Today’s news:

Mercury in light bulbs could pose a risk to one’s health

I have known for some time that corkscrew−shaped florescent, energy−saving bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, enough to be a health hazard. We need ways to save energy, but we have been reading about mercury for the past couple of years, especially because baby vaccines have contained small amounts of mercury as a preservative.

Those bulbs, while energy−saving, contain mercury and should not be put out as garbage. Home Depot, Ikea and True Value permit people to drop off those bulbs at their stores for free. They are put in hazardous waste bins. These new bulbs last long, so none of yours may have burned out yet. The city Sanitation Department also accepts such used bulbs at recycling sites in each borough. To locate a site, call 311 or check⁄sanitation.

It seems when power plants burn coal and sometimes garbage to produce power, they emit toxic fumes of mercury, arsenic, lead and sulphur. If the state has strong health laws, this material can be scrubbed out of smoke stacks and will not fall as acid rain. If the state is under power companies’ spell and if the federal government does not mandate strict environmental laws, the polluted smoke from the Midwest drifts over to the state and drops acid rain on us. Many of our upstate lakes have been devoid of life because of Mid−West power plant emissions.

Hopefully, our new president will enforce current federal laws and stop wavers, which curtail stronger federal rules, or have Congress pass stronger laws to protect us from airborne pollution. It seems mercury can affect the central nervous system, causing tumors and mood and personality changes, and cause kidney and neurological damage.

Tests can be made of our hair, urine and blood to determine if we have any heavy metal poisoning our bodies. Doctors can pull mercury out of our system using Chelation therapy. Certain healthy foods and vitamins can also remove mercury from your system. Some people have removed or replaced the old mercury from tainted dental fillings.

GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: Microsoft founder Bill Gates is spreading technology around the world. He travels to build community technology centers. Youth greeted him a couple of years ago in Vietnam, where he presented plans to build a community technology center in each province and a chip assembly line in Ho Chi Minh City. This is good for society because a technologically educated population improves stability and furthers world trade.

Cheaper chips reduce the prices of goods, but also take jobs from our workers. We have to spend more money to educate our own youth. Gates is also doing that in the city by giving grants to schools like Hillcrest High School. But while testing our youth to determine progress is important, there is a point where we must stop testing and spend money to teach students information technology so we can compete with the rest of the world.

The is city drained by overtime and deadbeats. With the budget crisis, there are plans for higher taxes and fees, but our leaders should figure ways to conserve the money we have and collect what is owed in water, sewer and ticket fees. There have always been workers who work overtime in their last years before retiring and then obtain a higher pension based on that overtime.

Every year articles are printed about city workers earning large amounts of overtime, which is calculated as part of their pension. Much overtime is calculated as easy money. Then there are people who retire with “job−related” illnesses when they are just normal aging illnesses, like the Long Island Rail Road retirees.

Too many people do not pay water or sewer fees. Much of the water fee is a way to get more money for the city, but if people do not waste water, they will have lower fees. One does not have to take a 15−minute shower or wash down a driveway with a hose. Tickets should stop motorists from doing things which are bad for business or traffic, but we know many tickets are just ways to obtain money for the city. If the city obtained all this money owed it, then we would have less of a budget crisis.

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