and gas extraction sector is exempt from reporting under the US Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), as is hydrogen sulfide (the pollutant reported in largest proportions by this same sector in Canada). In Mexico, the reporting threshold for this pollutant is lower than in Canada and the United States, but zero hydrogen sulfide emissions were reported by the oil and gas extraction sector in 2006.
Some of the toxic pollutants reported in the greatest volume in Canada and the United States, such as carbon disulfide, zinc compounds, methanol, and hydrochloric acid, are exempt from the Mexican reporting system (RETC). As a result, once these pollutants are transferred across the border-for example when zinc is transferred from the United States to Mexico for disposal or recycling-they cannot be tracked.
Data for the public wastewater treatment sector offer a clear example of inconsistencies among national reporting requirements, and under-reporting: this sector accounted for 84% of all reported Canadian discharges to water in 2006; in the United States, the public wastewater treatment sector is exempt from TRI reporting; and in Mexico, although facilities discharging to national water bodies are required to report to RETC, very few wastewater treatment plants did so in 2006.
Progress is being made by governments to close these gaps-such as removing exemptions for sectors and adding substances subject to PRTR reporting.
For example, Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory removed the exemption for disposal of mining tailings and waste rock, which should result in an increase in reporting by Canadian mines next year. Considering the data reported in 2006 by US metal mines, this step is potentially significant for better understanding industries’ releases and handling of pollutants of particular concern.
Metal mines in the states of Alaska, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, for example, reported releases to land-often in waste piles or uncovered areas-of millions of kilograms of heavy metals including lead and mercury compounds, both of which are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic pollutants.
Today’s release of online PRTR data and analytical tools will be complemented with further analyses and information in the CEC’s Taking Stock report to be released later this year. It will feature a special analysis of North American industrial pollutant releases to water, with a more detailed look at the sources and amounts as well as their potential impacts on the environment. Last year’s Taking Stock report provided an in-depth look at pollutant reporting from North American’s petroleum industry.
The electric Citroen Berlingo arrived in Paris after a 13,565 km journey that began in Shanghai two months ago.
By Helen Massy-Beresford, Reuters
Wed, Jul 14 2010 at 6:51 AM EST
EMMISSIONS-FREE: With European emissions rules tightening, many carmakers are pushing electric technology, and electric models from major carmakers are going on sale later this year. (Photo: jupiterimages)
PARIS – Driving into the chic Place Vendome in central Paris, lined with up market jewelers and exclusive hotels, a small orange van looked out of place on Tuesday evening amid the sleek luxury cars.
The Citroen Berlingo was remarkable not just for its diminutive size and striking color. It was arriving in the French capital after a journey of 13,565 km, that began in Shanghai two months ago. Powered by electric batteries.
The electric vehicle odyssey was masterminded by electric sports carmaker Venturi, which has a partnership with French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen to supply the rather more down-to-earth “Berlingo Electric First.”
Venturi, based in the tiny principality of Monaco, famous for its lavish casinos, and the Grand Prix that sees sportscars racing through its winding streets, makes the futuristic Fetish electric sports car, which sells for $381,200.
The Shanghai-Paris trip was the brainchild of two teachers, Xavier Chevrin and Geraldine Gabin, looking for an unusual adventure, and one that would not rely on petrol.
Chevrin had already crossed Papua New Guinea from south to north on foot, and traveled from Santa Fe to Los Angeles on horseback.
Venturi agreed to provide the car, but CEO Gildo Pallanca Pastor was adamant the little van should make the trip alone, without a support car, to dispel some of the doubts about electric cars.
With European emissions rules tightening, many carmakers are pushing electric technology, and electric models from major carmakers are going on sale later this year in Europe.
But drivers are skeptical about the limited range of an electric car between charges, and worried they will find themselves stranded far from a power socket.
Chevrin and Gabin, who set off from Shanghai on May 3 and suffered just one flat tire during the trip, never found themselves stuck with nowhere to charge up, but found it trickier in Western China and Kazakhstan, Chevrin said.
Finding the right voltage for a quick, 6-7 hour charge was a challenge sometimes, he said. They paid for the electricity they used, and a full charge usually cost around three euros.
Although the car, which is powered by nickel sodium chloride batteries, could in theory cover up to 500 km on a single charge, the 400 km that the pair covered most days, on sometimes badly surfaced roads, “was more than enough,” Chevrin said.
Their record was 430 kilometers between charges, as they entered the Gobi desert region.
The Berlingo the pair drove had an enhanced battery pack — the vans Venturi and Citroen are supplying to companies will have a range of 120 km.
Venturi and Citroen will supply 1,500 of the electric vehicles to various European companies for their fleets. France’s La Poste has ordered 250 and deliveries will start at the end of August, Pallanca Pastor said.
Asked if the two groups might consider extending their partnership, Pallanca Pastor, who bought Venturi in 2001, said “it’s very possible we could do something later … we have a partnership agreement that could be extended.”
For the time being, increasing electric vehicle volumes is key, he said. “The more we move toward more significant volumes, the more we can offset our investments.” Peugeot and Citroen are due to introduce the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero electric cars, both based on partner Mitsubishi’s iMiEV to Europe later this year.
Venturi also has plans to show an electric vehicle destined for Antarctica at the Paris Auto Show later this year, and is also considering a presence in China.
The next big challenge for Venturi is in the United States — Pallanca Pastor, who raced for 12 years, and is himself a world speed record holder for driving on ice — is going for an electric vehicle speed record.
A Venturi electric vehicle will in August attempt to exceed 500 km per hour.
And Pallanca Pastor said there may be more adventures.
“The success of this epic journey makes us want to do something more.”
From energy expenditure to building materials, living in a smaller house is one of the best ways to reduce your ecological footprint. Giving up the luxury of space and living more minimally isn’t always easy, but it does come with a few perks: fewer possessions, bigger skies and open spaces! Plus, a smaller house makes it easier to cozy up to your loved ones. You’ll learn more about Paul Elkin’s compact cycle home in a few more clicks. Meanwhile, here’s a reminder that bigger isn’t always better: 10 of the tiniest homes in the world. (Text: Bryan Nelson)
A truly 'eco' abode - one of the world's smallest homes
Though tiny, these cozy, cabin-esque home designs somehow fit everything you need inside them: a workspace, bedroom, bathroom (with toilet and shower) and living space. Some designs include a porch so the homeowner can sit out and enjoy the open spaces.
Since 1997, Jay Shafer of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company has been living in homes smaller than most people’s closets. Though tiny, these cozy, cabin-esque home designs somehow fit everything you need inside them: a workspace, bedroom, bathroom (with toilet and shower) and living space. Some designs include a porch so the homeowner can sit out and enjoy the open spaces.
Rollit Homes Students at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany designed these chic modular homes, which are built to incorporate multiple uses inside one small living space. The home functions like a mouse on a wheel; the homeowner can change the structure of the house by walking in the center to rotate it. With just a little bit of daily exercise, the unit can be turned to reveal a bed, lounge chair, table, shower, toilet, or a kitchen sink — all in the same space!
Like an inhabitable billboard, the Single Hauz – by Poland’s front architects – proposes cantilevering domestic living space from a central mast. The house can then be installed above a variety of ground conditions, from the middle of a meadow to an urban core.
Personally… I’d put it in a lake.
The cool thing is that I’ve actually spent the last 11 months of my life staring up at some of the Herculean billboard structures out here in Los Angeles; they tower over intersections on streets from Venice to Sepulveda and often seem as large as houses.
But how much weight could a billboard carry?
Could you build a house up there?
Could you use the mast-and-cantilever model for other types of architectural structures, whether those are single-family houses – whole cul-de-sacs lined with modernist billboard homes! – or even restaurants and public libraries?
The Single Hauz shows how beautiful the effect could be.
The Lusby is popular for its downstairs bedroom with extra loft sleeping above. The kitchen/main room has vaulted ceilings which make this tiny house feel much larger than it really is. The outside can be finished with board and baton siding, cedar plank (shown above) or corrugated aluminum (see Tarleton). The roof is covered with corrugated aluminum – and yes, you can hear the rain. The interior is completely finished in pine with stainless steel counters. The bathroom has a full shower, toilet and sink.
The “living room” is shared with the kitchen, and is warmed by the stainless steel fireplace. The open ceiling above makes the space feel very roomy. The entry to the living room is flanked by two full size closets perfect for storing clothes.
The custom built kitchenette runs the length of the living room and features a sink, 2 burner stove top, and refrigerator. Below the sink, there is a small water heater.
Can I add a dishwasher or laundry to the kitchen?
The kitchen is too small to add any more appliances.
The main downstairs bedroom is a little less than 4′ wide. It is great for sleeping one person, but a tight fit for two people. The loft can also be used for sleeping and comfortably fits a queen sized mattress. Because the loft is open, a conventional mattress can be easily put inside. At its peak, the loft height is 3′-8″.
The Lusby is our only house on wheels that features a full bathroom with shower, toilet and hand sink. The small water heater allows one to take a warm 5 minute shower. The toilet is a low flush RV toilet designed to conserve water. You can easily substitute a composting toilet.
Efficient and Warm
The Lusby features a stainless steel fireplace which keeps this house warm in temperatures -35 F. Because of its small size, its 16R insulation is sufficient to keep this house warm in the harshest of climates of the continental US and Southern Canada. Heading north of Southern Canada? You can easily install a larger heater, or second heater. All four walls, the floor and the roof are insulated using polystyrene foam board which can withstand the rigors of road travel.
Can I add air conditioning?
Yes, a small ceiling a/c unit can be added to keep the house cool in any climate within the US.
Do I have to build it on a trailer?
Because of its tiny size, it doesn’t meet the minimum size standards required for houses on a foundation. That said, it can be built as a shed (without a kitchen) on a foundation.
I stopped to say something on a couple post comments and then I wanted to add this to the last post but I decided to start a new one instead.
These two entries came from the google search results using the search terms –
aliphatic hydrocarbons petroleum
(there were a bunch of other goodies there too.)
My Note –
And I was thinking about the testing being done for the EPA out in the Gulf Coast areas – this was on one of my documents with some other things about the toxic waste mitigation for a number of things and hopefully some of the access points for specific health and environmental hazards from them that I had looked up a while back.
Aberdeen Test Center Facilities / Capabilities Guide
Toxic Fumes and Field Testing (Chemistry)
State-of-the-art instrumentation analyzes gases produced during weapons and ammunition testing, mobile and stationary vehicle tests, and during the assessment of tents, shelters, and other field equipment in real time.
Measurements are taken with portable analyzers for vehicle testing, mobile instrumentation vans for remote site testing, and a bombproof for ballistics tests
A list of the gases analyzed and particulate collectors used is as follows:
• Carbon monoxide
• Carbon dioxide
• Sulfur dioxide
• Nitric oxide
• Nitrogen dioxide
• Oxygen depletion
• Explosive gases (LEL)
• Particulate impactors
• Cyclone and Particulate Traps
Reactive gases can be detected during toxic gas analysis using a field Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Warfighter Directorate, 410-278-4277, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nov. 8, 2009 Residents fish at the mouth of the Santa Rita river, where the U.S. Navy dumped its untreated sewage until it left Subic Bay in 1991. A landfill used by the Navy still sits along the river.
Travis J. Tritten / S&S
Nov. 7, 2009 These members of the Fastulan village tribe worked as subcontractors for the U.S. Navy sorting waste such as paints, chemicals and asbestos materials by hand until 1991. Villagers, who do not keep birth or death records, made a list of 42 former workers who they believed died of complications from exsposure to military toxic waste, some dating back to the 1970s.
CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines – The U. S. military is long gone from bases in the Philippines, but its legacy remains buried here.
Toxic waste was spilled on the ground, pumped into waterways and buried in landfills for decades at two sprawling Cold War-era bases.
Today, ice cream shops, Western-style horse ranches, hotels and public parks have sprung up on land once used by the Air Force and the Navy — a benign facade built on land the Philippine government said is still polluted with asbestos, heavy metals and fuel.
Records of about 500 families who sought refuge on the deserted bases after a 1991 volcanic eruption indicate 76 people died and 68 others were sickened by pollutants on the bases. A study in 2000 for the Philippine Senate also linked the toxins to “unusually high occurrence of skin disease, miscarriages, still births, birth defects, cancers, heart ailments and leukemia.”
The 1991 base closing agreement gave the Philippines billions of dollars in military infrastructure and real estate at the bases and in return cleared the United States of any responsibility for the pollution. The Department of Defense told Stars and Stripes it has no authority to undertake or pay for environmental cleanup at the closed bases.
Philippine government efforts never gained traction. Philippine President Joseph Estrada formed a task force in 2000 to take on the issue, but it fell dormant and unfunded after he left office a year later. Efforts by private groups and environmentalists to force a cleanup have largely fizzled.
After two decades, the base closing agreement has run up a troubling environmental record. Filipinos claim exposure to U.S. pollutants has brought suffering and death.
As the U.S. military works to become greener in the 21st century, the Philippines stand as a dark reminder of how environmental responsibilities can go astray overseas.
Both the Air Force and the Navy polluted haphazardly in the Philippines.
The Navy pumped 3.75 million gallons of untreated sewage each day into local fishing and swimming waters at Subic Bay, according to a 1992 report by what was then known as the General Accounting Office.
The bases poured fuel and chemicals from firefighting exercises directly into the water table and used underground storage tanks without leak detection equipment, the agency found.
At least three sites at the Subic Bay Navy base — two landfills and an ordnance disposal area — are dangerously polluted with materials such as asbestos, metals and fuels, the Philippines government found after an environmental survey there.
Clark Air Base was a staging area during the Vietnam War. Its aviation and vehicle operations contaminated eight sites with oil, petroleum lubricants, pesticides, PCB and lead, according to a 1997 environmental survey by the Philippine government.
Before the U.S. closed the bases, it drew up a rough bill for cleaning the hazardous pollution.
Though they never tested the water or soil, the Air Force and the Navy estimated cleanup at each could cost up to $25 million — the average cost of handling the most polluted sites back in the United States, according to the GAO.
Rose Ann Calma is believed to be one of the warning signs of pollution at Clark Air Base.
Now 13 years old, she weighs just 32 pounds and must wear diapers. Cerebral palsy and severe mental retardation have stolen her ability to speak or walk.
Her mother and about 500 other families who were displaced by a volcanic eruption in 1991 moved onto the base and set up a tent village.
They drilled shallow wells on a former motor pool site and drank the untreated water — despite an oily sheen — until they were moved off the land in the late 1990s.
Records of the families, published by the Philippines Senate, said 144 people were sickened at the camp, 76 of whom died.
It said at least 19 children were born with disabilities, diseases and deformities between 1996 and 1999.
Tests in 1995 by the Philippine Department of Health confirmed wells on Clark were contaminated with oil and grease, a byproduct of decades of military use.
“If it is God’s will, then I accept it,” Rose Ann’s mother, Susan Calma, said recently.
In a village near Subic Bay, Norma Abraham, 58, holds an X-ray showing the lung disease that killed her husband, Guillermo.
Her husband worked through the 1980s and early 1990s sorting the Navy waste that went into local landfills, which are the most polluted sites at Subic Bay.
Many aborigines like Abraham, who are among the poorest in a poor country, were paid about 30 cents per day to hand-sort recyclable metals from Navy waste that included asbestos, paint and batteries, villagers told Stars and Stripes.
No protective equipment other than gloves was ever used, and asbestos dust was often thick in the air, the villagers said. Sometimes, when a truck dumped new waste for sorting, they said the workers would faint from the toxic fumes.
Guillermo Abraham began to cough, feel tightness in his lungs and have trouble breathing while working there, his wife said.
The lung ailment plagued him through his life and after an X-ray in January showed he was terminally ill with lung disease, he died on May 29, Norma Abraham said.
His disease, which mirrors asbestosis, is the most common ailment and killer among the 70 or so families who worked with the Navy’s waste, according to the villagers.
The aborigines rarely get quality medical treatment and do not keep birth or death records. But they compiled a list for Stars and Stripes of 41 people who they believe died over the years from toxic exposure.
Any real chance for an environmental cleanup was scuttled by the two governments in the agreement that gave the Philippines billions of dollars in base infrastructure and real estate in return for absolving the United States of any responsibility for the pollution.
As a result, the United States has no legal responsibility or authority to conduct a cleanup, and an influential Philippines politician said that government has little interest in the problem.
“It is not one of its priorities,” said Philippine Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., a former majority leader and Senate president. “If it was, it would have been done a long time ago.”
Dolly Yanan keeps the records and photos of the gray-faced, emaciated and disabled children believed to have been poisoned by U.S. military pollution in the Subic Bay area.
The records count 38 deaths from disease between 2000 and 2003.
But the record-keeping has begun to lapse in recent years as hope for a cleanup and enthusiasm for the cause recedes.
“For the past four or five years, we cannot track the leukemia,” said Yanan, who runs a community center in Olongapo City.
A coalition of citizens known as the People’s Task Force for Bases Cleanup has fought for U.S. accountability for two decades and met with a string of disappointments.
The Philippine Senate inquiry and task force in 2000 led to no action, and a lawsuit designed to force a U.S.-led environmental assessment survey, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, was thrown out in 2003.
“If only our government was strong enough, I think there would have been a cleanup or at least an initial assessment,” Yanan said. “First, it should be our government who should have a strong will and call for a cleanup.”
The Associated Press February 17, 2010, 11:42AM ET text size: TT
Toxic fumes leak in Philippine port kills 3
A chemical leak on a barge undergoing repairs killed three workers and prompted authorities to close schools and move to safety nearly 2,000 residents at a northern Philippine port, officials said Wednesday.
The three men suffocated Tuesday while repainting and fixing the docked barge in Batangas port south of Manila, said regional police director Rolando Anonuevo.
Three other workers were hospitalized while authorities temporarily moved about 2,000 people living nearby to a local school.
The gas was probably sodium hydrosulfide, a toxic chemical used in the production of paper and dyes and to process ores, said Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon.
Mayor Ryan Dolor declared an emergency in the town, sealed off a 1.6-mile (1 kilometer) radius around the wharf and suspended classes. Police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances and Red Cross personnel were on the scene as officials investigated the leak, he said.
Police summoned the owner of the barge for questioning.
Trackman’s estate sues BNSF over toxic fumes
2/18/2010 10:00 AM By Kelly Holleran
The executrix of a deceased man’s estate has filed suit against his former employer, saying he developed respiratory and cardiovascular problems after being exposed to toxic fumes while working.
Maria Seijas claims the recently deceased Roberto Seijas worked as a trackman and machine operator for BNSF Railway Company from 1971 until 2008.
During the time of his employment, Roberto Seijas was exposed to numerous airborne pollutants, chemicals, toxins, ballast dust and diesel fumes, which led him to experience a heart attack on May 15, 2008, according to the complaint filed Feb. 11 in Madison County Circuit Court.
Before his death, Roberto Seijas sustained severe and permanent injuries to his respiratory and cardiovascular systems, lungs, heart and body, which caused him to suffer great pain and mental anguish, the suit states. In addition, he lost money, experienced an extinguished earning capacity and incurred medical costs, the complaint says.
Maria Seijas blames BNSF for causing Roberto Seijas’ death, saying the company was guilty of a number of negligent acts, including its failure to provide safe tools, proper equipment and adequate supervision; its failure to warn him of hazardous conditions; its allowance of unsafe business practices to become common; and its assigning work to Roberto Seijas that it knew would cause him injury.
In her complaint, Maria Seijas seeks a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs.
Gregory M. Tobin of Pratt and Tobin in East Alton will be representing her.
Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-160.
A range of health problems are linked to the pits on military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Toxic substances have been found in the smoke.
A military environmental agency that tested air samples from Balad in 2007 found dioxins, metals, volatile organic compounds and other toxic substances in the smoke. (U.S. Air Force)
By David Zucchino
February 18, 2010
The noxious smoke plumes that wafted over the military base in Balad, Iraq, alarmed Lt. Col. Michelle Franco. The stench from a huge burn pit clung to her clothing, skin and hair.
“I remember thinking: This doesn’t look good, smell good or taste good,” Franco said recently. “I knew it couldn’t be good for anybody.”
She wheezed and coughed constantly. When Franco returned to the U.S., she was diagnosed with reactive airway dysfunction syndrome. She is no longer able to serve as an Air Force nurse.
Other returning veterans have reported leukemia, lymphoma, congestive heart problems, neurological conditions, bronchitis, skin rashes and sleep disorders — all of which they attribute to burn pits on dozens of U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The military needs to step up and address this problem,” said John Wilson of the advocacy group Disabled American Veterans, which maintains a registry of more than 500 veterans with disorders they blame on burn pits. The fumes emanating from the pits, he warned, could become the Agent Orange of the current war zone.
Items burned in the pits have included medical waste, plastics, computer parts, oil, lubricants, paint, tires and foam cups, according to soldiers and contractors. Some say amputated body parts from Iraqi patients were burned in Balad, site of a large U.S. military hospital.
A military environmental agency that tested air samples from Balad in 2007 found dioxins, metals, volatile organic compounds and other toxic substances in the smoke. But in its report — titled “Just the Facts” — the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine said the substances “were within acceptable standards.” It also blamed particulate matter found at levels above military exposure guidelines on the blowing sand and dust that is common at bases across the region.
“Although no chemical concerns or significant health risks have been identified, smoke from any source, including burning trash, can still cause temporary irritation effects,” the report said.
Last year, the center recommended moving burn pits downwind from areas where service members live and work, and minimizing the burning of plastics and cooking grease.
According to Lt. Cmdr. Bill Speaks, a military spokesman, the burning of medical waste, fuels, oils, lubricants, tires, most metals, electronics, batteries and other hazardous items is prohibited. More environmental sampling and independent reviews are planned “to ensure . . . an improved understanding of burn-pit smoke and any resulting health risks,” Speaks said.
Still, Army Master Sgt. Tex C.G. Hughes said batteries, computer parts and other banned materials were burned regularly at the main U.S. military base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He said the fumes wafted over a nearby training camp, where he and other soldiers suffered from burning eyes, coughing and wheezing.
“You could taste the smoke all night long,” said Hughes, a 61-year-old intelligence specialist. He attributes his sleep apnea to smoke exposure.
The Pentagon operates at least 84 burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Rep. Timothy H. Bishop (D-N.Y.), who cosponsored legislation last fall that prohibited burning hazardous and medical waste unless the military showed it had no alternative. The law also requires the Defense Department to justify burn pits, develop alternatives and improve medical monitoring.
Two pits at Balad were shut down in October and replaced by four closed incinerators with pollution controls. The military has installed 27 incinerators in Iraq and Afghanistan and has ordered 82 more, Bishop said.
While the Pentagon says the pits do not cause serious long-term health problems, some health experts disagree.
Dr. Anthony Szema, chief of the allergy section at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northport, N.Y., said exposure to smoke and fumes from burning refuse can increase the risk of death from lung cancer or cardiovascular disease. Szema told a Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing in November that burning plastic bottles produces dioxin and hydrochloric acid, and burning polystyrene foam cups produces dioxin, benzene and other carcinogens.
“In summary, you should not burn trash or inhale burning trash,” Szema said.
And retired Lt. Col. Darrin L. Curtis — a bioenvironmental engineer who served at Balad in 2006 and 2007 — told the committee that “burn pits may be responsible for long-term health problems in many individuals who were exposed to the smoke plumes.”
Army Sgt. 1st Class Francis Jaeger, a communications specialist, said he was regularly ordered to haul refuse to a pit at a U.S. base in Tall Afar, Iraq, where it was burned by contractors.
“We were told to burn everything — electronics, bloody gauze, the medics’ biohazard bags, surgical gloves, cardboard. It all went up in smoke,” said Francis, 46, who attributes his asthma, joint pain, muscle spasms and fatigue to exposure.
Russell Keith, a paramedic working at Balad, said he could tell when the wind had blown dark green plumes from burn pits toward base living areas. He said long lines formed for sick call, with troops coughing up blood, vomiting and complaining of nausea or burning lungs.
Keith said that medical waste, including syringes and expired drugs, was burned in the pits, and that jet fuel was sometimes used as an accelerant. Keith, 50, said he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which he blames on toxic smoke.
In January, Bishop and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) introduced the Military Personnel Toxic Exposure Registry Act, which would require the Pentagon to create a database of the tens of thousands of troops exposed to burn pits. The bill also would ban burning plastics, require annual reports to Congress on sicknesses, and ensure that veterans affected by the smoke received full service-related health benefits, Bishop said.
More than 280 veterans and contract workers have sued defense contractor KBR Inc., alleging that burn pits it operated on U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan caused cancers, respiratory problems and 13 wrongful deaths, said Susan Burke, lead attorney for the plaintiffs.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 John A. Wester, 59, a Special Forces soldier, blames his Hodgkin’s disease on exposure to a burn pit at the U.S. base in Bagram, Afghanistan.
“The military wants to deny anything’s wrong, just like with Agent Orange,” Wester said. “But there’s no doubt in my military mind where I got my cancer.”
While serving for Operation Enduring Freedom at a base that was not exactly secret but not exactly publicized, we were told to burn anything and everything that had any English on it. We used 55-gallon drums, and burned 24 hours a day. All food wrappers, papers, trash, batteries, etc. The smell was incredible. Every so often, another unit came to burn cassette tapes, and then you couldn’t even be in the area because you just couldn’t breathe. HOWEVER, the worst airborne contamination we faced was the mystery powder that they sprayed from trucks to kill mosquitos. It was bright yellow and killed any insect it touched. It had this bizarre smell and made your eyes itch. Against regulation, I used my gas mask every time the truck came by. There were a few Army guys that were stationed in a tower about 10 feet from the road where the truck would drive by that had no masks or any other way to not breathe whatever this powder was, and they told me that their hands would go so numb that they couldn’t make a fist after breathing this stuff. However, the base commanders refused to tell us what was in the insecticide. Our military only cares about the troops so much, then we are thrown to the wolves. Also, we dumped our raw sewage from the porta-johns on open ground a few miles off base…and we wonder why they hate us over there!
Bay_Area_Vacationer (02/18/2010, 4:49 PM )
Another example of why we shouldn’t be in Iraq. We have no respect for other people and cultures.
ma8rty (02/18/2010, 8:59 AM )
What about all the material burned or buried on domestic military bases? Check out the marine corps logistics bases, east coast and west coast, they routinely dispose of old materials. What about camp lejeune north carolina?
Blackbeard420 (02/18/2010, 6:40 AM )
On both of my tours in Iraq, there were burn pits operated by KBR in the vicinity of our compound. They burned all garbage such as tires, batteries, plastics, etc. Everything was burnt. The burn pit had a toxic smell that was impossible to get rid of. Our battalion commander complained about the burn pit because it was endangering the health of his Marines. Because of his complaints, the EPA came out to sample the air quality. On the day the EPA arrived, KBR had shut down the burn pit. Air quality was acceptable, case closed. I have had breathing problems ever since.
Aromatic hydrocarbons are the most toxic compounds found in petroleum products. Most aromatic hydrocarbons are long-term toxins and known cancer causing agents. These aromatic compounds are found in all crude oils and most petroleum products. Many aromatic hydrocarbons have a pleasant odor and include such substances as naphthalene, xylene, toluene, and benzene. Aliphatic hydrocarbons are flammable and may be explosively flammable. Aliphatic hydrocarbons include methane, propane, and kerosene.
Aliphatics and aromatics pose a special health risk if ingested and vomited. When swallowed, the lighter, more volatile distillate products can be sucked into the lungs interfering with the lung’s functions and chemical pneumonia may result. Aspiration of fluid into the lungs can occur both during swallowing and vomiting of the product. Upon skin contact, petroleum distillates can produce local skin irritation and sensitivity to light in some individuals. Environmentally, many of the petroleum distillate products add to smog and water pollution due to improper disposal or during their manufacture and use.
Products which contain petroleum distillates should be used carefully. Wear gloves to avoid skin contact and avoid breathing vapors of volatile compounds. Always keep petroleum distillate products out of reach of children. Do not mix different petroleum distillate products. Refer to the specific petroleum distillate product listed in this guide for safe use, storage, and disposal information.
On Dec. 18, 2009, a jury awarded more than $100 million to 10 workers who accused BP North America Inc. of releasing toxic chemicals into the air at its refinery in Texas City.
The workers were among dozens who were treated for sore throats and dizziness related to chemical exposure in March and April 2009. The plaintiffs’ attorneys said the plant had a poor safety record, citing a 2005 explosion that killed 15 people and injured 170, and they contended BP had failed to take adequate steps to remedy the problems.
BP denied releasing any hazardous substances into the plant, but the jury disagreed. It found the energy giant negligent and awarded each plaintiff $10 million in punitive damages, plus between $5,000 and $244,000 apiece for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
Garner, et al. v. BP Products North America Inc., No. 3:07-cv-00221
Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Anthony G. Buzbee, Sean E. O’Rourke and Peter K. Taaffe, The Buzbee Law Firm, Houston
Defense Attorney: James B. Galbraith, McLeod, Alexander, Powell & Apffel, Galveston
The information above is reported and written by VerdictSearch Texas. Additional verdicts can be found in VerdictSearch Texas or at VerdictSearch.com, affiliates of Texas Lawyer.