The Surprising Sneeze
Water Quality & Health Council

Ahhh-choooo! An uncovered sneeze projects mucous particles into the air in a way that MIT scientists say permits the resulting “cloud” to travel farther than scientists had previously estimated (MIT press release). The short video above captures this “cloud” using high speed imaging. This research could help improve infection control in hospitals, workplaces, airplanes and other environments.

Maintaining Home Plumbing
Water Quality & Health Council

It is easy to forget about home water plumbing until a problem arises. The following tips can help you avoid a plumbing emergency:

Maintaining Home Plumbing1. Schedule annual maintenance: A yearly home plumbing inspection can help keep your home plumbing in tip-top shape. Nevertheless, in most homes and apartments, very few water pipes are exposed. Pipes are mostly located inside walls, above ceilings and below floors, making it difficult to inspect them for leaks. Leaks may be indicated indirectly by damp or discolored walls or ceilings, or musty odors

Copper pipes may develop pinhole leaks, which form a green or blue crust as water seeps through the metal.  The photo shows a “stalactite” of copper minerals formed from a pipe compromised by a patch of pinholes.  This is visible on exposed pipes, but as noted above, may manifest itself as wall or ceiling damage or a musty odor where pipes are recessed.  … READ MORE >>

Three Tips to Help You Prepare for a Home Water Emergency
Water Quality & Health Council

Water flows into your home on a daily basis for essential uses, but how much do you know about your water supply and its circulation through your living space? Are you ready for a household water emergency? These tips can help you prepare for the unexpected.

Main Shut-Off Valve1. Know how to turn it off:  In the event of a plumbing failure in the home, the first order of business is to turn off the water at its point of entry. This is done at the “main water shut-off valve.” Locate and label this valve. Make sure the valve is easily accessible at a moment’s notice (e.g., don’t store items in front of it).

If your house is to be evacuated and left unheated during cold weather, the water supply should be turned off at the main shut-off valve and pipes drained. This will help prevent water freezing and bursting … READ MORE >>

Warning: Peeing in the Pool May Be Hazardous to Your Health
Chris Wiant, PhD

We Don't Swim In Your Toilet So Don't Pee In Our PoolOne in five American adults admit to “peeing in the pool,” according to our 2009 survey. That news elicits a collective “Yuk!” from the public. Now, new research conducted by the China Agricultural University and Purdue University (Lian et. al, 2014) draws a direct connection between swimming pool urination and potential negative health effects for swimmers. The reasons to discourage peeing in the pool are adding up. Are swimmers listening?

The Problems with Peeing in the Pool

Most people correctly associate chlorine with pool chemical disinfection–destroying germs that can cause diarrhea, swimmer’s ear, and various types of skin and wound infections. There is no doubt that disinfectants, such as chlorine- and bromine-based products, UV, and ozone, help keep swimming pool water healthy and safe. Pool chemistry takes on a new level of complexity, however, when we add, of all things, swimmers.

Norovirus Season: It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over
Linda Golodner

Norovirus Season  Its Not Over Til Its OverNorovirus—sometimes dubbed “the stomach bug” – is making notable appearances around the nation as winter gives way to spring. Asheville, North Carolina and Alexandria, Virginia schools closed their doors in recent days to disinfect in an effort to stem outbreaks.  Virginia students on a class trip to New York City were hospitalized after becoming sick at a performance of “Phantom of the Opera.”  Norovirus is being cited as a possible factor in four deaths in a Minneapolis Veterans Home, leading to a hold on new admissions.  Weld County, Colorado health officials report at least five outbreaks, most in nursing homes.  And norovirus still shows up on cruise ships.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 80 percent of norovirus outbreaks occur between November and April.  As the old saying goes, “it’s not over ‘til it’s over,” and norovirus season is definitely not yet over.

Most Vulnerable:

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