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No Power, No Entertainment

No electricity No entertainment

We store water, food, gas, medical supplies, toilet paper, and other items we deem necessary to weather a disaster, emergency, or even End of the World as we Know It, but have you prepared for entertainment?

Our mental stability is just as important as all other items in your supplies.  This has been proven during long term isolation tests performed by NASA, when preparing for long space flights, and even settlement of other planets.  (source) We must be aware that the mental state of your family and members in your group is important for your success.  Boredom and isolation can cause problems and be detrimental to all your physical preparations. Obviously, length of event, will play into this senario, as entertainment for a couple days may only require a deck of cards, and long events require more thought.  Kids, without the ability to understand the gravity of the situation, will be hit hard.  The loss of the ability to play video games, or watch television, will not go well with them.  You’ll need to address these situations with understanding, patience and planning.  Who knows, kids will learn to play outside again, provided “outside” is safe.

Depending on the situation, you may get friends or kids and play sports during the day or cards, dominoes, or dice games.  A day fishing with dad or maybe a game of checkers is all you’ll need. I found some roll up checkers/chess/backgammon games on amazon and they are fairly inexpensive and weather proof. Playing charades or some other interactive game of imagination will go a long way. There are many things you can do as a family including singing, playing musical instruments, storytelling and theater.

Thinking about this scenario got me thinking about the best preps a family can make to appease the boredom.

Below is a list of games, musical instruments and books that will stave off dreary times.

Games:

Board Games are great, but transportation may come at a premium.  Most modern games are cardboard and not waterproof, obviously.  A couple games that come to mind that may prove to be more portable, Chess, Checkers, Dominos, and of course card games.  We picked up some waterproof card decks and they are great.  Check out the links below.  These are some of the games we picked up and they are easy to pack, and won’t be damaged by weather.

I’m sure you can think of other games to play as well.

Musical Instruments.

I thought about guitars and many people will plan on carrying one.  I’ve been known to pluck and grin from time to time, but I just don’t have the space if I had to pack my family up quickly and get out.  Here are some ideas for small portable musical instruments that would be able to entertain the family, once someone learned to play them.  🙂

Books and Theater

Charades  and Eye-Spy are one of the best family activities to involve everyone.  Nothing to buy and all you need is an imagination.  We play punch buggie and license plate games when our kids were young.  The same type of games can be used anywhere.  Use your imagination and it will pay off in the long term.

Some books that I find great for all family members are fantasy.  Fantasy stories like Princess Bride, Never Ending Story, and many many others, help keep your mind off what may really be going on around you.  It’s good to take a break from reality from time to time.



Never Ending Story

Sit down with your loved ones at some point and brainstorm.  I’m sure you’ll come up with some great ideas to keep boredom at bay.

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Wisconsin Mushroom Species

Mushroom

Autumn hunts have evolved far beyond the excitement found by man in placing his strategy in the field against Wisconsin game. That thrill remains.  But simplistically stated, I want the freezer full.  Table fare provided by turkey, venison, other upland birds and waterfowl and more recently, wild fall Wisconsin mushrooms is in itself worth the time, effort…and fun of the harvest.

Like the highly sought after wild morels of spring, Wisconsin offers Fall wild mushroom species that in this reporter’s opinion are more desirable on the palette than store bought varieties.  Following recent autumn rains that stimulate extraordinary mushroom growth, Wisconsin naturalist Bob Swann led me on a search for edible and common fall species that include puffballs, leafy polyporous, sulphus polyporous, shaggy mane, ink cap, and honey mushroom.

“First and foremost, do not eat any wild mushrooms without positively identifying it from a book,” Swann said.  “Even with a book an amateur should never pick and eat any stemmed (possibly poisonous) variety without consulting an expert.”

For all you Wisconsin mushroom hunters out there. There has been 604 species of mushroom found. Here is a link with the locations and dates of all of them.  Not all mushrooms are edible to eat and you have to be very careful. Here is a link for 30 different mushrooms in Wisconsin that are edible.

https://mushroomobserver.org/species_list/show_species_list/1034

https://www.wisconsinmycologicalsociety.org/learning-more-thirty-edible-mushrooms.html

 

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What Aloe Vera Does In Your Body

Aloe

The Plant Of Immortality

Aloe Vera was known to the Ancient Egyptians as the “Plant of Immortality” and as the “Wand of Heaven” to the Native Americans. Clearly, they held the plant and it’s amazing healing benefits in extremely high regard. Read on to learn more about the amazing benefits of aloe vera when applied topically to your skin as well as when taken in juice form. Aloe vera contains over 200 biologically active, naturally occurring constituents which include polysaccharides, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals. Aloe vera is rich in vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, folic acid and choline.  Vitamin B12 deficiency can be common among people aged 65 or older as well as in those eating a meat-free diet, but supplemental vitamin B12 isn’t always readily absorbed into the body.

Offering 20 out of 22 amino acids, including 7 essential amino acids, aloe vera helps to boost the immune system and ensure proper synthesis of hormones, proteins and enzymes.  Plus, it has anti-inflammatory fatty acids like beta-sisosterol, campesterol and lupeol, and other healthy plant sterols like oleic, palmitic, linolenic, linoleic and stearic acids. Rich in enzymes, including amylase, lipase, bradykinase and six others, aloe vera gives a natural boost to metabolism and the digestive system overall.  Most enzymes found in aloe help break down fats and sugars, while bradykinase decreases skin inflammation.

#1: Reduces Dental Plaque

Tooth decay, gum disease and cavities are all too common in people all over the world. The main reason these problems occur is from the excess buildup of plaque. You can use a 100% pure aloe vera mouth rinse to reduce dental plaque and get rid of bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans.

A scientific study done in 2014 showed that 100% pure aloe vera juice was found to be equally effective as the active ingredient in mouthwash when it comes to eliminating bacteria in the mouth and reducing dental plaque.

#2: Reduces Constipation

The latex part of the aloe vera plant – found just beneath the surface of the leaf – has been used as an effective remedy for constipation for years. Certain compounds found in the latex part of the plant have laxative properties, although it’s important to note that it hasn’t been shown to be effective in treating digestive disorders such as IBS.

#3: Prevents Wrinkles and Improves Health of Skin

When applied topically to the skin, pure aloe vera gel has anti-aging benefits that can slow down the aging process of our skin – something from which we can all benefit. Studies have shown then when used on a regular basis, aloe vera gel can boost collagen production and increase skin elasticity, which in turn can help to reduce wrinkles.

#4: Treats Canker Sores & Mouth Ulcers

Canker sores – also known as mouth ulcers – are very common and most people will suffer from them at some point in their lives. They’re painful, burning sores that spring up out of nowhere in the mouth and can last up to 10 days if untreated. Certain studies have shown that aloe vera can help to speed up the healing process of canker sores and also reduce the pain associated with them.

#5: Lowers Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetics

Aloe vera extract has proven to be an effective treatment in regulating and lowering blood sugar in diabetic patients. Studies have shown aloe vera extract to be particularly helpful in managing blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity in both humans and animals with type 2 diabetes. Although preliminary research is promising, more studies are needed to determine the true effectiveness and safety of this method.

#6: Detoxification

Since aloe vera is a gelatinous food (like chia seeds or seaweed, for example), it aids in the detoxification process by absorbing toxins as it makes its way through the digestive tract. Including more aloe vera in your diet will increase your body’s ability to effectively expel waste and other toxins that may otherwise hang around.

#7: Heart Health

Although there hasn’t been a ton of research on aloe vera’s effect on cardiovascular health, there have been some promising studies. One study published in 2002 in the British Medical Journal showed that aloe vera injected directly into the bloodstream helped to lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and improve circulation.

#8: Boosts the Immune System

Aloe vera helps to boost your immune system by stimulating white blood cells and destroying dangerous free radicals, thanks to its anti-oxidant properties. Excess free radicals also contribute to the aging process, so controlling their growth is crucial. Aloe vera is also considered to be an antipyretic, which means it can be helpful in reducing or even preventing fevers.

#9: Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation in our bodies is a contributor to all sorts of conditions from sore muscles and headaches to stiff joints and back pain. Aloe vera contains 12 different substances that have shown to be beneficial in reducing inflammation, which in turn will help heal aching muscles and other conditions associated with inflammation

.#10: Weight Loss

A secondary effect of the detoxifying properties of aloe vera is weight loss. When your digestion improves and your body is able to eliminate more waste and toxins on a regular basis, you will naturally lose more weight. And without all those excess toxins inside you, you’ll have more energy, too.

Source:

https://www.aloe-medical-group.com

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

http://www.positivethingsonly.com

 

 

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Mistakes You’re Making With Your Cast-Iron Skillet

Everyone should own a cast iron skillet or dutch oven.  You can’t really call yourself a prepper without one, but what are some mistakes people make when cooking, cleaning, or storing cast iron cookware?

Cast iron can be tricky. Here are some things to avoid when you’re cooking with cast iron.

The cast-iron is the workhorse of many a dedicated home cook, and for good reason. Constructed in one seamless piece of metal, it’s tough, conducts heat efficiently and, when seasoned properly, has a nonstick surface. If fact, a properly seasoned skillet, will cook an egg as good as any high tech modern cookware. There’s almost nothing cast iron can’t do, but you have to treat your pan right.

What are some of the most common cast iron mistakes and how to fix them.

You don’t understand seasoning

It’s so easy to say, “Seasoning” without actually understanding the science and what actually it means. Seasoning refers to a layer of polymerized oil that has been baked onto the surface. Seasoning makes your skillet release food easily, clean up quickly and remain stain- and rust-free. Some cast-iron skillets come pre-seasoned, but that won’t last forever, so you’ll have to learn how to season cast iron properly. Seasoned cast iron will have a smooth, non-greasy, lacquered surface. An unseasoned skillet, for example, will have a grey or dull appearance, and will become shiny and closer to black in color when seasoned properly. Even if your skillet comes pre-seasoned, for best results right out of the box, consider seasoning it yourself before you use it.

Frying pan made of cast iron, various fresh vegetables and spices on a white wooden kitchen table.

You’re not seasoning the skillet right

If you’re just rubbing a layer of oil onto the surface of your skillet, you’re not seasoning. Seasoning involves a chemical reaction made possible through heat. Here is how to season your cast-iron skillet:

  • Apply a thin coat of any kind of vegetable oil to the entire pan (inside and outside and the handle too)
  • Place the pan inverted in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for an hour
  • Turn off oven and allow pan to cool inside the oven.

You’re not cleaning it correctly

How to clean your cast-iron skillet:

  • Immediately after cooking, rinse in warm water, sprinkle with a bit of baking soda, and scrub gently with a nylon brush. The baking soda neutralizes any flavors and odors from what you’ve just cooked, and has antibacterial properties.
  • Since water will cause cast-iron to rust, don’t soak your skillet (thanks to seasoning, you shouldn’t need to), and be sure to thoroughly dry it with a dishtowel.
  • To help maintain the existing seasoning for as long as possible, apply a thin coating of vegetable oil while the pan is still warm.

Hand pushing a sponge into a water-filled skillet

You never use soap

Think you can’t wash your cast iron with soap? Wrong! Cast iron can take almost anything you throw at it, even a little dish soap. Yes, if you take care of your skillet perfectly, you might never need to suds the skillet up. We all make mistakes, though, there may be a time you need to soap up to clean it up well or to help you if it gets rusted.

Do you have a rusty skillet? How to get it looking like new again?

You use harsh chemicals

While soap can be used on cast iron sparingly, there is no need for any harsh chemicals to clean your skillet ever— if it’s rusted, Never use oven cleaner or scouring powder.  Use baking soda, a towel and, if needed some dish soap. That’s it.

Seasoned cast iron skillet

You’re not re-seasoning

Season cast-iron once, and you’ve got a kitchen workhorse. Well you do for a while. Season cast-iron regularly, and you’ve got a kitchen workhorse for a lifetime. Every time you use your cast-iron cookware, you’re wearing some of the seasoning down, and eventually it won’t function as well. So season it again whenever you see dull spots is easy to do. It’s simple to season it whenever it’s out and your oven is on.

You’re not doing enough cast-iron cooking

While seasoning does wear down with use, the more you use your cast-iron cookware, the better it performs. Every time you use it, you’re also adding new molecules of polymerized oil. Over the long haul, your cast-iron will darken and grow shinier.

You get scared off by a bit of rust

One day, you will take your cast-iron skillet out of the cupboard, and there will be a spot of rust on it. Yes, it happens even to the most careful cast-iron caretakers. But don’t worry; it’s not going to hurt your cookware at all. You can take steel wool to it. Just be sure to wash and re-season before you use it again. Here are some more tips on dealing with, and preventing, rust.

You’re not preheating

Cast-iron performs best when heated gradually, so give it a few minutes to pre-heat before adding your food.

You’re overheating

Because cast-iron is so efficient at conducting heat, it can get hotter than what you may be used to with other cookware. So start with a lower heat setting as you get used to how incredibly efficient your cast iron skillet actually is. And if it gets too hot (you’ll know, but one sign is that it’s smoking), turn off the heat, let it cool down a bit, and then get back to cooking.

You’re using the wrong spatula

Technically, you can use any spatula (and any tool) on a cast-iron skillet. However, metal spatulas provide the best results, especially when cooking delicate food such as eggs.

You believe the myth that you can’t cook acidic foods (like tomato sauce)

It’s a total myth that you can’t cook acidic foods in your cast iron skillet. Some are under the impression that acidic foods can discolor cast-iron, but a baking soda scrub should eliminate any discoloring. Some people think that acidic foods cause iron molecules to leach out into your food, but that’s actually a good thing! Cast-iron cooking can add significant amounts of iron to your food and into your body.

So go ahead and try this chicken cacciatore recipe, which we affirmatively recommend that you cook in cast-iron.

You don’t realize how forgiving it is

So maybe as you’re reading this, you’re thinking about that cast-iron skillet you haven’t taken the best care of. Maybe you’ve made every single one of the mistakes listed above. That’s okay! Just scrub it down, re-season it, and start using it again. Cast-iron is forgiving like that. That’s why it will last forever…or at least until Thanksgiving…when you can try all of these holiday recipes tailor-made for your favorite skillet.

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Downloading Maps for Off-Grid or No Cell Signal

Have you ever wanted to download a map for when you don’t have signal or just simply want to conserve your battery by turning cell service off. Here’s a simple way to do just that.

Many people may not be aware that you can download Google maps for use when you don’t have signal.

Be aware you will have to refresh the map after a period of time since the data will automatically delete after a month, unless you save it again.

 

Open your Google Maps App and scroll, pinch and zoom to the area you want to download and the 3 hash marks Menu.

Then Click the “Offline Maps” Menu item.


Select Your Own Map

The Map will download

If you select the downloaded map you can navigate and search the area.

Be aware that the map will expire and not all search functions work properly.

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CBD OIL

Public support for both medical and recreational marijuana is at an all-time “high”. Many believe that the products made from the cannabis sativa plant are all “psychoactive”; that is, mind-altering. Studies, however, suggest that some substances in Cannabis plants have little or no psychoactive action at all, but might have other medicinal benefits.

The one making the most news is cannabidiol, also known as CBD. Often marketed as an essential oil, CBD has been touted on the internet as a cure for almost anything you can imagine. A huge number of claims from an equally huge number of manufacturers leaves the average citizen dazed and confused.

So, what is Cannabidiol?

What are the benefits of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 chemical compounds called “cannabinoids” in Cannabis sativa and certain other plants. Some cannabinoids bind with cell structures in the body known as “receptors” and cause physical effects. One, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), binds with a receptor that is responsible for the “high” experienced by those who use marijuana recreationally. Humans actually produce some of their own cannabinoids as well.

The way CBD works is not well understood, but it has enough promise that a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel recommended approving the CBD medication Epidiolex for two rare types of epilepsy in children. The FDA panel recommendation was the first official federal action to approve a natural Cannabis product in the United States. Previously, the FDA approved THC in synthetic form as an anti-nausea agent.

Some potential is being reported for the use of CBD in multiple sclerosis (MS), where it is being used (along with standard therapies) in other countries. A nasal spray known as Sativex contains both THC and CBD and is thought to be effective for pain, muscle tightness, and urinary frequency in people with MS. This product is not yet approved in the United States.

CBD use is also being suggested (often with other treatments) for pain management, anxiety, movement disorders, nerve disorders, schizophrenia, and various other conditions. So many, as a matter of fact, that it is being touted by some companies as a cure for everything from cancer to autism to smoking. Even mainstream stores like Kroger has announced it will be selling CBD products in the near future.

In some cases, there are studies that might support using CBD for one medical issue or another, but not enough to be considered sufficient proof of benefit. Some companies have run afoul of the FDA for making unfounded claims. The possibilities, however, are serving as the driving force for a number of ongoing studies.

Every treatment, even natural, has its advantages and disadvantages; Cannabidiol is no different. Its use may cause abnormal liver function tests, diarrhea, drowsiness, dizziness, low blood pressure, and other problems. A study on those with Parkinson’s disease found that use of CBD oil actually worsened tremors. It isn’t considered safe in pregnancy.

Marijuana growers have worked for decades to develop strains with the highest THC levels possible, so as to give their customers the best “high”. Now that extraction of Cannabidiol is in vogue, these same farmers are also cultivating plants with low THC and high CBD levels. The source is usually hemp.

Hemp is grown specifically for its ease of cultivation and ability to be turned into usable fiber. It has been part of the textile market for thousands of years. In addition, commercial products such as clothing, paper, insulation, plastics, paint, and even certain foods can be manufactured from industrial hemp. Now, it serves as an excellent source of CBD.

Many believe that marijuana and hemp are the same. They are, indeed, the same species, but different strains. The CBD products made from hemp allow users to stay mentally “with it” while experiencing the possible medical benefits. The colorfully-named psychoactive marijuana strains (“purple haze”, etc.)?  Well, not so much, although they are legal to use for medicinal reasons in more than 30 states.

What is CBD

CBD OIL

Cannabidiol can be added to various products you smoke, spray, eat, or apply. The most popular are extracts known as “CBD oil”. Food and drink containing small amounts of CBD are generally regarded as safe by the FDA. Despite this, its legality varies from state to state. It’s legal in some where marijuana isn’t.

As with any essential oil, the effects vary greatly with the strain of Cannabis used, climate conditions, extraction process, and other factors. The lack of testing and standards regarding quality also causes reliability issues with CBD products.  Dosing is still “largely unknown”, but that 300-600 milligrams was suggested to be effective for anxiety in healthy individuals. Some pediatric epileptics were taking 1000 milligrams in addition to anti-seizure drugs.

Until there is a regulatory system in place to verify each brand of oil’s content and safety, it seems clear that consumers will have no guarantee about what they’re getting. False products have ranged from placebo (sugar pills) to toxic. In one area in Utah, synthetic versions of CBD in supplements required more than 50 people to seek medical care.

Cannabidiol is one of many natural products that may become useful tools in the medical woodshed. Even off the grid, “weed” grows like, well, weeds. As more data is produced, there will be a clearer picture as to whether cannabidiol lives up to its potential. In the meantime, do your own research and discuss CBD with a qualified medical professional.

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Heating and Cooking Offgrid RPG Gasifier Rocket Stove

RPG Rocket Stove Griddle Me This

Have you made plans for a backup way to heating and cooking off-grid?

Many people around the country are downsizing, moving into tiny homes, travel trailers, and school bus conversions.  Propane stove are usually the go-to cooking and heating systems.  This AirStream travel trailer has those appliances as well, but we wanted the ability to cook when and if propane was not available, and who doesn’t love the smell of wood stove burning on a cold snowy winter night.

When you install a small stove in a small space, there are a lot of safety concerns you need to consider.

  1. Distance to flammable items
  2. Make up/ Combustion Air
  3. Venting System and Clearances.
  4. Fuel Storage and Access
  5. Safety, Safety, Safety

When planning your stove location take into consideration all these concerns and more for your own situation.

Smaller stoves are available for even smaller situations.

Specifications:

40,000 btu RPG Gasifier Rocket Stove. Can operate on wood upto 17 inch long and wood pellets.

Flue Damper to control draft

Griddle Me This:  The attached Griddle serves two purposes.  (1) A flat griddle cooking surface (2) Heat exchanger for the stove.  The griddle is rotated sideways.

4 inch Stainless Steel vent pipe and adjustable elbows.

4 Stainless H-Style termination vent hood.

Stainless Steel wall backing plates with 1/2 inch aero-gel (R-7)insulation along walls and underneath stove to reflect heat into heating space.

 

 

If You have any questions leave a comment below.

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Diarrhea. How to Not Die from Dysentery.

How to survive diarrhea

By Rich- June 10 2019

Diarrhea kills more children per year than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. With 760,000 people dying per year, a simple solution could save 93%.

Knowing how to treat dehydration from diarrhea could save you or a family member. There are some very simple compounds you can keep around the house of cabin in preparation. Hopefully you will never need to use them, but it’s good to know how to use them and at what ratios.

First, what happens to your body while experiencing diarrhea?
You body becomes dehydrated so fluid levels drop, blood thickens, electrolytes are out of whack. Without a good balance, your body’s stops functioning correctly and organs begin shutting down. Your body needs a balance of electrolytes just like a battery needs electrolytes to function and without them, you won’t have enough juice to run your equipment (body).

Making your body absorb the fluids. There’s a little thing called osmosis. It’s a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane. When water is leaving the body at a high rate, you are obviously really sick. You to get your body to absorb the water as quickly as possible, we need to use science. We will create a solution to force the body to absorb as much water as possible, in return allowing you the time to heal, recorver, and most importantly, Not Die.

Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is a type of fluid replacement used to prevent and treat dehydration, especially that due to diarrhea. It involves drinking water with modest amounts of sugar and salts, specifically sodium and potassium. Oral rehydration therapy can also be given by a nasogastric tube. Therapy should routinely include the use of zinc supplements ( https://amzn.to/2XH1aDd). Use of oral rehydration therapy has been estimated to decrease the risk of death from diarrhea by up to 93%.

Side effects may include vomiting, high blood sodium, or high blood potassium. If vomiting occurs, it is recommended that use be paused for 10 minutes and then gradually restarted. The recommended formulation includes sodium chloride( Table Salt), sodium citrate, (https://amzn.to/2WwG0qb) potassium chloride (https://amzn.to/2WyCfR1), and glucose (https://amzn.to/2KcVYnG). Glucose may be replaced by sucrose and sodium citrate may be replaced by sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda) if not available. It works as glucose increases the uptake of sodium and thus water by the intestines. A number of other formulations are also available including versions that can be made at home.

Find Links below for sources of ingredients.

Recipe:
Dextrose: 7 Tablespoons https://amzn.to/2KcVYnG
Sodium Citrate: 2 Teaspoons https://amzn.to/2WwG0qb
Potassium Chloride: 24 grams (about 2.5 teaspoons) https://amzn.to/2WwnmhR
Mix per 1 Gallon of Water

Zinc: 10 mg per day. https://amzn.to/2XH1aDd

Please share this article. This may save someone’s life someday.


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How To Build A Composting Toilet

Composting Toilet

Have you ever considered, “What if our modern plumbing system were to fail?”

Things could get really, really bad quickly, if you have never had to deal with human waste.

A composting toilet or sawdust toilet as people used to call them, could be a simple answer. There are some important things you should know before you jump in head first. Let’s begin with how and why a composting toilet would be a great alternative.

Just What is a sawdust toilet?

Simply put, a composting toilet turns excrement into a small bio-digester and converts waste into inert and safe compost. The idea is the same as composting leaves, grass clippings, and pretty much any bio matter.

Composting toilets use the natural processes of decomposition and evaporation to recycle human waste. Waste entering the toilets is over 90% water, which is evaporated and carried back to the atmosphere through the vent system. The small amount of remaining solid material is converted to useful fertilizing soil by natural decomposition.

This natural process, essentially the same as in your garden composter by manipulating the environment in the composting chamber. 

The correct balance between oxygen, moisture, heat and organic material is needed to ensure a rich environment for the aerobic bacteria that transform the waste into fertilizing soil. This ensures odor-free operation and complete decomposition of waste.

When human waste is properly composted, the end product does not contain any pathogens or viruses (these are destroyed by bacterial breakdown). This nutrient-rich fertilizer can then be used on plants or around the base of trees, as part of the natural cycling of nutrients, reducing your need for commercial fertilizers and preserving local water quality.

A composting toilet must perform three completely separate processes:

  1. Compost the waste and toilet paper quickly and without odour
  2. Ensure that the finished compost is safe and easy to handle
  3. Evaporate the liquid

Now in saying that, composting toilets can come in many shapes and sizes ranging from a homemade sawdust toilets (which you can make from a simple bucket and a board with a hole in it) right through to major composting toilet systems like a Clivus Multrum (that can handle the needs of up to 30 people full time).

A sawdust toilet and a composting toilet are essentially the same thing, it’s just that some people look for information about sawdust toilets because they hear that sawdust is the best thing to add to a composting toilet. They are right in one sense that sawdust can certainly be used in a composting toilet, but there’s definitely other things that can be used effectively in a composting toilet.

What can you put in a sawdust toilet?

This will really depend on the composting toilet. If you’re a DIY’er and you’ve gotten yourself a 25 gallon bucket with a seat, what you can put in this type of composting toilet will differ greatly to a more elegant setup like a commercially produced toilet.

With most composting toilets, urine is caught in a separate container. Too much moisture can slow the bio-degesting process. Urine can be a good source of fertilizer on its own.

A compost pile really needs to be in the Goldilocks zone – not too cold, not too hot, not too dry and not too runny. If you find the ‘sweet spot’ then a composting toilet can be a welcome addition to any home and can operate smell free if done right.

If you’ve got a purpose built composting toilet like a you won’t have issues with excess urine as many of these options have urine diversion built in along with fans to help keep your composting pile at the right temperature and level of dryness.

How do you build a composting toilet?

This will depend on the type of sawdust toilet design you go for. If you’re going down the DIY route, there’s many different types of sawdust toilets you can make. Take a look at some of the images below to give you an idea of what you can make. The simplest toilet design is using a bucket. Seal the top with a gasket and build a small chimney so that air flow and natural convection will draw heat and moisture out of the bucket.

Many will use a 25 gallon bucket or barrel and place a plywood lid to seal the top of the barrel, attach a toilet seat with foam gaskets, and use pvc pipe to vent the holding tank upto 8-10 feet in the air to create a draft.


What happens when a sawdust toilet starts to smell?

If there’s a smell emanating out of your composting toilet then it’s fair to say “you’re doing it wrong”. Too much of anything can have an effect on your composting pile and how it works – for example, too little sawdust or peat moss in your toilet will give you an abundance of human waste when compared to sawdust.

If you’re not diverting urine, the pile can quickly turn into a sloppy mess that smells and gets full quickly.

Remember even though many people call these types of toilet systems ‘sawdust toilets’ they are in essence a composting toilet so you’re able to put a wide range of organic material in there, not just sawdust.

If you’re finding that your sawdust or composting toilet is starting to smell, why not try adding some of the following items to your pile to see if that makes a difference:-

  • Wood shavings
  • Food scraps
  • Garden clippings
  • Lawn clippings
  • Animal manures
  • Leaves and weeds
  • Hay
  • Coffee grinds
  • Straw
  • Leftovers from beer brewing or cider making
  • Shredded junk mail or newspaper
  • Rice hulls
  • Sugar cane bagasse
  • Peat moss

Are composting toilets safe?

Most definitely – as long as you follow instructions properly and keep your composting pile in working order, a composting toilet is very safe. The microbes and bacteria in the pile will break down any unwanted pathogens in the humus. This is why it’s sometimes a good idea to introduce a little dirt or other natural organic matter into your pile to help bump up the level of microbes all working to break down the pile into usable compost.

What’s the end product of a sawdust toilet?

Very simply you get what’s called humus. This is a top-soil like product that’s rich with organic materials and can be used on any garden where non edible plants are being grown. The humus can be used on fruit trees and any plant that you don’t directly eat. If done properly this soil won’t smell and is full of nutrients that plants just love.

Why not just dig a hole, or use my septic system?

If you’re wondering why people go to the trouble of installing and maintaining a sawdust composting toilet, there’s a whole bunch of different answers you could get. Some people want to live off-the-grid and make as little impact as possible to their environment. Others want to simply save water and if you have a septic system, they will need to be pumped eventually, and especially if not maintained. Some people don’t have the option of having water plumbed to their house from the mains, or rely on rainwater tanks for their drinking water, so reducing the amount of water you waste is essential.

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Make Firestarters In The Summer and Be Ready For Winter

For the above fire starters use Egg carton(paper not styrofoam!), dryer lint, sawdust/finer wood chips, melted wax.

Just add sawdust then lint, add more sawdust and then pour a little melted wax into each cup and poke and stir around. You can use old crayons for the wax as well. They burn great and help get your stove going easily in the middle of the night. Get all your family to help by asking them to save their dryer lint. Many family members contributed to the stockpiling of supplies and you’ll have enough to make it through winter easily.

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E1, E2 and E3 Three Components of an EMP

What is an EMP

E1, E2 and E3 by Jerry Emanuelson, B.S.E.E. Futurescience, LLC

This page is based upon a section that I wrote for Wikipedia.  Since future modifications to that article are out of my control, I thought it would be a good idea to archive that material on this web site.

The case of a nuclear electromagnetic pulse differs from other kinds of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) in being a complex electromagnetic multi-pulse.   The complex multi-pulse is usually described in terms of three components, and these three components have been defined as such by the international standards commission called the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).1

The three components of nuclear EMP, as defined by the IEC, are called E1E2 and E3.

E1

The E1 pulse is the very fast component of nuclear EMP.   The E1 component is a very brief but intense electromagnetic field that can quickly induce very high voltages in electrical conductors.   The E1 component causes most of its damage by causing electrical breakdown voltages to be exceeded.   E1 is the component that can destroy computers and communications equipment; and it changes too fast for ordinary lightning protectors to provide effective protection against it.   Consumer transient protectors are becoming increasingly able to handle faster rise-time pulses, though.   There are special transient protectors that are fast enough to suppress nuclear EMP.

The E1 component is produced when gamma radiation from the nuclear detonation knocks electrons out of the atoms in the upper atmosphere.   The electrons begin to travel in a generally downward direction at relativistic speeds (more than 90 percent of the speed of light).   In the absence of a magnetic field, this would produce a large pulse of electric current vertically in the upper atmosphere over the entire affected area.   The Earth’s magnetic field acts on these electrons to change the direction of electron flow to a right angle to the geomagnetic field.   This interaction of the Earth’s magnetic field and the downward electron flow produces a very large, but very brief, electromagnetic pulse over the affected area.2

Physicist Conrad Longmire has given numerical values for a typical case of the E1 pulse produced by a second generation nuclear weapon such as those used in high altitude tests of Operation Fishbowl in 1962.   According to Longmire, the typical gamma rays given off by the weapon have an energy of about 2 MEV (million electron volts).   When these gamma rays collide with atoms in the mid-stratosphere, the gamma rays knock out electrons.   This is known as the Compton effect, and the resulting electrons produce an electric current that is known as the Compton current.   The gamma rays transfer about half of their energy to the electrons, so these initial electrons have an energy of about 1 MEV.   This causes the electrons to begin to travel in a generally downward direction at about 94 percent of the speed of light.   Relativistic effects cause the mass of these high energy electrons to increase to about 3 times their normal rest mass.2

If there were no geomagnetic field, and no additional atoms in the lower atmosphere for additional collisions, the electrons would continue to travel downward with an average current density in the stratosphere of about 48 amperes per square meter.2

Because of the downward tilt of the Earth’s magnetic field at high latitudes, the area of peak field strength is a U-shaped region to the equatorial side of the nuclear detonation.   For nuclear detonations over the continental United States, this U-shaped region is south of the detonation point.   Near the equator, where the Earth’s magnetic field is more nearly horizontal, the E1 field strength is more nearly symmetrical around the burst location.

The Earth’s magnetic field quickly deflects the electrons at right angles to the geomagnetic field, and the extent of the deflection depends upon the strength of the magnetic field.   At geomagnetic field strengths typical of the central United States, central Europe or Australia, these initial electrons spiral around the magnetic field lines in a circle with a typical radius of about 85 meters (about 280 feet).   These initial electrons are stopped by collisions with other air molecules at a average distance of about 170 meters (a little less than 580 feet).   This means that most of the electrons are stopped by collisions with air molecules before the electron can complete one full circle of its spiral around the Earth’s magnetic field lines.2

This interaction of the very rapidly moving negatively charged electrons with the magnetic field radiates a pulse of electromagnetic energy.   The pulse typically rises to its peak value in about 5 nanoseconds.   The magnitude of this pulse typically decays to half of its peak value within 200 nanoseconds.   (By the IEC definition, this E1 pulse is ended at one microsecond (1000 nanoseconds) after it begins.)   This process occurs simultaneously with about 1025 other electrons.2

There are a number of secondary collisions which cause the subsequent electrons to lose energy before they reach ground level.   The electrons generated by these subsequent collisions have such reduced energy that they do not contribute significantly to the E1 pulse.2

These 2 MEV gamma rays will normally produce an E1 pulse near ground level at moderately high latitudes that peaks at about 50,000 volts per meter.   This is a peak power density of 6.6 megawatts per square meter.

The process of the gamma rays knocking electrons out of the atoms in the mid-stratosphere causes this region of the atmosphere to become an electrical conductor due to ionization, a process which blocks the production of further electromagnetic signals and causes the field strength to saturate at about 50,000 volts per meter.   The strength of the E1 pulse depends upon the number and intensity of the gamma rays produced by the weapon and upon the rapidity of the gamma ray burst from the weapon.   The strength of the E1 pulse is also somewhat dependent upon the altitude of the detonation.

There are many reports of super-EMP nuclear weapons that are able to overcome the 50,000 volt per meter limit by the very nearly instantaneous release of a burst of gamma radiation of much higher energy levels than are known to be produced by second generation nuclear weapons.   The construction details of these weapons are classified, and therefore cannot be confirmed by scientists in the open scientific literature.3

E2

The E2 component is generated by scattered gamma rays and inelastic gammas produced by weapon neutrons.   This E2 component is an “intermediate time” pulse that, by the IEC definition, lasts from about one microsecond to one second after the beginning of the electromagnetic pulse.   The E2 component of the pulse has many similarities to the electromagnetic pulses produced by lightning, although the electromagnetic pulse induced by a very close lightning strike may be considerably larger than the E2 component of a nuclear EMP.   Because of the similarities to lightning-caused pulses and the widespread use of lightning protection technology, the E2 pulse is generally considered to be the easiest to protect against.

According to the United States EMP Commission, the main potential problem with the E2 component is the fact that it immediately follows the E1 component, which may have damaged the devices that would normally protect against E2.

According to the EMP Commission Executive Report of 2004, “In general, it would not be an issue for critical infrastructure systems since they have existing protective measures for defense against occasional lightning strikes.  The most significant risk is synergistic, because the E2 component follows a small fraction of a second after the first component’s insult, which has the ability to impair or destroy many protective and control features.  The energy associated with the second component thus may be allowed to pass into and damage systems.”3

E3

The E3 component is very different from the other two major components of nuclear EMP.   The E3 component of the pulse is a very slow pulse, lasting tens to hundreds of seconds, that is caused by the nuclear detonation heaving the Earth’s magnetic field out of the way, followed by the restoration of the magnetic field to its natural place.   The E3 component has similarities to a geomagnetic storm caused by a very severe solar coronal mass ejection (CME).4, 5, 6    Like a geomagnetic storm, E3 can produce geomagnetically induced currents in long electrical conductors, which can then damage or destroy components such as power line transformers.5  These currents are often called quasi-DC currents because they resemble the direct current from a battery more than what most people think of as a pulse.  Nearly all of the damage from E3 in modern systems occurs to the AC power grid, which is generally not designed to handle direct currents, especially in critical devices such as power transformers.

Because of the similarity between solar-induced geomagnetic storms and nuclear E3, it has become common to refer to solar-induced geomagnetic storms as “solar EMP.”   At ground level, however, “solar EMP” is NOT known to produce an E1 or E2 component.  The phrase “solar EMP” has caused a huge amount of confusion in the general public.

1.  Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) — Part 2: Environment — Section 9: Description of HEMP environment — Radiated disturbance.  Basic EMC publication, IEC 61000-2-9

2.  Longmire, Conrad L.  Justification and Verification of High-Altitude EMP Theory, Part 1   LLNL-9323905, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. June 1986.

3.  Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.  Volume 1. Executive Report. 2004. Page 6.

4.  High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP): A Threat to Our Way of Life, 09.07, By William A. Radasky, Ph.D., P.E. – IEEE.

5.  Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.

6.  Meta-R-321:  The Late-Time (E3) High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and Its Impact on the U.S. Power Grid  by James Gilbert, John Kappenman, William Radasky and Edward SavageBack to the Index of Futurescience EMP pages.

Original post can be found http://www.futurescience.com/emp/E1-E2-E3.html

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The U.S. is funding dangerous experiments it doesn’t want you to know about

lab

By Marc Lipsitch and Tom Inglesby February 27 at 6:50 PM

Marc Lipsitch is a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Tom Inglesby is director of the Center for Health Security and an environmental health and engineering professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In 2014, U.S. officials imposed a moratorium on experiments to enhance some of the world’s most lethal viruses by making them transmissible by air, responding to widespread concerns that a lab accident could spark a global pandemic. Most infectious-disease studies pose modest safety risks, but given that these proposed experiments intended to create a highly contagious flu virus that could spread among humans, the government concluded the work should not go on until it could be approved through a specially created, rigorous review process that considered the dangers.

Apparently, the government has decided the research should now move ahead. In the past year, the U.S. government quietly greenlighted funding for two groups of researchers, one in the United States and the other in the Netherlands, to conduct transmission-enhancing experiments on the bird flu virus as they were originally proposed before the moratorium. Amazingly, despite the potential public-health consequences of such work, neither the approval nor the deliberations or judgments that supported it were announced publicly. The government confirmed them only when a reporter learned about them through non-official channels.

This lack of transparency is unacceptable. Making decisions to approve potentially dangerous research in secret betrays the government’s responsibility to inform and involve the public when approving endeavors, whether scientific or otherwise, that could put health and lives at risk.

We are two of the hundreds of researchers, medical and public-health professionals, and others who publicly opposed these experiments when they were first announced. In response to these concerns, the government issued a framework in 2017 for special review of “enhanced” pathogens that could become capable of causing a pandemic. Under that framework, reviewers must consider the purported benefits and the potential risks and, before approving the work, determine “that the potential risks as compared to the potential benefits to society are justified.”

The framework also requires that experts in public-health preparedness and response, biosafety, ethics and law, among others, evaluate the work, but it is unclear from the public record if that happened. No description of who reviewed these proposals has been provided. It is not stated what evidence was considered, how competing claims were evaluated or whether there were potential conflicts of interest.

This secrecy means we don’t know how these requirements were applied, if at all, to the experiments now funded by the government. A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Human Services told Science magazine that the agency cannot make the reviews public because doing so might reveal proprietary information about the applicants’ plans that could help their competitors. This bureaucratic logic implies that it is more important to maintain the trade secrets of a few prominent scientists than to let citizens — who bear the risk if an accident happens and who fund their work — scrutinize the decisions of public officials about whether these studies are worth the risk.

As researchers, we understand the usual logic for keeping scientific grant reviews confidential. But this is not ordinary science. The overwhelming majority of scientific studies are safe; even the worst imaginable accident, such as an infection of a lab worker or an explosion, is unlikely and would harm only a handful of people. But creating potentially pandemic pathogens creates a risk — albeit a small one — of infecting millions of people with a highly dangerous virus. For this kind of research, there is no justification for keeping risk-benefit deliberations secret.

Waiving confidentiality when lives are at stake is a standard practice. Health-care providers must report if their patients present an imminent threat to themselves or others, and drugmakers must disclose many facts about their products before approval in service of protecting public health and safety.

We have serious doubts about whether these experiments should be conducted at all. We also suspect that few members of the public would find compelling the rationale that the best way to fight the flu is to create the most contagious, lethal virus possible in a lab. But with deliberations kept behind closed doors, none of us will have the opportunity to understand how the government arrived at these decisions or to judge the rigor and integrity of that process.

Ultimately, public awareness is not enough. The debate in the United States over the past five years took place mainly among a small group of scientists and made only token efforts to inform or engage the wider citizenry. We need public discussion and debate about the risks and benefits of these kinds of experiments. And because viruses do not respect borders, the conversation must move beyond the national level, to coordinate the regulation of dangerous science internationally.

At stake here is the credibility of science, which depends on public support to continue. Science is a powerful driver of human health, well-being and prosperity, and nearly all of it can be done without putting populations at risk. If governments want to fund exceptionally risky science, they should do so openly and in a way that promotes public awareness and engagement.

Original Article Found Here

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Would You Help A Neighbor After An Emergency?

Would You Help A Stranger After An Emergency?

By Rich Gilbreath SHTFandGO February 7th, 2019 (Free License to share with link back to original article)

Reality

We all know people that do not prepare, save, or stock up on water, food, and supplies. One thing certain after an emergency event, there will be people without provisions, or people that have lost their supplies to flooding, fire, etc. If you live in an urban area or highly populated community, you will undoubtedly run into those in need. The question you will be forced to consider, “Do you Help?” If you are one of the prepared and have a surplus of supplies, will you give aid, food, and water to those around you in need? There’s a good argument to make for either decision. Let’s analyze the benefits of helping your fellow man and the detriments and exposure to harm you may be accepting.

Helping Others

Anyone that has received help from a stranger in a minor situation, as in a disabled car, dead battery, or a flat tire, definitely feels the immense power of good will, and a feeling of indebted gratitude. Now multiply this exponentially, when a major disaster, catastrophe, or emergency situation is forced upon the public, and people are placed in a hopeless situation. Anyone in distress will be highly emotional with fear, doubt, disbelief, and perhaps anger. These feelings will be compounded if the person in distress has a family or perhaps small children. The saying, “Don’t mess with momma bear”, rings true in humans as well. When you couple a high stress situation, with a family’s fear for their children, people will make rash decisions in the attempt to protect family. This in turn can and will put your family in danger, if this happens. I personally have been on the side of receiving help and is one reason why I prepare for emergency. I do not want to repeat that scenario if at all possible, be it even the most prepared can find themselves in dire straits.

Individual possibilities are endless but here are a few as an exercise in thought.

  1. A person or family graciously accepts your help calm and orderly.
  2. A person or family accepts your help, is gracious, scared and overwhelming offers to repay you and attempts to help with any work to be performed.
  3. A person or family accepts your help, but seems scared and distant.
  4. A person or family accepts your help, but seems ungrateful or indifferent
  5.  A person or family accepts your help, and begins asking questions about you, your family, and how you’re able to help others.

All the above situations have a different dynamic, but every possibility would require situational awareness and some much more than others.

Let’s break each one down to help understand the underlying issues.

  1. A person that is very calm and orderly, seems benign on the surface, but one should be aware and understand that, in an emergency people are scared and unsure. If a person had just witnessed a life changing event, they will be rattled, and understandably so. I would pay close attention to someone that accepted help, and had very little emotion. This could be a result of shock, but nevertheless, be aware.
  2. A person that accepts your help but is emotionally upset is a normal reaction. A person that receives help and thanks you and offers to help out anyway they can, is on the surface a more trustworthy person. This doesn’t dismiss the fact that you don’t know this person, or their family, so still keep aware, but your alarm bells are not ringing.
  3. A person that accepts your help, is scared and distant or quiet may just simply be in shock, and unable to function properly. This person may need more attention to help calm down, and would recommend having someone stay with this person and understand that people that are scared, can flip out. I would help out this person to the best of my ability, but I would not allow this person near any sensitive property, or I would not share any information about how well you are equipped.
  4. and 5. These two situations, would immediately raise all red flags. I can understand people being in shock or in disbelief, but if someone showed the slightest indifference to even ungratefulness, they would be removed immediately. I would still help the person asking questions, because people are curious, but after aid had been given, they would be asked to go. If questions were asked after a longer period of time with this person or people, but they seemed helpful and very gracious, I would just accept they may be curious, but I would have to make a judgement call at that time, and assess the personality and situation.

Practice a high level of Situational awareness regardless of the encounter.

Obviously, these examples above are just some of the possibilities. Be aware that in helping others, you are assuming and putting your family at some level of risk. This should be evaluated on an individual basis, and yet, we should never lose the fact we are humans, and humanitarian efforts should be made to help others in need. That doesn’t mean you have to do it with blind faith. While humanitarian efforts will be rewarded most times, human atrocities have and always will exist. It is good to help your fellow man, but just as you have prepared for you and your family, prepare to make hard decisions to protect them as well. This exercise, doesn’t mean you will help others, but it at least get you preparing and thinking about this kind of decision, before it is thrust upon you and you have to make a decision quickly.

What to Give

We have seen after natural disasters, people in general are willing to go to great lengths to help others. Helping others after an emergency seems like a noble endeavor. You have to ask yourself, wouldn’t you want someone to help you if you were in distress. What to do, and how to react are not always clear. Some things you will need to focus on are possible length of the emergency, how much provisions you have available, and whether or not you have supplies to spare.

How to make an evaluation:

  1. Person or persons requesting help appear to be in actual need.
  2. Person or persons are injured.
  3. Person or persons needing help are willing to trade provisions. example (clean water for food)
  4. Provisions person or persons are asking for will put myself or family in need.
  5. Person or persons requesting aid may want more than I’m willing to give in an unknown duration of emergency.
  6. By helping others, I will be showing my provision status and possibly undulley putting my family at risk of theft or attack.
  7. By helping some people, I will be inviting others to request help which could deplete my provisions.
  8. Violence and civil unrest has broken out threatening myself and family well being.

There is plenty of good reasons to help others in distress. There are also very good reason, not to help. You and your family will need to make a decision on each situation your presented with at the time. Just think about different options you have, and what level you may be willing to contribute. There is no right or wrong answer. There is just your answer. Sometimes when choosing to help others, your emotions may be at a high level, especially if the decision to help includes young children.

Protection

If you decide to help others or not, you need to protect your family. Using your awareness of the situation, you will need to decide ahead of any conflict, whether you are willing and to what extent you will defend your provisions and family. The extent of emergency will be a factor. For example, a destructive tornado, being a localized event, will have emergency support people helping after the disaster has passed. Where as, a national or world disaster, may not ever have emergency professionals coming. These factors will greatly change the way you think about helping others.

Some things to think about in preparation.

  1. Do not show others your provisions, how much you have, where they are exactly, and how much protective devices you possess.Plan to have extra. This can be used to help others, or to barter with.
  2. Make a plan for emergency. Share with family members where things are, and how to access them.
  3. Set protection areas and how to secure your property.
  4. Make decisions ahead of an emergency.

In Closing

Whatever you decide and how you react in an emergency situation, you will need to live with your decisions. Deciding to help others or use deadly force during a disaster, doesn’t automatically exonerate you from responsibility or allows you a clear conscience. If you and your family are threatened use like force in response. If you decide to help others, realize you may be on the receiving end of help at some point in the future. Be kind, Be good, and Good Happens to You. Live by this and you will be fine.

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Microplastic contamination found in common source of groundwater, researchers report

JAN 25, 2019 6:30 AMBY   LOIS YOKSOULIAN  | PHYSICAL SCIENCES EDITOR  | 217-244-2788

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Microplastics contaminate the world’s surface waters, yet scientists have only just begun to explore their presence in groundwater systems. A new study is the first to report microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers – a groundwater source that accounts for 25 percent of the global drinking water supply.The study identified microplastic fibers, along with a variety of medicines and household contaminants, in two aquifer systems in Illinois. The findings are published in the journal Groundwater.“Plastic in the environment breaks down into microscopic particles that can end up in the guts and gills of marine life, exposing the animals to chemicals in the plastic,” said John Scott, a researcher at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and study co-author. “As the plastics break down, they act like sponges that soak up contaminants and microbes and can ultimately work their way into our food supply.”Groundwater flows through the cracks and voids in limestone, sometimes carrying sewage and runoff from roads, landfills and agricultural areas into the aquifers below, Scott said.The researchers collected 17 groundwater samples from wells and springs – 11 from a highly fractured limestone aquifer near the St. Louis metropolitan area and six from an aquifer containing much smaller fractures in rural northwestern Illinois.All but one of the 17 samples contained microplastic particles, with a maximum concentration of 15.2 particles per liter from a spring in the St. Louis area, the study reports. However, deciphering what that concentration means is a challenge, Scott said. There are no published risk assessment studies or regulations.

The researchers did find, however, that concentrations from their field areas are comparable to those of surface water concentrations found in the rivers and streams in the Chicago area, said Samuel V. Panno, an Illinois State Geological Survey researcher and lead author of the study.

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EPA Not Limiting 2 Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water

epa Water Unsafe

The EPA will not set a drinking water limit for two toxic chemicals that are contaminating millions of Americans’ tap water.

The expected move is yet another sign of the administration’s reluctance to aggressively deal with the chemicals, which have been used for decades in products such as Teflon-coated cookware and military firefighting foam and are present in the bloodstreams of an estimated 98 percent of Americans. And it comes less than a year after the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency faced criticism for delaying publication of a health study on the chemicals, which a White House aide had warned could trigger a “public relations nightmare.” EPA’s decision means the chemicals will remain unregulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act,according to sources familiar with a still-unreleased draft plan that acting administrator Andrew Wheeler signed off on in late December. That means utilities will face no federal requirements for testing for and removing the chemicals from drinking water supplies, although several states have pursued or are pursuing their own limits. Both Republicans and Democrats have pressed EPA to do more to keep the chemicals out of drinking water and raised alarms about past political interference from the administration

The chemicals, known as PFOA and PFOS, have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, hypertension and other ailments. Major chemical companies like 3M as well as the Defense Department would face billions of dollars in liability from aggressive efforts to regulate and clean up the chemical, which has contaminated groundwater near hundreds of military bases and chemical plants.

While EPA has decided against a drinking water limit, the draft chemical plan includes a decision to list those two chemicals as hazardous under the Superfund law, according to the two sources, a move would help force polluters to pay for cleanup.

EPA issued a voluntary health advisory for PFOA and PFOS in 2016, recommending a lifetime limit in drinking water of 70 parts per trillion for both chemicals. A handful of states have established their own drinking water limits, some of which are significantly stricter than the EPA guidance. But other states have lacked the scientific expertise to act on their own, and have struggled to explain to their residents why their limits differ from those in neighboring states. Public health advocates say these are reasons a federal drinking water standard is necessary.

The Trump administration has generally pushed to have states take the lead in environmental regulations, and has taken some steps that suggested it may prefer that approach to setting a federal drinking water limit. For instance, officials at EPA opted to release only toxicity information for two other chemicals in the same class, called GenX and PFBS, and left it to the states to use that information to decide what a safe limit is.

A number of the political appointees at EPA come from industry backgrounds, including the No. 2 political official in the chemical safety office, who previously worked for the chemical industry’s main lobbying group. The No. 2 official in the agency’s Office of Research and Development came to the agency last fall from Koch Industries.

Industry groups, including the American Chemistry Council, have backed the Trump administration’s work on the class of chemicals, expecting that it will be as industry-friendly as they can hope for.

The Trump administration’s approach to PFOA and PFOS has also been shaped by the Defense Department, which faces potentially massive liability for the hundreds of contaminated sites it owns around the country.

Internal emails show that Pentagon officials last year raised alarm with the White House over a draft study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found the chemicals cause harm at far lower levels than EPA had said were safe.

Source: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/28/epa-toxic-chemicals-drinking-water-1124797