Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Killer Kitchens

We've probably all heard that the kitchen and bathroom are the most dangerous rooms in the house.
And we've all also likely heard that the greatest return on investment in a remodel comes from remodeling these ever so dangerous rooms.
Now consider that before the crash when money was cheap and plentiful, lenders were unscrupulous, and refi's ubiquitous, a lot of folks either went for high end materials in their new home kitchen or a remodel.

Enter the granite countertop.

It has come for your soul.

I'm years behind on this one. How could I not have heard?
Some granite countertops emit RADON, a radioactive gas.
Radon is listed as the second leading cause of lung cancer following cigarette smoking.

I previously only thought of radon as seeping into the home through the ground, collecting in the basement.

Not all granite will emit the gas and not all emitting granite will emit concerning amounts.
Whatever a concerning amount may be to you. There is no safe level of radon.
4 picocuries of radon per liter of air is the "Yes, we have a problem here level", according to EPA.

Testing kits can be purchased for under $50.
Abatement cost if the levels concern you?

Maybe you should have kept the harvest yellow formica.


Just happened upon these factoids.

 The US Capitol Building in Washington DC:
                                                 Ship of Fools and you get to pick the crew!
"This building is so radioactive, due to the high uranium content in its granite walls, it could never be licensed as a nuclear power reactor site."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

FDA Watchlist Drug Two: Antibiotic

The second watch-listed medication that caught my attention are fluoroquinolones.
These are broad-spectrum antibiotics.
They are sold under brand names such as Cipro, Levaquin, and Floxin.

The current concern is over retinal detachment.
But that isn't the only eye-related secondary effect of the antibiotic.
Dim vision, double vision, cataracts, flashing lights, floaters.
Reversible blindness and irreversible blindness.
The laundry list of unwanted effects covers multiple body systems and is, indeed, long.

One interesting unwanted effect of flouroquinolone use is spontaneous tendon rupture.
Ruptures occurred hours to months after initiating treatment.
That must come as a shocking surprise. Especially when you are told (if you are told) that your antibiotic is to blame.

Four drugs within this class have been removed because of "unacceptably" high adverse reactions.

There have been class action suits.
There are consumer protection groups targeting these drugs.
What a nasty little mess they are.

I stand on the same position with fluoroquinolones as with other antibiotics.
Great tool for infection suppression/eradication. Great gift to mankind.
Misused, overused, and abused.

Traveling the Chilean countryside I asked my driver to stop at a pharmacia. The bad air in Santiago had taken its toll on me following the bad air on the Lan Chile flight from Kennedy.
I wanted a decongestant.
The pharmacist asked if I wanted an antibiotic as well.
No exam. Not even a single question about symptoms.
It was the common cold.
Any of 200+ strains of viruses.

And so our war on infection continues.
With us wasting our greatest weapons through sloth and ignorance.

Update:  Probiotic versus bowel infection.
It was just this kind of research some years ago that turned me toward interest in gut health.
One month reports came out about 14 deaths in UK hospitals from Clostridium infection-- later found to have been introduced by nurses dirty fingernails.
The next month several internists at a US hospital co-authored a paper on probiotics preventing Clostridium infection in a hospital setting.

The disconnect used to infuriate me.
Now I see it as sad/pathetic.