Addy the Environmentalist in Training

Radiation Explained

Although the term “radiation” is common in public discourse, few people understand exactly what radiation is and what causes it. Even fewer realize that radiation can occur in dramatically different forms and that each of these forms involves different types of subatomic particles.

What Is Radiation?

In a nutshell, radiation is subatomic particle moving at a much higher speed than normal. In most cases, this particle takes the form of an electron, neutron or proton. However, radiation can also be composed of photons – particles that carry energy in the form of light.

Alpha Radiation

Plutonium, uranium and other heavy elements have large collections of protons and neutrons in their nuclei. Over time, these nuclei “decay” or split apart, which can cause some of these particles to rocket away at high speed (a large amount of energy is also released at the same time). Sometimes these clumps occur as a cluster of two protons and two neutrons – essentially the nucleus of a helium atom. This process is called alpha radiation or alpha decay.  

Beta Radiation

The nuclei of some atoms simply contain too many protons or neutrons. This causes the atoms to settle into a more stable configuration by changing the charge of one of the protons or neutrons. Protons lose their positive charge and become neutrons; neutrons gain a positive charge and become protons. This process also leads to the ejection of an electron (or an anti-electron in cases involving a proton that changes into a neutron) at high speed. Beta radiation refers to these high-speed electrons and anti-electrons.

Neutron Radiation

Neutron radiation is the simplest form of radiation, and it simply refers to the ejection of a neutron from an atom’s nucleus. Neutron radiation is typically a byproduct of nuclear fission, such as occurs in a nuclear power plant. In a nuclear chain reaction, a single neutron slams into another nucleus, thereby releasing a lot of energy and ejecting more neutrons. These new neutrons slam into other nuclei, causing more neutron radiation, and so on.  

Light Radiation

Whereas alpha, beta and neutron radiation involve massive particles that interact with most other forms of matter, light radiation takes the form of photons. This allows light radiation to pass through most substances easily.  X-rays, for example, pass through your skin unimpeded. The most damaging light radiation, however, is gamma ray radiation, which travels at even higher frequencies than X-rays do. Gamma rays have a number of sources, including nuclear fission, fusion and alpha decay. 

Unlike other types of radiation, for which a small amount of water can provide adequate nuclear shielding, gamma radiation passes through water easily. Accordingly, the only way to protect people from gamma radiation is with very dense substances, such as lead. 

To learn more about radiation, it can help helpful to talk to a company like Nuclear Lead Co., Inc.that offers nuclear shielding devices and more.

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3 Things You Should Look For In A New City

Looking for a change of scenery? If you feel stuck in a dead-end career or trapped by the same sights and sounds of your hometown, you may want to start over in a new location. Many people find that a fresh start helps boost their mood and see things from a new perspective. 

But you shouldn’t make such a big decision with your eyes closed. Take into consideration the following three factors when you decide where to unpack your bags next. 

1. Arts and Entertainment

When you move to a new city, you want to make sure that you can find likeminded people, people who want to spend their time in the same pursuits and hobbies that you enjoy. Before you call the moving van, scope out your new locale for interesting restaurants, bars, art galleries, theaters, or anything else that you like to do on the weekends. 

Your new city might surprise you with its underground music scene or fascinating historical sights. But if after your thorough investigation, you still can’t picture yourself living there, you might want to find a new place to call home. 

2. The Environment

If you value the great outdoors, be on the lookout for a city that values open spaces and air quality. Take a walking tour of the town and look for recycling centers and bike lanes, tell-tale signs of environmentally conscious citizens. Your walking tour will also help you discover parks, public lands, and natural wonders in your new area.

You should also ask the locals about trash collection and neighborhood cleanups. A conversation with current residents will help you learn from their experience and prepare for your future as a property owner in the same location. 

3. Demographics 

Some cities attract retirees by the dozens. Others provide great family-friendly activities for parents and children. When you hunt around for a new city, take into account the age, salary, and social demographics of the people you’ll share a space with. You won’t feel comfortable if you’re the only recent graduate in a town full of empty-nesters, and you’ll have a hard time making play dates for your young children if you relocate in a college town. 

Internet research can help you find out the statistics about your new city, but you should also consider taking a weekend to rub shoulders with actual residents. Your gut reaction will tell you everything you need to know before you make a final decision. 

Together, these three factors will guide you to a city that matches your values and provides stimulation for you and your family members in your new town. 

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Got A Mice Problem? Get Rid Of Them With These 4 All-Natural Tricks

If you have a mice problem, then you are probably extremely irritated. After all, mice can be annoying little creatures. If your cat can’t seem to catch and get rid of them, here are a few all-natural tricks that you can use:

1. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil not only smells great, but it can help repel mice. This is a trick that can be used either indoors or outdoors, depending on where your problem is or the severity of the problem. Since it is natural, this is a safe method for you and your family as well as your pets. Grab several cotton balls and apply several drops of peppermint oil to each one. You will place these in the areas where you have seen mice as well as their home, if you can find it. You will want to replace these two or three times a week to keep the smell strong since this is what steers them away.

2. Mint Plants

Mint has been one of the most popular mice deterrents for centuries. It should be planted extremely close to the areas where the mice are gaining entrance to your home. Inside, you can use dried mint leaves in the areas where you suspect mice hide as well as areas, such as in the kitchen, where you would like mice to stay away from. You can also use dried mint leaves to make satchels that can be placed in closets and drawers to help keep your mice problem at bay.

3. Tabasco Sauce

A gallon of water, half a cup of dish soap and one tablespoon of Tabasco sauce can make a spray that you can use around windowsills, the outside of your home any anywhere in between where you have seen or suspect mice to keep them away. To keep the scent strong and maintain its ability to repel mice, you’ll need to re-spray every few days and especially after it rains (in the outdoor areas).

4. Peanut Butter

If you haven’t had much success with standard mouse traps, consider using a little bit of peanut butter to help lure the mice. The peanut butter is sticky so the mouse is unable to simply swipe its “treat” away like it can do with a slice of cheese before the trap is set off.

When you need a faster solution to your mice problem, contact a professional mice removal company like Environmental Services Pest Control who can come out and take care of the problem for you. You can then use the above home remedies to keep the mice away. 

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Thinking About Installing Solar Panels? Consider These 4 Things First

Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular. You may be thinking about getting some panels installed on your roof, but before you do that, it is important to keep some things in mind. Here are some of the things you should be considering as you decide whether to install solar panels.

The State of Your Roof

Before you even consider solar panel installation, think carefully about how your roof is doing. If it is many years old, have it inspected by a professional roofing contractor. In particular, you need to be sure that there are no leaks, signs of mold or damaged shingles. If you need to make roof repairs, it is much easier to do so without panels covering it.

Your Tax Burden

You may already have heard about the tax incentives you might enjoy as a result of installing solar panels. However, what you may not realize is that you might not owe enough in taxes to need those incentives. Sit down and go through past tax returns to anticipate what your taxes may be, and then talk to an accountant about whether solar panels will help you with your tax bill. You may still want to get solar panels for other reasons, but be aware of whether they will help you at tax time or not.

Ground-Mounted Panels

Panels that face the south and west are generally able to capture the most sun. However, if you don’t get much sun or you have trees that shade those areas, you can still get solar panels. They will have to be ground-mounted, however, and that can drive up costs. You need to allocate funds for digging a trench, pouring concrete footings and running wire to and from the panels.

Leasing Solar Panels

You may not know that you have the option of leasing solar panels as well. When you lease the panels, you avoid many installation costs and pay a monthly fee. However, when you lease the panels, you may be locked into an agreement for multiple years. You may very well realize that over time, the cost of owning the panels is more cost-effective for your family.

Use the information in this article to help you as you consider installing solar panels. Consult a few companies in your local area, such as AAA Solar Source, to find out more about whether these panels would be a good fit for you and your house.

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Do You Have Sporadic Mold Growths In Your Home? If So, Clean The Mold On Your Own

Finding mold in your home should not lead to a knee-jerk call to a mold abatement service. Your first move should be to assess how much mold you have. If you have less than ten-square feet of mold growth, you can take care of the problem on your own. If you have a lot of mold growth, you will want to call in reinforcements, like ENVIROTECH Inc. Once you have determined that you have a manageable amount of mold, you need to determine toxicity. As long as you don’t have toxic mold, you can move on to removing the mold growth. 

Clean and Kill Mold

Cleaning mold off of your walls is not as easy as scrubbing away with a damp dish cloth, but it is doable as long as you follow the right steps:

1. Put on safety gear, which should include a disposable jumpsuit, a respirator, goggles, and gloves.

2. Seal off the room that you will be working in. This means covering doorways that lead to other areas of your home by taping a plastic sheet over them. You should also tape over any HVAC vents in the room. 

3. Vacuum up any loose mold using a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. This should prevent any dry mold spores from getting airborne during the cleaning process.

4. Spray the fold with a borax-solution or with vinegar. Either cleaner should kill the mold, but if you use vinegar, you should let it sit for about an hour before you start cleaning. 

5. Keep the mold damp while you scrub it off or your walls, or other surfaces to prevent the spores from spreading. 

6. Once you have removed all the mold, wipe down all surfaces in the room with the borax-solution or vinegar. This will help to kill any spores on the surfaces, but it will also help to prevent future mold growths. 

7. Thoroughly vacuum any carpet using the same vacuum you used to clean up dry mold. 

8. Remove the bag from the vacuum and throw it and all other cleaning supplies into a plastic bag, then seal the bag.

9. Remove the plastic sheeting and place it in a plastic bag then seal it.

10. Pass these bags out of your home through a window. 

Cleaning up a mold growth can be an involved process, but it is doable for a homeowner as long as you catch mold before it spreads too much. On the other hand, if you want to be completely sure that you have dealt with the problem, you should consider calling a mold abatement service. 

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Dumpsters And The Business Owner: A Brief Guide

Many different types of businesses can function more efficiently by outsourcing their waste management operations to a dumpster rental service. Not every enterprise will necessarily produce enough waste to make this option necessary, but a wider range of firms will benefit from using dumpster specialists. This article looks at some of the main businesses that should consider contracting out their waste management activities.

Small Business

If you own small retail establishment, such as a convenience store or restaurant, your operations probably produce extra waste in the form of boxes, cartons, wrappers, among other items. A great solution to this problem is having a dumpster firm place a commercial trash dumpster on your site. You have a choices of sizes, such as one that holds 2 cubic yards or one that holds 4 cubic yards. Larger sizes are also available depending on your requirements.

Construction

Construction sites produce a lot of trash and consequently have different needs than a small business owner. To satisfy the needs of construction contractors, dumpster services provide a type of trash bin known as a roll-off dumpster. This is a large dumpster that can hold as much as 40 cubic yards of trash, depending on the particular model. The dumpster is rolled off of a large truck and has wheels to facilitate the process. When the dumpster is full, simply call the dumpster company. They will haul it away and bring it back to your location after emptying the contents.

Compactor

If you own an industrial facility that creates substantial amount of waste on a regular basis, a regular dumpster might not be sufficient for your facility. What you probably need is a compacting dumpster. This piece of equipment takes your waste and compacts it into a manageable size.

Recycle

Does your business produce waste than can be recycled for other purposes, such as paper plastic or glass? In that case, your local dumpster firm can often deal with this problem more effectively than you. They will provide you with containers to for each of the separate categories of recyclable items. The service will also remove the containers as needed and take them to a local recycling center.

As a business owner, you have many problems to deal with every day and outsourcing waste removal is a good way to reduce some of your responsibilities. For more information about this topic, contact a dumpster rental service in your city.

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Keeping Your Business Safer: 3 Ways To Keep Your Workshops Safe

When you have employees working in dangerous environments like workshops or factory settings, you need to make sure you have taken all the necessary steps for keeping them safe. Here are three ways to monitor your facility and make sure your workers aren’t being put in unnecessary danger:

Particulates: Watch Out for Dangerous Matter in the Air

One thing you need to look for, especially if you work with spray paints, liquids, chemicals, or dust, is particulates. Particulates are larger than air molecules, but they can still be breathed into the lungs. Unfortunately, these particulates can be dangerous to humans and could cause medical problems later in life and irritation to the lungs now. 

If your facility works with particulates, then you’re likely required to follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s Method 5. This is the determination of particulate matter emissions for stationary sources, and it reviews the ways you are meant to clean the air in your facility to prevent injury from particulates. 

Some things you need to do include:

  1. Keeping a clean filter
  2. Running the EPA Method 5 test for particulates in the air
  3. Making sure any leaking tubing or pipes are repaired. 

Tripping and Falling Hazards: Watching Where You’re Walking

Another thing you need to monitor in your facility are potential tripping hazards. While tripping or falling may not seem serious, if someone trips and hits their head or collides with someone working with dangerous materials, the chance of injury can be high. To prevent these injuries:

  • Take time between shifts to clean the floors; use sweepers, brooms, and other cleaning tools to make sure there are no slick spots, stray materials, or damaged floor tiles that could cause tripping.
  • Monitor the floor during work hours. If something is spilled, make sure to mark the area as potentially hazardous.
  • Clean up all broken materials, dust piles, or spills as soon as possible. 
  • Remind workers to monitor their surroundings to prevent injury; if they see a hazard, they should report it. 
  • Don’t allow horseplay; working in an industrial environment is dangerous without workers fighting or playing around heavy equipment. 

Poor Lighting: Light Up Your Room To Prevent Injury

One of the last things you can do to prevent injury is to make sure your facility is light enough. Skylights and fluorescent lighting can be used to brighten up any facility. Using enough light allows for easier reading and sharper vision, so your workers know when something is dangerous or out of position. 

These tips can help you make your workplace safer. Try them, and you may be pleased at the results. 

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