Category Archives: Health

West Nile Virus Detected In NYC Mosquitoes


Yeshiva World, July 15th, 2014

FULL TEXT:

For the first time this season, the Health Department has detected West Nile virus in New York City mosquitoes. The infected mosquitoes were collected from the Douglaston and College Point neighborhoods in Queens and Old Town from Staten Island. No human cases have been reported this season. The Health Department will increase mosquito surveillance by setting up additional traps and treating catch basins in the affected areas. The Health Department will continue its efforts to kill mosquito larvae before they can bite by applying larvicide in the city’s catch basins, marshland, and areas with standing water.

“Now that West Nile virus has returned to New York City, it is important to take simple precautions to protect you and your family,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “During warm weather, mosquitoes can breed in any still water that stands for more than four days, so the most effective way to control mosquitoes is to eliminate standing water. New Yorkers are also encouraged to mosquito-proof their homes, wear mosquito repellent and cover their arms and legs if they’re outside at dawn or dusk. New Yorkers over 50 should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus.”

Not everyone infected with West Nile virus will become ill. However, West Nile virus can cause serious complications, including neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness with headache, fever and fatigue, weakness and sometimes rash. If you think you have symptoms of West Nile virus, see your doctor right away.

In addition, the Health Department will apply larvicide by helicopter to marsh and other non-residential areas of Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens on Thursday, July 17, Friday, July 18 and Monday, July 21, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. weather permitting. In case of bad weather, application will be delayed untilFriday, July 18, Monday, July 21 and Tuesday, July 22 during the same hours. While three days are allotted for this activity, the application may be completed in less time.

The areas to be treated appear below. These are marshy, natural areas, which are common breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Due to their size and inaccessibility by ground vehicles, these areas will be treated with larvicide from a low-flying helicopter.

VectoBac™ CG, VectoMax™ CG/FG and/or VectoLex™ CG/FG – all containing naturally occurring bacteria – will be used for this application. These larvicides are used throughout the mosquito season to treat mosquito-breeding sites. These products are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes

  • Use an approved insect repellent containing picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
  • Make sure windows have screens and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
  • Eliminate any standing water from your property and dispose of containers that can collect water. Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code.
  • Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty or covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.
  • Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/health/wnv.
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MARKETING News from the New York Times


City of Yonkers Green Policy Task Force

“All the Green News That’s Fit to Print”

June 15, 2014

The City of Yonkers Green Policy Task Force, established on Earth Day in 2007, is comprised of seven community volunteers, each appointed by a City Council member, and a representative selected by the city administration. Its members compile research on and submit potential legislative initiatives to the City Council; work on environmental quality-of-life improvements for the Yonkers community; apply for and administer environmental grants; define public health issues for the city; and foster educational outreach for Yonkers students and the community-at-large.

GPTF June Meeting: Wednesday, June 18, 6:30 pm
Fourth Floor Conference Room, City Hall.
Agenda: Sustainable Landscapes Report: Molly Roffman
Reuseable Bag Report: Bob Walters
Discussion: Hastings Ordinance re: Plastic Bags and Polystyrene
Brad and Terry: Urban Green Council Walking Tour of Yonkers planning
Any other items that come before the GPTF

Notes From the Plasticene Epoch

from the New York Times Editorial Page, June 15, 2014

From Ocean to Beach, Tons of Plastic Pollution

Like diamonds, plastics are forever. The tons dumped into the ocean float around, swirling on currents, breaking into smaller bits, never going away. Scientists have identified huge gyres of plastic in the Pacific. There is an Eastern Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California; a Western Garbage Patch, off Japan, and a patch between them called the Subtropical Convergence Zone, north of Hawaii.

The patches are misunderstood to be visible islands of debris; you can’t actually see them from a boat or plane. They are more like vast, soupy concentrations of flotsam, some of it large, some tiny, all indigestible, sickening and killing fish, birds, whales and turtles.

What you can see is what washes ashore, as countless tons of plastic do on the Hawaiian Islands, which stick up like the teeth of a comb in the middle of the northern Pacific, snagging what drifts by.

On the southern tip of the Big Island of Hawaii, deep ocean currents rub against the remote and rocky shoreline. Volunteers regularly make a long, hot trip to clean the beaches, hauling away fishing nets, lines and traps, toys, shoes, buckets and bottles. Some of the fishing debris is shipped to a Honolulu power plant and incinerated. Some is left on the beach, and more always appears.

The Hawaii Wildlife Fund, which organizes the cleanups, estimates that they have removed about 169 tons of garbage in the last 11 years from a 10-mile stretch of Hawaii Island alone, and that about 15 tons to 20 tons of new trash comes ashore each year.

On May 24, two dozen people went out again.

They collected 1,312 pounds of trash, including:

  • 191,739 plastic fragments
  • 562 bottle or container caps
  • 93 toothbrushes
  • 64 beverage bottles
  • 48 hagfish traps
  • 35 buoys and floats
  • 3 refrigerator doors
  • 3 G.I. Joe Real American Hero toys

On a nearby beach at Kamilo Point, geologists have identified a new kind of plastic-infused rock, in areas where the plastic is so abundant in the sand and soil you can’t avoid burning it in campfires.

A paper published this month by the Geological Society of America suggests that “plastiglomerate” will someday be part of the fossil record, marking the geological era that some call the Anthropocene, for the human influence.

On Monday in Washington, the State Department will be holding an ocean conference. The topics are ocean acidification, sustainable fishing and marine pollution. The nations represented include the Seychelles, St. Lucia, Kiribati, Palau, Chile, Togo, Norway and New Zealand. Significant progress on healing the oceans is not expected.

The next cleanup is July 13 at Kamilo Point. The effort may seem futile, but at least people are doing something, like the volunteers working along shorelines in the Northeast, Texas, the Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes.

World leaders, meanwhile? The nations of an increasingly plasticized planet? They are drifting in circles.

Our Members:
Chairperson: Terry Joshi

City Council President: President Liam McLaughlin with Robert Walters

District 1: Councilmember Christopher Johnson with Clifford Schneider

District 2: Councilmember Corazon Pineda with Nortrud Spero

District 3: Minority Leader Michael Sabatino with Robert Hothan

District 4: Councilmember Dennis Shepherd with Terry Joshi

District 5: Councilmember Mike Breen with Molly Roffman

District 6: Majority Leader John Larkin with Mel Goldstein

Mayor Mike Spano’s Appointee: Brad Tito

 

 


Simple Radon Test Can Protect Your Health


New Yorkers Urged to Test for Radon

Contact: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y. – Jan. 17, 2013)  As part of National Radon Action Month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced steps New Yorkers can take to test and address radon gas. Radon occurs naturally from the decay of uranium in the soil and can accumulate to dangerous levels inside the home. Elevated levels of the colorless, odorless gas are the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. In New York, radon is a problem statewide, in particular, in the Marcellus Shale areas. The EPA is urging people in New York to protect their health by testing their homes.

“Testing for radon is the best way to know if people in your home are at risk from this cancer-causing gas,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “Radon is a problem that can be easily fixed, and I urge all New Yorkers to test their homes. If your home is impacted by radon, it is fairly easy to solve.”

Although testing for radon is easy and inexpensive, only one in five homeowners have actually tested their homes for radon, yet each year over 20,000 people die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon.

Nearly 80 percent of American homes have not been tested for radon, perhaps because radon can’t be seen, smelled or tasted. Radon can build to unhealthy levels, especially during colder months when windows and doors are kept closed. The invisible radioactive gas can seep into homes from underground and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors.

New York residents can obtain a radon test kit for $8.50 from the New York State Department of Health by calling the state’s Radon Program toll-free at 1-800-458-1158 or by visiting the web site at NYS DOH Radon Information. Kits may also be purchased at local hardware stores.

For more information about Radon, please visit: EPA Radon Home Page.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at EPA Region 2 and visit our Facebook page, EPA Region 2.


Lyme Disease Surge Predicted for the Northeastern U.S.


FYI – Garlic, including garlic pills, wards off ticks. It really works.

Subject: Lyme Disease Surge Predicted for the Northeastern U.S.
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2012 13:11:56 -0500
From: WORLD-WIRE@ens-news.net

Lyme Disease Surge Predicted for the Northeastern U.S.

Boom-and-bust acorn crops and a decline in mice leave humans vulnerable to infected ticks

MILLBROOK, NY, March 16, 2012 –/WORLD-WIRE/– The northeastern U.S. should prepare for a surge in Lyme disease this spring. And we can blame fluctuations in acorns and mouse populations, not the mild winter. So reports Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.

What do acorns have to do with illness? Acorn crops vary from year-to-year, with boom-and-bust cycles influencing the winter survival and breeding success of white-footed mice. These small mammals pack a one-two punch: they are preferred hosts for black-legged ticks and they are very effective at transmitting Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

“We had a boom in acorns, followed by a boom in mice. And now, on the heels of one of the smallest acorn crops we’ve ever seen, the mouse population is crashing,” Ostfeld explains. Adding, “This spring, there will be a lot of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected black-legged ticks in our forests looking for a blood meal. And instead of finding a white-footed mouse, they are going to find other mammals—like us.”

For more than two decades, Ostfeld, Cary Institute forest ecologist Dr. Charles D. Canham, and their research team have been investigating connections among acorn abundance, white-footed mice, black-legged ticks, and Lyme disease. In 2010, acorn crops were the heaviest recorded at their Millbrook-based research site. And in 2011, mouse populations followed suit, peaking in the summer months. The scarcity of acorns in the fall of 2011 set up a perfect storm for human Lyme disease risk.

Black-legged ticks take three bloodmeals—as larvae, as nymphs, and as adults. Larval ticks that fed on 2011’s booming mouse population will soon be in need of a nymphal meal. These tiny ticks—as small as poppy seeds—are very effective at transmitting Lyme to people. The last time Ostfeld’s research site experienced a heavy acorn crop (2006) followed by a sparse acorn crop (2007), nymphal black-legged ticks reached a 20-year high.

The May-July nymph season will be dangerous, and Ostfeld urges people to be aware when outdoors. Unlike white-footed mice, who can be infected with Lyme with minimal cost, the disease is debilitating to humans. Left undiagnosed, it can cause chronic fatigue, joint pain, and neurological problems. It is the most prevalent vector-borne illness in the U.S., with the majority of cases occurring in the Northeast.

Ostfeld says that mild winter weather does not cause a rise in tick populations, although it can change tick behavior. Adult ticks, which are slightly larger than a sesame seed, are normally dormant in winter but can seek a host whenever temperatures rise several degrees above freezing. The warm winter of 2011-2012 induced earlier than normal activity. While adult ticks can transmit Lyme, they are responsible for a small fraction of tick-borne disease, with spring-summer nymphs posing more of a human health threat.

Past research by Ostfeld and colleagues has highlighted the role that intact forest habitat and animal diversity play in buffering Lyme disease risks. He is currently working with health departments in impacted areas to educate citizens and physicians about the impending surge in Lyme disease.

For more information and how environmental conditions set the stage for disease risk:

Ostfeld, R. S. 2011. Lyme disease: The ecology of a complex system. Oxford University Press Keesing, F., J. Brunner, S. Duerr, M. Killilea, K. LoGiudice, K. Schmidt, H. Vuong and R. S. Ostfeld. 2009. Hosts as ecological traps for the vector of Lyme disease. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences 276:3911-3916. Ostfeld, R. S., C. D. Canham, K. Oggenfuss, R. J. Winchcombe, and F. Keesing. 2006. Climate, deer, rodents, and acorns as determinants of variation in Lyme-disease risk. PLoS Biology 4(6):e145. Schauber, E. M., R. S. Ostfeld, and A. S. Evans, Jr. 2005. What is the best predictor of annual Lyme disease incidence: Weather, mice, or acorns? Ecol. Appl. 15:575-586

<http://world-wire.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/CARY_LOGO.bmp&gt; The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is a private, not-for-profit environmental research and education organization in Millbrook, N.Y. For more than twenty-five years, Cary Institute scientists have been investigating the complex interactions that govern the natural world. Their objective findings lead to more effective policy decisions and increased environmental literacy. Focal areas include air and water pollution, climate change, invasive species, and the ecological dimensions of infectious disease.

Learn more at www.caryinstitute.org

Need more information? Contact the Cary Institute Communications Office:

Lori Quillen, quillenl@caryinstitute.org;
Pamela Freeman, (845) 677-7600 x121, freemanp@caryinstitute.org

www.caryinstitute.org
Follow the Cary Institute on Facebook and Twitter


Walk now for autism speaks



Family is great


Especially when they share their germs. I just love that, first the sore throat, then the stuffed up head, painful sinuses, then the puking.

Such thoughtful children. I haven’t been to work yet this week. Today I had to go out in the rain to dry my blankets. Now that I can smell, I don’t like the way they smell. I don’t know if they really smell bad or if its just me, but I had to wash them.

Tomorrow back to work. I hope.


I hate


When it’s my day off and I’m sick. I woke up today with a wicked sore throat. Got up and made breakfast, sprinkling a generous amount of very hot red peppers on my eggs. I was feeling worse instead of better after I ate them. Normally the hot peppers make me feel better.

So I went back to bed. Tomorrow for work, I’ll probably feel fine.