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  • Lorelle VanFossen 11:46 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anthropology, common read project, , , health, journalism, , , sociology, student site, wordless wednesday, , writing assignments   

    Reminder: Wordless Wednesdays Ideal for Writing Assignments 

    Calling all English, journalism, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, health, medical, science departments and others looking to include Garbology in your curriculum, check out the Garbology Common Read site for students and teachers, specifically the Wordless Wednesday category.

    Each Wednesday, an image is presented encouraging students to comment. The comment may be just a comment, an idea, concept, poem, or a written or visual assignment inspired by the image.

    The images come from a variety of courses and resources covering garbage collection, recycling, e-waste, specific types of garbage, people living and working in garbage, and the science and history of garbage management, studies, and collection.

    If you would like to suggest an image for usage on the Common Read site for Wordless Wednesday, please let us know so we may include it in this ongoing series.

    If you choose to use an image for an assignment, we would love to know that as well to help us manage comments on that site.

  • Lorelle VanFossen 6:51 am on October 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bio-waste, ebola, ebola waste, , , , , , , hazardous materials, health, health and safety, images, india, medical waste, , , photographs, , ,   

    October 28, 2014: Garbology News 

    Ebola: The story of the spread of ebola shines a light on the issue of medical waste management. A viral video of a New York Police Office tossing away gloves in a public trash can made the rounds bringing shame and ridicule on police and caregivers even after it was found that the police officer had no contact with patient. News agencies are now questioning how medical waste is handled and how the public is protected from Ebola-associated waste.

    In Texas, a judge blocked disposal of the Ebola victim’s belongings in Louisiana where “six truckloads” were in planned to be transported from Dallas, Texas, across state lines. The State Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell, said he was concerned that the ashes from the Ebola patient could pose a danger to Louisiana’s population.

    The Insurance Journal reported that Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the first treating Ebola patients in the US, was caught off-guard when the company handling their waste refused to touch the Ebola-related waste.

    Ebola symptoms can include copious amounts of vomiting and diarrhea, and nurses and doctors at Emory donned full hazmat suits to protect themselves. Bags of waste quickly began to pile up.

    “At its peak, we were up to 40 bags a day of medical waste, which took a huge tax on our waste management system,” Emory’s Dr. Aneesh Mehta told colleagues at a medical meeting earlier this month.

    Emory sent staff to Home Depot to buy as many 32-gallon rubber waste containers with lids that they could get their hands on. Emory kept the waste in a special containment area for six days until its Atlanta neighbor, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helped broker an agreement with Stericycle.

    While U.S. hospitals may be prepared clinically to care for a patient with Ebola, Emory’s experience shows that logistically they are far from ready, biosafety experts said.

    Ebola waste disposal became a hot topic in the US House of Representatives last week. In that article, they offered the following statistics:

    Hospitals ultimately dispose of about 7,000 tons of waste each day, and across the industry spend nearly $10 billion annually to dispose of it.

    According to reports to the Washington Post, bed linens, carpet, and other soiled items must be burned in a high-temperature incinerator at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy the virus.

    Here is more news about bio-waste issues related to Ebola.

    Marysville Anti-Garbage Can Resident Followup: An article in the North County Outlook reports on the legality of the city to force a Marysville woman to use and pay for unwanted garbage and recycling services, with the city citing they have the right to require all residents to pay for such services as it is a health and safety concern. (More …)

  • Lorelle VanFossen 3:54 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cancer, , , health, , , plastics industry, vinyl   

    Blue Vinyl: Documentary 

    Blue Vinyl is a documentary on the hazards of bio-accumulation, pollution, and the impact of plastic thought to be benign. Directed by Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand. The documentary film won the prize for documentary cinematography at Sundance in 2002.

    Judith Helfand’s parents put blue vinyl siding on her house but she suspects there is more to the siding than meets the eye – and health. A victim of DES poisoning, she has a hysterectomy, triggering her investigation tinto the negative health effects of PVC, its use, and disposal, as well as interviews with cancer victims living and working near vinyl and PVC factories. While the subject is dark, the filmmakers make this a fun and hilarious journey.

    The official site of the documentary is offline, but Wikipedia has information on the film, as does Top Documentary Films, and is available for viewing on the premium Docurama Films on YouTube ($2.98 a month).

    • Sally Keely 7:15 am on October 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      As a DES-daughter myself (exposed to DES in-utero), and a long-term Board Member and volunteer for DES Action U.S.A. (desaction.org), the non-profit organization dedicated to DES (diethylstilbestrol) exposed persons, I know Judith Helfand personally and am well familiar with her films. Blue Vinyl is a better produced film than her first, a Healthy Baby Girl. DES is a synthetic estrogen (see timeline), its chemical make-up is close to DDT, and DES is an environmental disrupter, as are some of the chemicals in the vinyl home siding exposed in Blue Vinyl. Not a “big” film, but worth viewing.

      • Lorelle VanFossen 9:45 am on October 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Great advice and insights. Thank you.

        Is there more you can add to this issue? Not everyone may have access to the film, and it would help all of us to better understand how DES happens, where it comes from, and what we can do to change the world regarding this. I think of so many children exposed…but we are educators. How can we learn from your experience to teach our own?

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