Aquabox: Rapid Response for Safe Drinking Water

AquaboxImagine creating a plastic box that would serve a multifunctional purpose for disaster victims. Aquabox, a charitable company registered in England, provides boxes for water purification to dispatch to areas where severe disasters strike. The aftermath of a disaster can leave victims in desperate need of core necessities like food, water and shelter. One of the most urgent challenges for disaster relief agencies is getting fresh, clean drinking water to those victims. Sometimes polluted water is the only source of water. Waterborne contaminants can rapidly cause epidemics such as typhoid and cholera. Many of the outbreaks of disease and infection that result from drinking polluted water could often lead to dehydration and diarrhea, particularly striking the very young.

Aquabox is a robust plastic tank packed with water purification tablets and essential welfare items for a disaster situation. Once the welfare contents have been removed, each Aquabox can be used to purify up to 1100 liters of polluted water, making it safe and pleasant to drink. For example, 1100 liters is equal to 5,000 cups. This is enough safe drinking water for a family of four to consume 10 cups of water per day, for about four months.

This survival box is filled with welfare items such as warm clothing, kitchen utensils, hygiene items and other general hardware. The actual contents depend on the individual or organization that donated and filled the box. By the millennium, Aquabox provided more than 20,000 boxes covering over 30 countries. During the past several years, many aid agencies received and monitored boxes such as Children’s Aid Direct, Feed the Children, Christian African Relief Trust, Containers of Hope and Nottingham Police Aid Convoys.

Clean drinking water can mean the difference between life and death. In the wake of mammoth disasters, natural and manmade, Aquabox is dispatched to areas in dire need of safe drinking water. Under the provisions of their charitable status, Aquabox seeks a donation in return for the box rather than making an outright sale. Aquabox can play a vital part in minimizing the after effects of a disaster.

 

Dandruff Improves Indoor Air Pollution

household dustHumans shed their entire layer of skin every 2-4 weeks. Skin flakes contain skin oils – cholesterol and “squalene” – which are major components of household dust. Recent research shows that dust, though often a nuisance and the source of allergies and respiratory problems, may actually be beneficial at reducing indoor air pollution.

It sounds contradictory, but it’s true. Squalene actually reduces ozone levels from 2 to 15 percent.

So… to dust, or not to dust? That is the question. Previous research shows the mere presence of humans in a room can reduce ozone levels. Ozone is a major component of smog, and exposure to it may increase one’s risk of lung irritation, asthma, heart attacks and death. The removal of ozone from indoor spaces seems to be a good thing. However, other studies show that the reaction between skin flakes and squalene produces byproducts which are known to be lung irritants and may be just as or even more harmful to your health.

Until more research is done, we are going to recommend dusting and using an air purifier to remove dust and other allergens from your indoor spaces. Just make sure the air purifier does not emit ozone.

From dust we came, and to dust we shall return…

 

Refrigerators Add New Features to Keep Food Fresh Longer

produce crisper drawerConsumer Reports recently stated that refrigerator manufacturers, including GE, LG and Whirlpool, are adding new technological features that will help keep your food fresh longer. If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, this may be something worth considering before you buy. Here are some highlights of the new features being added:

Whirlpool’s Freshflow Produce Preserver

This technology will be in select models, starting this year, and consists of ethylene absorption packets located in crisper drawers. These packets contain potassium permanganate, which neutralizes ethylene – a naturally occurring, odorless, harmless, tasteless gas, given off by fruits and veggies, causing them to ripen more quickly. Whirlpool claims that FreshFlow will make your produce last 25 percent longer, but the packets must be changed every six months.

GE ClimateKeeper Dual Evaporator System

As the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” The same goes for evaporators in your refrigerator. Older fridge models have one evaporator in the freezer, so that all of the cold air for the fresh food section in the refrigerator comes from the freezer. This causes the airflow from the fresh food section to mix with the air in the freezer. If you notice that your ice cubes taste like onion or broccoli, this may very well be why. (That, or you need to change your fridge filter.) With a dual evaporator system like GE’s ClimateKeeper, there are two evaporators, rather than one, so that the fresh food section and the freezer cool independently from one another. The humidity inside your fresh food drawers is also significantly higher, allowing fresh produce and unsealed foods to retain moisture and stay fresh longer.

Bosch VitaFresh Technology

With Bosch’s VitaFresh system, a high-tech lining inside your fresh food drawers works with climate sensors to maintain ideal temperature, humidity and air circulation, so that your food stays fresher longer. Bosch also claims that this technology also preserves vitamins and nutrients.

Viking’s Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier

Similar to room air purifiers for the home, a Plasmacluster Ion air purifier inside your refrigerator helps eliminate odors associated with airborne pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, mold and fungi, helping your food to stay fresher, longer.

LG Push ‘N Seal Crisper Drawer

This drawer uses a vacuum to seal your produce inside, apparently keeping it crisp and fresh for longer.

Despite freshness claims from various refrigerator manufacturers, Consumer Reports recommends that you first look for a fridge that has excellent temperature performance. You can keep your produce fresh through proper food storage, eliminating the need for advanced refrigeration technology. And, of course, remember to replace your refrigerator water filter every six months.