Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day & the Graduation Weekend

Future Environment Designs wishes all of you a Happy Memorial Day as we honor those who served and died for our country.  This Memorial Day weekend we also celebrate our daughter's, Alyssa Rosemary Garcia, graduation from Cornell University with a Baccalaureate of Science degree in Landscape Architecture with a minor in Natural Resources.   Many of you met my daughter during the various stages of her life.  At the beginning stages, she used to attend some of our classes where she heard my presentation so frequently she could actually pass the exams of the various courses we offered.  Later on she created the character "Safety Suzy" that has been a major part of our newsletters and is now the monthly newsletter we send out to our clients.  Just before going away to school she worked in the office transferring my overhead presentations into PowerPoint slides. 

Cropped screenshot of Charlie Chaplin and Paul...
Cropped screenshot of Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard from the film The Great Dictator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  •  Charlie Chaplin is credited with saying "The best thing in life is to go ahead with all your plans and your dreams, to embrace life and to live everyday with passion, to lose and still keep the faith and to win while being grateful.  All of this because the world belongs to those who dare to go after what they want.  And because life is really too short to be insignificant."


This quote is so appropriate for those graduating today.  Do not let anyone tell you can't do your passion.  As the title of one of my favorite books, by Marsha Sinetar, says "To Build the Life You Want, Create the Work You Love."  If you think about this you will realize once you create the job that matches your passion you won't have to work a day in your life.  We no longer live in an age where you need to work for someone.  Alyssa graduated from Cornell University where many students were opening businesses right after graduation.  Previously that was unheard of, but in this new age anything is truly possible.  It is up to you!  As Cornell University's Convocation speaker, Ed Helms, said "Be a fool!"   


Now as Alyssa starts her life in the real world, her first employer, Disney World in Orlando, has gotten a lady that works hard and has a passion and a dream to help animals.  We look forward to seeing her achievements in the field of landscape architecture and the development of her dreams.
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Monday, May 19, 2014

New Documents Regarding Chinese-Manufactured Drywall

In Future Environment Design's May Safety Suzy newsletter we sent out links to new documents produced by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) regarding Chinese-manufactured drywall.  One document was the 39 page "Health Consultation - Possible Health Implications From Exposure To Sulfur Gases Emitted From Chinese-Manufactured Drywall."  The second document was a 3 page fact sheet "Public Health Implications of Chinese-manufactured Drywall," which is a summation of the Health Consultation document.  The health consultation was established to estimate the exposures to sulfur compounds emitted from Chinese-manufactured drywall and the health risks associated with that exposure.

Chinese-manufactured drywall was imported into the United States (US) from 2006 to 2008, because of the increase demand caused by hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, and the already high national demand for new home construction.  In 2008, people living in homes built between 2001 and 2008 began reporting health issues. In addition, people reported the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes.  This became known as problem drywall, this issue wasn't only reported with Chinese-manufactured drywall or just in the south (see the map below for other areas with problem drywall).  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)defines problem drywall as:
  • Visual inspection observes blackening of copper electrical wiring and/or air conditioning evaporator coils and
  • Drywall installed between 2001 and 2009

If both of the above are present look for corroborating evidence which may require outside lab testing.


Findings from the Health Consultation found that the drywall samples they tested emitted several sulfur compounds, including hydrogen sulfide, methy and ethyl mercaptans, carbonyl sulfide, dimethyl sulfide, and sulfur dioxide.  The levels found were a public health concern in 2009 when the testing was done.  Emission rates of these compounds increased with both temperature & humidity.

Exposures to sulfur compounds at the levels estimated from problem drywall in 2005 and 2006 may be associated with such effects as:

  • Headaches
  • Irritation of eyes, nose, & throat
  • Feeling tired
  • Problems controlling respiratory conditions (like asthma)

The odors associated with sulfur compounds could disrupt daily activities and cause stress.

If you have problem drywall the CPSC recommends remediation that would include the replacement of all:

  • Possible problem drywall;
  • Fire safety alarm devices (including smoke & carbon monoxide alarms);
  • Electrical distribution components (including receptacles, switches, and circuit breakers, but not necessarily wiring); and
  • Gas service piping and fire suppression sprinkler systems.

All testing and remediation work should be conducted in compliance with applicable building codes, occupational safety and health standards, and environmental regulations.
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