Monthly Archives: June 2016

Whe eating barbecue

Did you know that the type of grill you own impacts the way you should care for it?

  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill.
  • Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when cooking food.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
  • Use only outdoors! If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.

Charcoal Grills

  • Purchase the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.

Propane Grills

  • Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles.
  • If you determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or the soapy bubble test and there is no flame:
    • Turn off the propane tank and grill.
    • If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
    • If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPD). OPDs shut off the flow of propane before capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel.
  • Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.

Bathtubs Linked to Worker Deaths

A chemical used to strip bathtubs has been associated with more than a dozen deaths of people working as bathtub refinishers in the United States in the last 12 years, according to a new report.

Methylene chloride is used in industrial processes but is also available in over-the-counter paint- and finish-stripping products. It’s previously been identified as a potential cause of death among furniture strippers and factory workers, according to a news release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 2010, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-funded Michigan Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program investigated the death of a bathtub refinisher in the state who used a methylene chloride-based paint-stripping product marketed for use in aircraft maintenance. Investigators also identified two earlier, similar deaths in Michigan.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration also identified 10 other deaths of bathtub refinishers who used methylene chloride stripping agents that had been investigated between 2000 and 2011 in nine states.

All of the deaths occurred in residential bathrooms with inadequate ventilation. The victims either did not use protective respiratory equipment or the equipment they used did not protect against methylene chloride vapor, according to the report in the Feb. 24 edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the CDC.

Victims ranged in age from 23 to 57 years, and 12 of the 13 were male, the authors of the report noted.

“To use products containing methylene chloride safely, work areas must be well-ventilated, and when levels of methylene chloride exceed recommended exposure limits, workers must use protective equipment,” study co-author Kenneth Rosenman, chief of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the College of Human Medicine, at Michigan State University, said in a university news release. “In a small bathroom, it is unlikely these products can be used safely,” he added.

Ten different products were associated with the deaths, with six marketed for use in the aircraft industry and the others for use on wood, metal, glass and masonry. Bathtub refinishing was not mentioned on any of the product labels.

Methylene chloride concentration in the stripping products ranged from 60 percent to 100 percent.

“The extreme hazards of using products with this chemical in bathtub refinishing need to be clearly communicated to employers, workers and the general public,” Rosenman said. “Safer methods using alternative products should be recommended.”

Trappings Can Fan Fire Risk

The risk of burns increases over the holiday season because people are cooking more, putting up potentially flammable decorations and using fireplaces and candles.

“We see a significant increase in burn patients between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Your holiday, which should be full of joy and celebration, can quickly turn tragic,” Dr. Jeff Guy, director of Vanderbilt Regional Burn Center in Nashville, Tenn., said in a Vanderbilt University news release.

Many of these injuries are easily preventable if people are cautious and eliminate potential dangers that could lead to burns.

Guy outlined a number of ways to prevent burns and have a safe holiday season.

Staying in the kitchen and being attentive while cooking can prevent most cooking fires. Keep pot holders, wooden utensils, towels, food packaging and anything else that can catch fire away from the stovetop.

Use turkey fryers outdoors and keep them a safe distance from the building. Never overfill a fryer with oil and never leave it unattended.

When you buy an artificial Christmas tree, select one with a “fire resistant” label. When buying a real tree, check for freshness. It should be green, the needles should be hard to pull, the trunk should be sticky with resin and the tree shouldn’t lose many needles when it’s hit.

Keep fresh trees away from fireplaces and radiators and keep the tree stand filled with water. A well-watered tree is usually safe but it can take just a few seconds for a dry tree to be ablaze, Guy said.

Check new and old sets of Christmas lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed wires or loose connections, and discard damaged sets. Don’t overload extension cords and never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

Don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace, because it can ignite suddenly and burn intensely. Place candles away from trees and other decorations and in locations where they can’t be knocked over. Never leave candles unattended.

Eating Canned Soup

A new study says that regular consumption of canned soup may be associated with an increase in levels of bisphenol A (BPA), which has been associated with a number of harmful health effects.

The study authors added that the increase may be temporary and more research is needed.

BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical used in the lining of metal food and beverage cans, in polycarbonate bottles, and dentistry composites and sealants. It’s been linked with diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease in humans and has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animals.

The Harvard School of Public Health study included 75 volunteers in two groups. One group ate a 12-ounce serving of vegetarian canned soup each day for five days and the other group ate the same amount of fresh vegetarian soup daily for five days. The groups then switched the type of soup they ate for another five days.

Urine samples showed that daily consumption of canned soup was associated with a more than 1,200 percent increase in BPA, compared to eating fresh soup.

The study appears online Nov. 22 and in the Nov. 23 print issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Previous studies have linked elevated BPA levels with adverse health effects. The next step was to figure out how people are getting exposed to BPA. We’ve known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body. This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use,” lead author Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student in Harvard School of Public Health’s epidemiology department, said in a university news release.

She and her colleagues noted that the elevation in urinary BPA levels may be temporary and said further research is needed to determine how long it lasts.

“The magnitude of the rise in urinary BPA we observed after just one serving of soup was unexpected and may be of concern among individuals who regularly consume foods from cans or drink several canned beverages daily. It may be advisable for manufacturers to consider eliminating BPA from can linings,” senior author Karin Michels, an associate professor in the epidemiology department, said in the news release.