Driving Smart Decisions – September Update

New/Exciting Changes at MidwestLabs.com We updated our site! Why do you care? Well, we made sure to put your needs first. Updates have been made to the search functionality, navigation, and Industry section for tests. Find what you are looking for quicker and accessible. Not sure what you are looking for? Utilize our text, email,

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Proactive Practices in Animal Feed

Trust that gut-feeling again. It doesn’t matter what industry you are hands-on in; all require a proactive mindset. Teachers must be proactive in their teaching styles to stay ahead of the technological advancements in the way humans learn and retain information. Accountants must be proactive in their financial endeavors to anticipate the economy’s ups and downs.

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Driving Smart Decisions – August Update

Welcome It’s an exciting time to be at and working with Midwest Laboratories as we continue to move forward with innovative processes and initiatives to serve our customer’s needs. The business landscape is continuing to move at a vigorous pace. We are a company who believes staying innovative and ahead of the curve is essential.

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Driving Smart Decisions – July Update

Welcome The Fourth of July is typically the half-way mark for summer. A time of celebration and giving thanks for our freedoms as U.S. Citizens July Announcements Stay Tuned: This month we will have some new initiatives we will be rolling out for our clients. These items are in the final stages of testing and

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Driving Smart Decisions – May Update

Soil, Planting, Plants

Welcome May is here, and so are the warm temperatures. This spring we continue to see an increase in the number of new accounts and client inquiries. We have taken some steps this month to help facilitate this increase by offering clients the ability to communicate via text message. This new system is excellent for mobile

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Driving Smart Decisions – March 2018

Welcome It is an exciting time of the year. We are coming out of winter and temperatures are starting to warm-up quickly. (See Graphic: Source greencastonline.com). Current Soil Temperatures in Omaha, 31 degrees F. for March 2, 2018. Many clients begin ordering their spring sampling supplies. Today, this process is a 4-step process with login on

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MIDWEST LABORATORIES ANNOUNCES NEW OVERNIGHT SHIPPING PROGRAM

LaVista, NE – Midwest Laboratories announced during the 2018 Agronomy seminar, beginning March 1, 2018, they are launching a new FedEx Overnight Shipping Solution, exclusive for Midwest Laboratories clients. In order to get the data their clients need to make critical business decisions; Midwest Laboratories will now offer $20 overnight flat rate freight for packages

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How to Take a Manure Sample

More than ever, properly managing manure has become a fundamental aspect of farm management. To manage efficiently, analyzing manure for its nutrient composition is strongly suggested. By analyzing your Manure, you get a full understanding of the nutrients your ground is receiving. Send in a fresh sample for the most accurate reading. Try to time

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Driving Smart Decisions – January 2018

Welcome to 2018 At Midwest Laboratories, we are anticipating another exciting year of analysis. In 2017, we updated many laboratory instruments and that investment paid off nicely with the receipt of large volumes of samples in various departments. One of our goals is to identify specific analysis areas that can be updated through technology and

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September Update 2017

Fall Is Around the Corner Labor Day Weekend is almost here.  Schools are back in session. Temperatures are starting to cool off and the days are getting shorter. That means football activities are right around the corner too.  Right now we are seeing an increased demand for stalk nitrate testing. In addition, many growers and

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August Update 2017

August Newsletter For many, August 21, 2017, cannot get here soon enough. Solar Eclipse 2017 is almost upon us. Many in the science community are preparing to observe this once in a lifetime event. Fall Sampling Supplies Make sure you get your sampling supplies ordered. This past week, I took a closer look at supplies

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Mid-May Update

Soil and Plant Update The spring soil testing season continues to be strong. We are seeing a strong surge of soil samples which is a little unusual for this time of the year, but it really does show that growers and retailers are continually monitoring fields to ensure proper soil nutrients are available for proper

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April Update 2017

Introduction Welcome to April. The recent rainfall will soon have grass, trees and plants budding. The recent warm winter has accelerated these activities along with the current soil temperatures, (See Map) which are quite warm for this time of year. From an analysis perspective, the lab areas at Midwest Laboratories are always evaluating current instrumentation

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March 2017 update

Spring is almost here. This past month we’ve had a slight taste of spring/summer with temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s. It has made for an exciting February. Soil sample volumes are up with the warmer temperatures. The Animal Feed Laboratory is almost completed. Once complete, the Animal Feed Laboratory will have its own receiving,

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February 2017 Update

In January we unveiled a whole new website look.  It is our goal going forward to continue to provide visitors with as much analysis information we can provide on analysis, method, turnaround time and cost. If you are looking for a particular analysis, consider going to our test section and locating your specific analysis. Taking

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New Website Update for 2017

Welcome to the new, midwestlabs.com site! This process started in May 2016 and came to fruition in January 2017. This site is the cornerstone of a new client experience. The new site will allow users the ability to find analysis information faster, with fewer clicks. One of the best parts of the site is the

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Reusable Water Bottles and Bacteria

If you have not read this article, Which Is Dirtier: Your Reusable Water Bottle or a Toilet Seat? by HILLARY EATON Last Updated: Sep 23, 2016, you really should. It is an interesting article and it really drives home the point that reusable water containers should be cleaned periodically. I also like how the article lists different

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Lead in Water – Additional Testing

Lead, water, quality

What are the impacts? Lead in water continues to make the news in communities across the country. Many school officials, business managers, and homeowners are taking steps to discover more about the quality of their water supply. A few months ago, I posted this article, Does Your Water Contain Lead? And we received some inquiries about this

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Fire Warning – Linseed Oil

fire liquid, fire

Have you thought about restoring the woodwork on your deck? If you are thinking about this process, you need to watch the following news story. It really highlights the danger of hot temperatures and flammability. In addition, the video really shows that cloths coated in oils can easily catch on fire because of hot temperatures.

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Great Benefits For Fall Soil Grid Sampling Companies

Fall, samples, Testing, Package, content, benefits

2016 Fall Soil Sampling To take advantage of our benefits by signing up for a Midwest Laboratories Account. It only takes a couple of minutes. Submit your information online. Most accounts are up the same day they are received. Setup a Midwest Laboratories Account today. With your Midwest Labs accounts, all supply orders are at your convenience.

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Your FSMA Partner

food, storage, FSMA

For the past year, I have been reading more and more about the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) and all of the changes that will be affecting food growers, producers, and retailers. Three key components: Hazard Analysis Preventive Controls  Produce Safety Midwest Laboratories has invested in new instrumentation, new facilities, and method development to meet

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Analysis for Microcystin in Ponds and Lakes

Microcystin

Treatment of Microcystin It’s that time of year again, many area lakes and ponds test for the presence of Microcystin. Microcystin, (otherwise known as blue-algae)  as defined by the EPA, “Microcystins are toxins produced by cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are also known as blue-green algae and are ubiquitous in surface water when conditions are favorable for growth

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Manure Delivers Benefits

There is an excellent article in AGRI-NEWS, March 5, 2016, entitled, “Manure delivers soil health, crop nutrient benefits” by  Tom C. Doran The article looks at the benefits of manure from an economic standpoint: Depending on species and how much precipitation water is getting into that manure, every 1,000 gallons of liquid dairy or liquid

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Lead found in several schools drinking water

Across the country, schools are checking their drinking water for lead. Boston tested water in 26 different schools and found two schools with elevated levels of lead. Similar testing is being conducted around the country in homes, schools and businesses. The EPA has strict guidelines for lead in water. Any lead content over 15 ppb, (parts

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Does Your Water Contain Lead?

It is well-known of the current lead issues in drinking water in Flint Michigan. Now, a newly released article from USA Today, suggests the issues of lead in drinking water is more widespread throughout the United States than originally thought. The article states nearly 2000 water systems throughout all 50 states have tested with lead

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Your Car and Freezing Temperatures

Here are some interesting facts regarding your car and cold temperatures: At what temperature does gasoline freeze? One article I came across suggested that gasoline could freeze at a range between -40C and -76C or any temperature less than -40 degrees fahrenheit. -40 degrees celsius = -40 degrees fahrenheit. You can prevent your gas line from

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Warmer Than Usual Winter Temps Expected for 2016

Are you ready for a warmer than usual winter? It appears the warmer temperatures are here to stay for the next few weeks. Check out this news report and check out the temperatures and precipitation in your part of the country. photo credit: 365-019 – 5k via photopin (license)

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Watch The Spread of Germs

Check out this news story and see for yourself how quickly germs can spread around an office. This news story is worth your time to watch and a very good reminder to take precautions to stop the spread of germs.   Picture by Pixabay

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Why is Snow White?

Check out this informative piece from the Weather Channel and learn more about snow. Learn how the thousands of snowflakes reflect sunlight to create a white, mystical scene. Picture Source: Pixabay

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Could Your Vehicle Be Making You Sick

Check out this news story and determine for yourself if you need to take action with your own vehicle or not. This news story highlights some areas to really keep an eye on with respect to bacterial growth in your vehicle. This story should be a wakeup call for all of us to take steps

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Bacteria and Travel

Here is a story to think about as we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday which is typically one of the busiest travel periods of the year. The following news story looks at this whole issue from analyzing the conditions, collecting the sample and looking at the analysis report. This story should be a wake-up call to

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Can Midwest Laboratories Test This?

This is the number one question we receive at Midwest Laboratories.  The following table is a great guide which give you access to analysis available at Midwest Laboratories. Midwest Laboratories Analysis Matrix *Information regarding certification and rush analysis should be obtained by speaking directly to a Midwest Laboratories Customer Service Representative (Office) 402-334-7770. **Normal turnaround time

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Growing Bacteria Experiment

Kids and Teachers – I think everyone should have to do this experiment to get a feel for how prevalent bacteria is in our current culture. Check out this experiment and look at the growth of bacteria on various devices and items we come in contact with everyday. Look at these everyday devices before and

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Take Steps to Protect Yourself From Germs on Planes

This particular video gives some good explanation as to why it is critical to make sure you, as a passenger take precautions each time you fly to protect yourself from germs. This video was made last fall when the Ebola epidemic was in the news almost everyday. You have probably seen this particular scenario. The

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2015 Fall Weather Forecast – Be Prepared!

If you are a grower and/or a company that is related somehow to the fall harvest activities, you will want to read this article. “2015 US Fall Forecast: Fire Danger to Worsen in West; September May Yield Tropical Impact in South” , August 14, 2015 by Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer  The first few paragraphs of

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Snow Melt Into Summer

Remember those powerful snow storms that brought the City of Boston to a halt last winter. Can you believe the snow melt from those large piles of snow lasted into July. The last day of melting occurred July 14, 2015. (Source:  CNN) Check out this story and see what these snow piles looked like in

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Back to School Germs

Check out this news interview regarding germs in the school. Here a few tips mentioned in this news story: Bring your own water bottle and don’t drink out of the water fountain. Make sure kids get their proper sleep. Use Hand Sanitizer Encourage kids to not touch their faces so much It’s always good to

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Bacteria Filled Beaches

Check out this story regarding bacteria on beaches. Routine tests for bacteria near beaches is a concern for states. The key is to find the source of the bacteria. The source could be the results of a broken sewer line, rain water washing fecal material onto the beach, people not disposing of trash properly and

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Soil Health – Where does Carbon Come From?

Check out this video and learn how the microorganisms release carbon CO2 in the soil. Dr. Will Brinton provides an indepth look at the carbon process in the soil. It is a very interesting video presentation. Soil Health Testing is available at Midwest Laboratories. For more information check out this link, Midwest Laboratories Soil Health

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Toxic Algae Bloom – Lake Erie

This year could be a record year for toxic algae bloom in some areas. The heavy rains received in June are a major contributor to this issue. Check out this story and learn more about this issue. Here is an updated look at this issue, recorded July 27, 2015 Check out the following article that

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Recycling Food Waste

What happens to food waste being produced by food producers? Check out this video which looks at several examples of how food waste is being put back into our environment to reuse. Who would have thought that cell phone glass could be made out of food waste.   photo credit: plate scraping via photopin (license)

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Ethanol Demand – An Interesting Perspective

Check out this interview with Green Plains CEO, Todd Becker and seen where the Ethanol Industry stands with respect to the economy. This story is really interesting. Todd does a good job of looking at Ethanol as a sustainable business. Overall, Ethanol is a discounted fuel compared to traditional gasoline. The international market is becoming

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E.coli in Lakes

Check out this story out of Michigan. It gives a good perspective on the process of monitoring e.Coli levels in Lake Michigan. Remember, e.Coli is always present to some extent in lake water. You can take precautions by making sure you wash your hands and body, especially before eating so you do not transmit the

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Three Summer Lawn Tips

Three Summer Lawn Tips:   (1) Mowing Consider mowing your lawn a little higher not shorter to prevent the spread of weeds. (2) Watering Only water 2-3 times a week, but water longer in each area, 20-30 minutes. This way you will insure the water gets down into the surface part of the soil 4-6

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Bottled Water Recalled because of e.Coli

The following story aired this week in the northeast part of the country. “E. coli bacteria were found in the water supply on June 10, 2015. These bacteria can make you sick, and are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems,” said company officials. Source: myfoxphilly.com report, June 22, 2015 This incident really

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Short on Time – Get Answers Today

At Midwest Laboratories, we perform a wide array of analysis. Most of our analysis is listed on our website, This seems to be the approach of most people these days because they are in a hurry to obtain a specific piece of information. I would like to offer another another suggestion. Please consider sending an

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Testing for E.Coli in Drinking Water

Earlier this week, we looked at e.Coli in lakes and streams. Now we are looking closer at public water supplies. It is imperative that municipalities keep a close eye on the public water supply in their areas. In many areas, it has been the wettest May/June on record. The following news report from Greensboro, South

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High Levels of E.Coli in Lakes

May was a particularly wet month for a number of areas across the country.  Overal it ranks as one of the wettest Mays on record. Now we are into June and we are seeing the results of that rainfall and the issues that many lakes and streams could be facing. Higher than normal e.Coli counts

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Organic Fertilizer Recipe

Check out this example of an organic fertilizer made with the following ingredients: Cottonseed Meal  (1.25 lb) Bone Meal (.6 lb) Kelp Meal (2.5 lb) Application 3/4 lbs for 50 sq. feet This video is very interesting and will give you some ideas for making your own organic fertilizer recipe. Over the past three years,

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Frog Survey

Check out this interesting news story on frogs. Scientists in Wisconsin are listening to frogs throughout the year to determine populations. The scientists want to get a better handle on populations and look at the effects of the current water ways to identify an issues. It is an interesting news story! Picture Source: Pixabay

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Germs at the Gym

Check out this news story investigation. This is an interesting report. Some of the results are very disturbing. Look at the areas that were swabbed and see the results for yourself. Always wipe down equipment before and after. Make sure you always wash your hands.  Take proper precautions and you should be able to combat

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Planting a Tree

Check out this article! Plant a tree, but do it right! This article gives you complete step by step instructions. (Only 7 steps) Very easy to read and understand. It is important that we continue to look for ways to rebuild our tree population. On April 24, 2015 we celebrated Arbor Day. If you are

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Sulfate Free Shampoos

There is a real debate out there about sulfate ingredients contained in shampoos. Some articles go so far as to say it can cause cancer. The FDA has not banned sulfate from shampoos and sulfate, (commonly known as salt) gives shampoo its foaming attributes and cleaning ingredients. The following graphic outlines some of the attributes

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Soil Temps and Safe Planting

Everyone keeps looking up at the sky for the weather, but the real key to temperatures is looking at the soil. This video looks at what can happen if you plant too early and the soil temperature drops. Pay close attention to what happens to the seed, itself. It is a very informative video. Picture

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Add A Grub Killer To Your Lawn Soon

Think about applying a grub killer to your lawn before situation gets out of control.

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Which Analysis Method Should You Use?

Many times clients send samples in and really don’t know what to ask for when it comes to the analysis method. Methods are the starting places for performing analysis is a qualitative manner. Because technology is changing, methods also may need to be slightly adjusted. A good laboratory will note this information in their standard

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Battling Crabgrass This Spring

Crabgrass is starting to creep up in yards around the country. I came across a great article, “PLATEAU GARDENING: Crabgrass vs Turfgrass” by c. Rae Hozer This article emphasizes the following points. Crabgrass is a sign of turfgrass getting too little fertilizer or the soil is so acidic that fertilizer is not readily available to

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Some Common March Analysis

This past month there were numerous questions regarding the following analysis: Soil Testing/Soil Sampling – Most of the questions had to do with sampling more than just analysis. There is a great resource in the Midwest Laboratories Library on Soil Sampling. Lawn/Garden Soil Testing – This is the area we really saw a lot of questions. Midwewst

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Fracking Wastewater

Here is a video clip of why people are concerned about what is in their water supply. Fracking wastewater needs to be analyzed and tested to determine if any contaminants exist. Check out this story, During Fracking Hearing, Nebraskan Challenges Oil And Gas Commission To Drink Wastewater, March 30 ,2015 and accompanying presentation. It is

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Community Garden Safety Tips

Community Gardens are becoming more and more popular. It is a great way for people in cities to come together and grow produce for a local community. Many community gardens are becoming more progressive with the produce they are growing and the applicaiton of natural fertilizers from soil testing. One area that many people who

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Sample Paperwork

Over the past few weeks it has really been apparent that sample paperwork is one of the biggest detractors from getting analysis performed and reported in a timely manner. Consider typing out your informaiton. With everything going to scanning these days it is becoming increasingly difficult to read smugged writing and overall appearance of hand-written

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Air Dryers or Paper Towels

Paper towels or Hand Dryers – Which is better?

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Dealing With Food Waste

Food waste is a real issue. Imagine if just a few smaller steps were taken, what a difference we could make in this area.

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Warmer Weather On The Way

It appears we have gone from bitter cold to warm, balmier weather. It will be a welcome relief to many, but it could also be a sign of a big melt off in some areas. In any case, the warmer temperatures will happen across the country as the map indicates for projected high temperatures on

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March Soil Temperature Map

Typically, the soil temperature needs to be above 50 degrees Farenheit for most crops. Currently, only the most southern states are above 5o degrees as the map indicates. See the color guideline below the map.   If you want to follow soil temperatures into the spring season, check out the GreenCastOnline.com Soil Map that is

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How Fast Can Bacteria Spread at Your WorkPlace?

Check out this news story and the experiment that was conducted. I am sure many of you can remember experiences where several people at school and at work got sick at the same time. Today, it is imperative when you are in a public place at school, work or event and you are in the presence

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Quite a Winter

It has been one storm after another in various parts of the country. It seems like some areas are getting belted by storm after storm. Hopefully, spring will be here soon. More snow on the way this first week of March Hopefully, spring is not too far away. If you want to look at some

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De-Icing a Plane

Watch the process up close and see what is involved with de-icing a plane. It is such a critical job and one that is often taken for granted. As more ice and snow are on the way this week, see how one group of workers is dealing with the elements and taking charge to insure

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How Long Does It Take to Get Frostbite?

I am certainly not encouraging people to try this experiment at home, work or school; but, do you really know the facts about frostbite. How long does it really take? It really depends on two things: temperature and wind The wind is really the deciding factor here because it can quickly remove the heat and

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Think about Food Science as a Major

Want to get into a growing industry? Consider food science. It is one area that high school kids are not exposed to as much, but it is definitely a growing field with lots of possibilities. Just in the last 5-10 years this area has exploded with the advent of regulations around calories and the whole

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Crash Course on Fracking

Fracking is a very controversial process which people have various opinions on. Let’s look at this topic a bit closer and see if we can formulate our own opionion. Let’s start with this first video which explains the process. Now let’s review a little more about the process and look at some of the environmental

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Should you put air in your tires on a very cold day?

The answer is “No”. The cold air makes your tires contract and as a result, your tire sensors come on. However, to demonstrate this principle the following video looks at air in a balloon and how it contracts with a cold source, liquid nitrogen. Ambient temperature affects tire pressure, and in the new world of TPMS,

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Nematode Testing in 2015

Have you considered testing for nematodes in 2015? It might be something to think about to be on the safe side.

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Soil Testing a Baseball Field

Right now, Midwest Laboratories is receiving a lot of questions regarding soil testing for spring planting of crops and lawn/garden soil testing. Not too many people are looking at local baseball fields for arsenic and lead. However, in one particular county in Florida, customers are moving quicly to determine if arsenic is present. Learn more

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Does Salt Actually Melt Ice?

Check out this video and learn why salt is applied to our local and national roadways as way to get rid of the ice/snow cover. Here are some points to remember that are covered in the video: Salt lowers the freezing point of water.  There is a limit. It only works well from temperatures between

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Midwest Labs Library

Do you have questions about soil sampling? How to take a proper sample? Grid Sampling or other sampling techniques Are you trying to understand the information contained on your soil report. Are you looking at testing your water in your well to see if it is safe to drink? Are you selling your home and

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Spring Lawn Preview

Time to start planning for your spring long. It is not that far away, about 60 days in the midwest. This article is one of the best articles I have read on proper management of a lawn. How to cultivate a happy lawn by Laura Lee Rose, February 1, 2015. The article hits on points

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Soil Samplers Taking Advantage of Mild Winter

This January there has been a rush for sampling supplies. Currently, soil probes are in strong demand and manufacturer’s can’t keep up with the demand. Soil Probes – If you are thinking of ordering a probe for sampling today or this spring, place your order now. Supplies are limited and demand is high and demand will

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33.5 Inches of Snow and its impact

Check out this news clip from the Boston Massachusetts area regarding today’s snow storm. See for yourself what 33.5 inches of snow looks like. Here is another story that looks at this storm and its impact along the east coast. Some incredible footage here. photo credit: praetoriansentry via photopin cc

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Some Fuel Saving Tips

Here is a summary of tips that I came across in the Detroit Free Press Article, Fuel-saving tips for winter driving by Mark Phelan, January 24, 2015. There are some really good tips here: Don’t sit idling to warm the engine up; that gets you 0 m.p.g. Most manufacturers recommend driving off after about 30

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Rio Grande Water Quality Adventure

Check out this article, “Man kayaks to draw awareness to river quality” by Kristen Mosbrucker, January 17, 2015. We need to read more stories like these and understand our natural waterways better and look for ways to save our natural resources and ultimately improve their quality of life. Colin McDonald looks at the history and current

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Thinking of building a house…

If you are buying a house or building a house, consider testing the soil for lead. You might be saving yourself a lot of future headaches and problems.

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Is Your Smartphone Making You Sick?

In some cases your cell phone may contain more germs than your toilet seat. YIKES! Read more in today’s article!

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PBB from the 1970’s still causing issues in Michigan

I came across this article, Researcher: PBB from 1970s still in Michiganders’ blood by  Robin Erb, Detroit Free Press, December 28, 2014. It is one of the most horrific stories of feed contamination I have ever read. Some of you may have remembered this story. Here is a short summary of the incident. Laboratory tests suggest

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Ratings Program at Whole Foods

Check out the Whole Foods Responsibly Grown Program. Responsibly Grown – Whole Foods is empowering its suppliers to be more responsible and more transparent. Seeking out growers that take responsibility seriously. The Responsibly Grown Program has three rankings: Good  |  Better |  Best. Some of the key points listed in this ranking are:soil health, water/energy

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Bacterial Areas in Your Kitchen

Check out this article, 7 Kitchen Items You Didn’t Know Are Filthy With Germs …and the seven ways to clean them  by Tyler Wells Lynch, December 1, 2014. The article looks at various areas in your kitchen that you may not be aware of when it comes to bacterial backup. Here is a list of the 7

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Wastewater Issues – Flushable Wipes

Are flushable wipes really flushable? Ask a wastewater representative.

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Homemade Ice Melt

Have you ever made your own ice melt mixture? I have used very hot water, but that has limited effect.  Check out this story and decide for yourself is this is something to try in the future. One piece of advice, make sure you try this on concrete and do not try this on a

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Microbial Fuel Cells

Generating electricity through bacteria in waste water. Check out this explanation from Penn State – Microbial Fuel Cell Page Renewable and clean forms of energy are one of society’s greatest needs.  At the same time, 2 billion people in the world lack adequate sanitation and the economic means to afford it.  In this research, we

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Testing for Lead in Soil

Lead in soil is still an issue. Make sure you have your soil tested!

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Why are gas prices going down?

What factors are contributing to the lower prices in October – November 2014?

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Can Bacteria Live Longer on Airplanes?

Can bacteria live longer on airplanes?

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Best Practices for Keeping Phosphorus on Your Field

How much phosphorus should I apply on my field? Could I actually be applying too much?

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How do I know nematodes are an issue in my field?

How do I know if nematodes are a problem in my field? What steps should I take to learn more?

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I Have a Question About Testing Where Do I Go

Ever had a laboratory testing question, but could not find the answer? Consider sending your testing question to Midwest Labs

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Which Water Test Should I Select?

Are you wondering if your water is safe? Looking for a way to test your water? Have you considered sending your water to a laboratory for testing?

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Would your office space pass the germ test?

Is your office area germ free?

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Fighting Bacteria in Hospitals

New technology that assists hospitals in fighting bacteria.

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Bottled Water – Questions and Answers

Some interesting information on bottled water.

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Fighting Tree Disease

I thought this news story on tree disease was particularly interesting. It focuses on an effort by Linn County Officials to insure the potential speed of tree disease stays  localized. See the process first-hand. photo credit: Heather F via photopin cc

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Start of School and Mold

Are you sending your kids to a school that maintains cleanliness and proper sanitation?

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Stalk Nitrate Testing

Stalk nitrate testing – A great way to evaluate your nitrogen management plan.

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Toledo Drinking Water Issue

An algae bloom has forced Toledo residents to switch over to bottled water

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Frying an egg on the sidewalk

Scientifically speaking, can you fry an egg on a sidewalk?

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Germy Cellphones

Some gentle reminders about germs and your cellphone

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Could your iPhone make you itchy

Check out this story and see if your smarthphone or tablet could be making you itch.

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Mosquito Borne Illness

Another mosquito borne illness to be aware about.

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Bacteria on Vegetables and Fruits

Check out this news story and see for yourself how important it is to wash the fruit and vegetables that you purchase at the store. Pay close attention to produce that ispackaged and sealed in plastic. Are you aware that organic produce could have higher bacterial counts than conventional produce? I was surprised there would

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Summer Science Fun

Summer is a great time to setup and run some experiments. Check out some of these summer experiments and show your kids how cool science can be. Also, check out the SuperMoms360.com site for some very cool games, activities and ideas for parties. Sometimes we forget how simple activities can be so much fun. I

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Grease Fires

Check out this news story and see for yourself how dangerous grease fires can be. I am not sure where you live, but in the Omaha, Nebraska Community I can quickly count five apartment/house fires that have occured in 2014. I am not saying that they were all caused by grease, but after watching this

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Flooding is hitting the state of Iowa

Check out this news story regarding flash flooding. The excessive rain that has been received over the past 10 days has really contributed to a saturated ground and creeks and rivers cannot keep up with the flow of heavy rains occuring in a short period. See more in this news story out of Des Moines.

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Pilger Tornado – June 16, 2014

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the community of Pilger, Nebraska. The community works to clean up and receover family belongings. The magnitude of this storm is one that will be talked about for many years. Now the hard part sets in. Many families lost their entire belongings. Thankfully, many volunteers are helping with

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Gas Prices

Were you aware that different formulations of gasoline could have an effect on the price that you pay at the pump? This story is interesting on several fronts. As Americans watch what is happening in our world and we tend to be focused on how those events affect the price of oil,  Maybe we should

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Contaminated Soil

Check out this video and see why lead in soil continues to be an issue for a lot of people and their families. It is a topic that needs to be addresed and looked at more closely. The high levels found in 13 different states should serve as a wakeup call to all of us.

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Swimming Pools and Bacteria

Check out this news story and check out some ways you can be sure your pool is being managed effectively. e.Coli is often found in pools. Many pools are monitoring people as they enter to make sure they are not sick. Take precautions and notice the people around you and make sure you are not

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Turning Wastewater into Drinking Water

Can you imagine recyclying your own toilet water and draing from it as your public drinking source. Some areas affected by the recent drought conditions are looking at other ways to manage their drinking water supplies. Check out more in this news story. photo credit: Lester Public Library via photopin cc

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Is Bacteria a Big Deal at Your House?

You have to check out this news story regarding bacteria in your house. The report looks at a number of areas in a house. Are you aware that bacteria could be very prominent in your dishwasher or washing machine? Your television remote control may be the place with the highest bacteria in your house. See

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Cellulosic Ethanol Technology

Check out this video and learn a little more about the process of producing ethanol from cellulosic materials. It is important to understand the process and see how ethanol is produced in this process. Over the next few days, you will hear a report that suggests that the cellulosic process produces more green house gasses

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Sandhill Crane Migration 2014

Yesterday, I attended an event in Kearney, and I could not believe what I saw. It was the first time that I had ever seen the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. From Grand Island, NE  to Kearney, NE; cranes were everywhere, in fields, lakes, streams. (thousands and thousands) If you have never seen this event

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Fracking and Increased Eathquakes?

Check out this interesting read on fracking being a direct relationship to earchquakes, (Fracking boom could increase California’s earthquake risk) I believe more research is needed to determine if there is a relationship with fracking and earthquakes. Now, read this aricle Man-Made Earthquakes Update from the USGS that refutes this claim. Th USGS answers this

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Flooding Along the Missouri Again in 2014?

Various reports have talked about possible flooding or no flooding. I think the best approach to take is to watch the story carefully this spring and pay attention to different reports as temperatures rise during the upcoming spring months. See more information on this topic in this report. Any flooding large or small is worth

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An Innovative Workaround – Water to Homes

Check out this story about how some couples got together to provide water to each other through a reverse flow water system. This winter’s weather has caused a number of issues regarding underground insulated water pipes. This story shows how systems can be built to work around issues that may arise from time to time.

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El Nino in 2014?

It looks like El Nino could be on the horizon. While the pattern causes dry weather in Asia, an El Nino typically creates ideal growing conditions in the U.S. Midwest during the summer, which is when the weather pattern is expected to occur this year, Art Douglas, meteorologist at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, said

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The Pothole Battle

This winter has been a real battle for road crews in many cities. In New York City, alone, 64,000 pothols have been filled this winter. Typically, this equates to a little over 1,000 potholes filled a day. Here is another report from a city in the northeast. People really need to drive with caution as

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Why your water may taste poorly and smell bitter

Check out this story and look at how a water plant in Missouri is taking steps to make the water taste better. The recent thaw brought natural runoff of soil and organic materials to the river has affected the water’s taste and smell. It is an interesting story with some helpful information regarding public drinking

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Cars and Salt – Protecting our Vehicles

Winter is a tough time on vehicles. Sand and salt can cause some major damage to the metal workings of our vehicles. Rust and corrosion can attack the fuel lines and cause them to leak. In addition, if salt gets in the inside of a bumper, the salt can attack the car from the inside

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How is Atlanta bracing for today’s ice storm?

Today’s storm will be the topic for much of the media today. Hopefully, enough precautions and warnings have been executed to minimize the potential damage of this storm Check out this video and look closely at these statistics: In preparation for the storm, Atlanta has been warning people of the arrival of an ice storm

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De-Icing Roads with Beet Juice

This particular mixture (salt grind with calcium chloride and a  sugar beet juice additive) is pre-applied to the roads to help prevent the snow from sticking to the road. This de-icing treatment is being used in Des Moines, IA  and similar de-icing procedures are also being used in Omaha, Nebraska too. Check out this news report from

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National Radon Awareness Month

January is National Radon Awareness Month. Check out this video and learn the facts about exposure to radon. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. You can purchase a test kit at your local Lowes or Home Depot.

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Compost Study Findings

Check out this compost study which was performed by the Washington State Extension Service. Some of the highlights from this study were the following: A blind sweet corn test was performed and the sweet corn grown with compost actually tasted better than conventional soil practices. Their was a significant higher volume of nitrogen in the

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High Wind Warning

Typically in the winter, we talk about windchills, blizzard conditions and blowing and drifting snows. Today a High Wind Warning has been issued for a good part of the midwest. \Wind gusts between 50 – 60 mph are expected. Since much of this area has very little snow, we will see the affects of two

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One more look at some more cold experiments

This winter will be remembered as a cold winter that almost affected the whole country. With that being said, I think this winter will also go down as one which offered people some of the best video moments of cold experiments. Check out this news station’s experiments and consider trying these on your own the

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Shipping and Receiving Samples

This time of year can be very frustrating with respect to delays in shipping. Many people are extremely unhappy because their orders are not being received in time for Christmas. In addition, may people ship packages to friends and family and they await anxiously for their packages to arrive. Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world

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Restaurants are Turning Food Waste into Compost

Check out this story about restaurant food waste being turned into compost. Table scrapped food that is not eaten is saved and collected by a cooperative of 2,000 restaurants. 300 tons of wasted is collected daily. The waste is treated for 90 days and then it is delivered as compost to local growers. The compost

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Biofuel Production Explained for the Classroom.

Check out this video which really gives a gret perspective of what biofuels are and how biofuels are produced. Lots of great information about the current state of biofuels, the challenges that biofuels face and some ways that biofuels are being produced using cellulosic materials and algae. If you are a school teacher who talks

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Chlorine Levels in Drinking Water

It is always a good idea to know what is in your water? Check out this story on chlorine and nitrate. Very interesting!

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FDA wants farmers to limit antibiotics

Listen to this farmer in this news story. Antibioitics should be used when animals get sick. Some farmers use antibioitics to help add weight to animals. Responsible antibiotic use has been around with livestock producers. This isn’t a new idea. This inititative by the FDA has been announced as a voluntary limit and more inforation

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Fracking – Going Waterless

Check out this article, “Waterless fracking can eliminate toxic wastewater – December 7, 2013. It talks about the current process of using large volumes of water to bring oil from shale rock to the surface. The debate is out as to whether this process is environmentally safe. The following article mentions the use of propane

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Analysis Planning for 2014

This time of year the client services staff receives many inquiries through phone calls and the company website. It is a great time to call-in and have questions answered with respect to analysis capabilities and pricing information for budget planning purposes. This information is also very helpful to our Midwest Laboratories staff. Each year we

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Stinky Tap Water – Find out more about the cause

Check out this story of some stinky water in Des Moines, Iowa. Homeowners were complaining about smelly, dirty, musty water. It is an interesting look at how organic matter directly affects our public drinking water. The slight warm-up this past week brought organic matter, (dead plants and leaves) into the river. The local water works

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Testing Cleaning Solutions for the Home

Check out this test that was recently presented by News Station WFMY with the help of Wake Forest University. Check out this story as you get ready to clean your house for the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend. Notice which cleaners perform the best with respect to getting rid of bacteria. It is very interesting… Image courtesy

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Clean Energy | UPS

Clean Energy Fuels Corporation and UPS completed a deal on November 13, 2013 to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to two private UPS stations in Mesquite and Houston, Texas. “UPS has staked a leadership role by transitioning their fleet to cleaner-burning natural gas,” said James Harger, chief marketing officer for Clean Energy. “Opening the Texas

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Making the Most of Wastewater

Check out this story of how one company, GreenWhey Energy is taking wastewater that was once spread on fields to converting it into electricity. GreenWhey works with seven large dairies.  GreenWhey also produces biosolids as a co-product of this process. It is a very interesting story to check out and this video really takes a

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Is the water on airlines safe?

Check out this study. This is particularly alarming. The water comes from tanks in different airports and is transmitted through hoses. Check out this report and see the EPA Report which indicated 12% of all samples tested positive for coliform. Southwest Airlines has some of the cleanest water in the industry according to the EPA.

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Know the facts about ethanol for your car and small engine equipment

This past month, I conducted a few tests of gasoline from different pumps and came across some surpristing information. Lately, the talk has been that there is too much ethanol in our fuel. Will E-15 hurt my automobile’s engine? Why is ethanol being used to blend gasoline to get an octane reading of 87. I

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Midwest Laboratories Receiving

This time of the year, a lot of soil samples are received at Midwest Laboratories. Many growers check their fields as part of their soil nutrition plan and send samples from different grid points. In addition, other samples like feed, food, water and wastewater are being received as part of a regular quality testing plan.

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Testing Private Well Water

With recent flooding in Colorado and Nebraska along the Platte River, it may be time to check your private well water to insure that it is safe to drink. This fall I have seen an increase in the number of private wells being tested for quality. It is always a good idea to have your

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Toxins Found in City Park

Check out this story about contaminants found in the soil of some parks in Florida. This story should serve as an example of how all of us should really be aware of our surroundings and know some of the history of the land that has been developed. This historical information could help people take the

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Rebuilding Railroads in Colorado

Check out this news story of how Union Pacific is working hard to repair rail line in Colorado. Crews are working round the clock to hopefully have rail lines repaired in the next few weeks. Quary rock is being delivered by 20+ railcars a day from Wyoming to help rebuild  washed out rail lines. Picture

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e.Coli in Flood Waters

September has brought an onslaught of heavy rains and flash floods. It should be noted that flood waters may look safe, but these little areas could be full of parasites, bacteria and e.Coli. The following news story (2010) cautions people to wade in puddles with respect to these conditions. In addition, if your well water

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Colorado Flooding 2013

The past few days have been nothing but traumatic for the central part of Colorado. Flash floods have delivered some severe devastation to the area.  It will take years to clean-up these areas and some people lost all of their belongings and possessions. Check out more in this story. The people in these areas need

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Recycling Wastewater

I came across an interesting study that makes the case for recycling wastewater to recover water for drought-stricken crops. In the Southwestern United States, dry conditions are making it increasingly hard to find enough water supply to grow crops. This particular study showed that contaminants like pharmaceuticals and raw food items were absorbed in plants,

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Germs on Money and Credit Cards

Ever thought of how many times those dollar bills in your wallet and coins in your pocket have been touched. I have talked about this topic in the past, but I have not included credit cards.   Some of you may have never given much thought to this topic. Check out this news story and learn

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Bacteria and Lunch Boxes

Check out this story regarding lunch boxes and the growth of bacteria. With the schools starting up across the country, it is always a good reminder to make sure kids take precautions to stay as germ-free as possible. One area to focus on are school lunch boxes. It is so important that lunch boxes are

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Microcystin Testing

Over the past several weeks, the environmental client services staff have received several phone calls related to mirosystin toxins in lakes. Microcystins are cyclic nonribosomal peptides produced by cyanobacteria (e.g.Microcystis aeruginosa and Planktothrix). They are cyanotoxins and can be very toxic for plants and animals including humans. Their hepatotoxicity may cause serious damage to the liver. Source Wikipedia This issue is getting a lot of attention the

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Air Pollution in China | How Bad Is It?

Pollution in Bejing, China is 5 times as bad as the worse city in the United States. Everyday, people check the air quality and adjust their routine based on those figures. A 5 million dollar dome was built just to protect kids playing in an outside environment. Check out this recent CBS News Story on

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e.Coli in Drinking Water

Over the weekend a story out of the Denver Community, Brighton reminds us that proper water testing is needed to identify the presence of e.Coli and the source of the e.Coli. It never hurts to test your drinking water periodically and stay in contact with your local water provider to make sure proper water quality

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Wastewater Plant – Inside Look

Check out this video and learn what happens behind the scenes to insure a clean environmental infrastructure is in place for our cities and residencies. I know I often take these types of systems for granted. Take a couple of minutes and remember those people who are diligently working behind the scenes to insure that

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Lead Levels in Soil

This topic always seems to come to light. A former smelting plant is the root cause for the higher than normal levels in a neighborhood in Lincoln, Nebraska. The story, “Tests unearth lead issues in North Bottoms” was reported on June 12, 2013 in the Lincoln Journal Star. The story makes a good point that

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Well Water Testing

Here is a good video for collecting a water sample to insure your water is safe to drink. It is always a good idea to have your well water tested once a year. A very popular test is the Domestic Suitability Water Test. This particular test looks at the micro aspect of your water sample

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How often should I have an oil change

If you are like myself, you have one of those oil change reminder labels that lets us know when we should expect to have our oil changed. Typical time is 3,000 miles. If you are like me, it seems that sometimes this time frame can go by very fast and as a result it could

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Germs on Airplanes

Check out this news study regarding germs on airplanes. This news story should serve as a friendly reminder to not only plan with respect to your luggage and tickets but also to take steps to make your flight a safe and healthy trip. Some of the information in this story is very disgusting and down-right

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Well Water – Is it safe to drink?

This time of year, a number of people drop off water sample to check and insure that their well water is safe to drink. It is always a good idea to regularly test your water, at least once a year. I really like how this video goes through step by step to give you the

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Workplace Kitchens Worse Than Toilet

Check out this study it revealed the following, …half of surfaces in workplace kitchens are contaminated by dangerously high levels of coliforms … it also showed that the handles of shared fridge-freezers were bacteria-rife, with a third carrying high levels of coliforms …30% of microwaves are contaminated. Source: dailymail.co.uk by Emma Innes The research was

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Plastic Bag Ban

Check out this study that a Clemson University Student, Nathan Weaver did with respect to a plastic bag ban. One grocery store in Clemson, hands out 15,000 plastic bags a week. Of these, less than 1% are recycled. It is something to think about with respect to going more green and with Earth Day coming up on

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2013 Waste Water and Drinking Water Report

Check out this video from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Many cities and states are spending tax dollars repairing and replacing their infrastructures to meet the water and waste water needs for the future. In the United States there are 240,000 water main breaks each year. This video clip is very informative and it really

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Spring Cleaning Tips

Have you ever thought of purchasing a few chemicals and tools and creating your own cleaning products? Check out this video and see how you can save money by making your own spring cleaning products. Watch this video and receive a chemistry lesson along with some cleaning recipes. I am amazed that this cleaning company

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Using bacteria to increase energy

This is really interesting!  Using bacteria to create energy is a much more sustainable way to break down waste and convert it to energy. Check out more in this short video. The goal someday is to develop enough energy to run a waste water plant.  See the process first-hand in this video.  

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Chromium in Tainted Soil

I came across this article, “Have to Give Toenails for Toxin Testing” and had to read on. In Garfield, New Jersery, it seems that hexavalent chromium a carcinogen has infiltrated the neighborhoods of this suburban town. The EPA is prepared to start drilling in this area to determine how much chromium is hidden beneath the

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Snow and Soil Temperatures in March

How did you deal with the snow this weekend? It was more of a nuisance. The good news is that temperatures by the end of the week are supposed to be in the upper 50’s. Current soil temperatures are right at 32 degrees, which could mean that a lot of this precipitation could become part

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Metals Laboratory | Midwest Laboratories

Learn more about the role the Metals Laboratory plays at Midwest Laboratories. Led by Barry Blessing and his team, the Midwest Laboratories Metals Lab  analyzes a variety of samples for their elemental composition. Check out a quick video and learn more. The Midwest Laboratories Metals Laboratory serves clients across the country. Turnaround time and high quality

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Earthworms and Climate Change

The debate is earthworms and carbon. Are earthworms responsible for global warming? The Answer -more studies are needed. Also, it should be noted that earthworms add value with respect to soil fertility. A collective study between different countries indicates earthworms are multiplying at a faster rate than ever. Earthworms produce green house gasses. Bacteria and

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Winter Storms and Midwest Laboratories

If you thought spring was just around the corner, think again. The talk all week has been about “The Thursday Storm” for this part of the country, (Central States in United States). Stories like this one, “Blizzard Brewing from Goodland to Grand Island” are warning all of us about the threat for heavy snow and

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Plants help lower temperatures

Here is an interesting study being conducted in Australia that is looking at the effect of cooling cities by adding more plants . Temperatures can be as much as 4 degrees warmer in the city of Melbourne than surrounding areas – this is known as the ‘urban heat island effect’. And on rainy days these

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Bacteria and Soda Fountains

This story about the growth of total coliform bacteria and e.Coli on soda pop fountain nozzles is still being told. We looked at this story, “Soda Fountains Contain Fecal Bacteria” in January, 2010. It really comes down to proper cleaning and disinfecting of the soda fountain nozzles. In addition, sometimes the lines from the pop to the machine have

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Midwest Laboratories Video Series – Receiving Samples

Check out today’s environment at Midwest Laboratories with respect to receiving samples.    

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National Radon Action Month

January is typically -National Radon Action Month. Radon is colorless odorless gas which usually comes into a person’s house through the basement. The EPA has some good information on radon on their website. This site is very informative with lots of illustrations and examples. Check out this video for an up-close perspective on this topic.

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Water Hardness

It is always good to check your drinking water for “water hardness”. You may be asking, “What is Water Hardness?”  Check out this explanation of water hardness from Fairfax County, VA Water Authority. Many industrial and domestic water users are concerned about the hardness of their water. Hard water requires more soap and synthetic detergents

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Winter Road Salt and Your Car

Each winter I take my car in and wash that white glaze of salt off of the car.  Check out this list of items to deal with road salt and your car from NTB to consider when dealing with Road Salt and your Car. Here is a quick summary: Plan Ahead Give your car a

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Landfills – A perspective

Check out this very educational video regarding landfills. It will help you get a better understanding of some of the history of how we dispose of garbage and what steps are taken to design a landfill system. The landfill in the video is located in Lincoln, Nebrasaka – Lancaster County.

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The Snow is coming

I know some parts of the country have already received large amounts of snow this winter. Today is the day of the first major winter storm for this area of the country.   However, it is always amazing to me how the talk of a storm coming creates so much hype. You could see it

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Waste Vegetable Oil Production

See how one man has developed a recipe for his own vehicle. This is a very cool story of chemistry and fuel production coming together. At Midwest Laboratories, we analyze Waste Vegetable Oils from different production facilities across the United States. photo credit: Microcosm Publishing! via photopin cc

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Cell Phone Germ Test

Check out this story. People, everywhere are texting and touching their phones when they are using the restroom. Wait a second, I need to put some hand sanitizer on my hands. Twenty years ago, people did not carry cell  phones with them. Now, it is almost unusual to see someone without a cell phone. Do

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Flood Water Testing

Check out this story on the water being tested after Hurricane Sandy. I know this occurred a few weeks ago, but this story should serve as a helpful reminder as to how dangerous flood water can be, especially in areas affected by hurricanes. photo credit: joysaphine via photopin cc

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Increased Well Water Testing

I came across this article, “NBC-17 Investigates: Well water testing triples for state lab”  this morning and could not help and think that private laboratories such as Midwest Laboratories are setup to handle testing large sample volumes for VOC’s -Volative Organic Compounds. Testing well water is always a good idea each year to insure that

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Dining out and Germs

Did you see the 20/20 Documentary regarding bacteria in restaurants? You have to watch this video. The information will astound you with respect to germ presence in restaurants. Watch More News Videos at ABC | 2012 Presidential Election | Entertainment & Celebrity News photo credit: Svadilfari via photopin cc

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Radiation from Cell Phones

Could cell phones really be dangerous to our health? Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com Check out this information from C|NET A cell phone’s SAR, or its Specific Absorption Rate, is a measure of the amount of radio frequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body when using the handset. All cell phones emit RF energy

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Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

There are a number of relief efforts occurring as we speak. It will take time to get back to some normalcy. These pictures really show the amount of damage that occurred as a result of this event. Consider a donation to the Red Cross   The Red Cross continues to focus on reaching as many

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Post Hurricane Sandy – Long Waits

I was listening to a New York Radio station this morning and its unbelievable to hear about the long lines for gas and transportation. A number of people are trying to keep their cars and generators going during this difficult time. Check out more in this story and keep these people in your prayers this

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Hurricane Sandy Cleanup

Check out this video news story and try to get a sense of the massive cleanup that will need to occur over the next several weeks. 47 miles of subway track underwater Pumping up contaminated water Health hazzards with respect to cleanup Repairing tracks and roads Hauling out debris buried in tunnels and the list

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Have a Safe Halloween

Take some precautions today as you hand out treats or take your youngsters around the neighborhood. It’s all about going a little slower and being more aware of your surroundings. Check out this video as a friendly reminder and have a safe time. Adults Please drive slower, especially in your neighborhood Check your children’s candy

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Hurricane Sandy leaves its mark

Check out these news stories regarding Hurricane Sandy. Much work will need to occur to restore this area. Obviously, the health and safety of people are the highest priority in any type of disaster and steps were taken to communicate the potential power of this storm. Check out these stories. Check out this news story

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Science and Slime

It is that time of the year when science and chemistry classes around the country are creating slime for the Halloween season. This is a great activity to show how molecules come together and give kids an appreciation for science. Check out this video! photo credit: jurvetson via photopin cc

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Germs in the waiting room

Check out this story which looks at germs in waiting rooms.  It is a very good reminder how germs can take hold and be spread, especially in high-traffic area and places. For me, it was a good reminder to constantly wash my hands and carry some hand sanitizer with me. photo credit: jakebwotha via photopin

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Safe Food Preparation

This video gives some straight-forward principles to help you be safe with respect to food preparation and being safe. Bacteria growth should be a concern of all people who deal with food preparation. Check out this video for some simple techniques to reduce the threat of bacteria with respect to food preparation. The presentation summarizes

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Hazardous Chemicals in Beauty Products

Check out this news clip regarding the dangerous chemicals you may be exposing your body to on a daily basis. Lead in lipsticks Bacteria in mascara brushes Parabens are also being found in cosmetics. Parabens have been linked to cancer Fragrances can contain hazardous chemicals. Some tips to consider Carefully read ingredient lists Avoid powder

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Google – Building Sustainability

Check out this story on how Google looks at sustainability as a part of its overall process. It’s incorporated into all facets of it’s buildings and processes. It starts with simple things like food, water and light. It is a very interesting approach. photo credit: ~C4Chaos via photopin cc

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Toxic Mold and Building a New Home

Are you building a house this summer? Check out this story of a new house that used wet lumber behind the drywall. It is really a sad story of how things can go wrong in a hurry. It may not hurt to keep an eye out on the progress of your home as it is

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Sampling Supplies

I wanted to give you a picture of the type of supplies that are sent out from Midwest Laboratories Shipping Location. Take a look at the picture on the right. Let me explain some of the items in the picture. Soil probes in long cardboard boxes. Styrofoam coolers with containers for environmental samples and manure

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Google’s Water Footprint

Managing water at Google’s Data Center Check out how Google recycles wastewater to help cool its data center instead of normal drinking water. Minimizing the energy footprint is part of an overall strategy at Google photo credit: vincenthorn via photo pin cc

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Drought forces new well drilling

The drought has also brought on another issue. Wells are running dry. In Missouri alone, 3700 farmers have been approved for a new well.  The state will pay up to 90% of the costs, the farmer will pay for the remainder of the balance. Check out this video.  This is an issue that will need

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Hidden Germs in Hotel Rooms

Check out this story! If you pay more, does this guarantee your room is germ free. The story gives an interesting look at a number of items you may or may not have thought of with respect to germ counts. Here were some of the findings that really surprised me: The room service menu had

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Get ready for a lawn revival in August and September

In the Midwest, it appears the extreme heat has taken a bit of a break. We are still not receiving the rain like we need but the lower temperatures are helping to keep things not nearly as dry as they were during the month of July. I came across this article, “Dealing with post-drought lawns”

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Cell Phone Bacteria

Check out this study regarding bacteria and cell phones.  This is a good reminder for parents to make sure their children be aware of sharing their phone with their friends. It appears from this video that cell phones can really spread bacteria and germs quite easily. Also, a good cleaning with some type of alcohol

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Bottled water is mostly tap water

Have you really checked out a bottled water label lately? I drink a lot of bottled water when I work out and when I am working outside of the house. Check out this news story from CNN. I was initially shocked. I thought some of the name-brand water actually came from spring water sources.  It

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Sutainability Car Wash

Check out this video and see how one car wash company, Cactus Carwash has taken sustainability to a new level by recycling its own water and saving electricity. It is a great story that shows that sustainability can also provide value to the bottom line. photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker via photo pin cc

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Germs and your car

Check out this video! Our own vehicles can be a huge breeding ground for bacteria. In this study, thousands and thousands  of bacteria were found  on the car doors, car seats and floors. The germiest cars were found where it is more humid like in the southeastern states. The moldiest cars were found in the

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See the affects of the 2012 drought

The drought rages on. Last night, rain looked very promising, but after 1-2 minutes, the rain quickly passed through the Omaha Metropolitan Area. Check out the following videos and see how the drought is affecting the state of Nebraska. Also, listen to the last video report and begin to understand what the affects of this

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Disturbing news regarding swimming pools

With the hot weather, and many people headed to the pool, a new study indicated that pools may be a nasty place for germs and bacteria. Out of respect for your neighbors who are also using the pool, please take a shower before entering the pool and keep your own internal waste to yourself and

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How the drought is affecting marinas

The biggest drought since 1956 is upon us and the ripple effect will Check out how lake levels have been affected as well as local lake businesses. I could not believe how the water levels have fallen so drastically in two years. The drought will be affecting all types of businesses and ultimately our own

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Keep your house cool with these tips

With temperatures hovering 100 degrees over the past few weeks and no relief in site, it is important to take steps to insure a cool, comfortable environment for yourself and your family. I came across this article and wanted to highlight some tips that really struck me. “23 Tips for Keeping the House Cool” Provide

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Well Water Testing and Fracking

Fracking is really becoming popular in a number of states and the following video reminded me of the importance for well owners to have their water tested. The test results can serve as a baseline for future reference. The debate is out on whether the practice of fracking is safe or not. Because of this,

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Dealing with the mosquitoes this summer

This morning, with the temp hovering at 65 degrees, I saw all kinds of bugs and gnats flying around my house lights.Here are some tips for dealing with mosquitoes. Source ABC WLS-TV Report “How to keep pests from ruining your summer fun” 5Tipss to Take Back Yards from Mosquitoes Tip. Reduce standing water. Check children’s

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Plastic Bottles – Production to Recycling

Those plastic bottled water containers contain PET – Polyethylene terephthalateplastic. It has several qualities that make it the container of choice compared to metal and glass. 100% Recyclable Reduced amount of raw materials needed Less energy to transport Leaves a smaller carbon footprint Less packaging for protection To see the process in action, I would

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Recycling Rain Water

Today, I wanted to take a closer look at this topic. What is involved with recycling rain water? I came across the following video from the SmartPlanet.com site and I think the 2 minute plus video does a great job of explaining what is involved. Wait till you see how the water is stored. I

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Conserving water in your lawn and garden areas

With above normal temperatures in many parts of the country, water may become a precious resource this summer. It’s n0t too early to think about taking ways to conserve water. Here are some tips. Water deep a couple of times a week versus a little bit each day. This approach maximizes water in the soil

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Helium shortage could affect many businesses

In the last few days more news surrounding the current helium shortage is being released. I was reminded of this story in my local newspaper. “Helium shortage deflates grad parties” – Omaha World-Herald, May 22, 2012. Some parts of the article really struck me: The problems began when the federal government enacted a cost-cutting law

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Green Cleaning

Source: cozi.com via Beckie on Pinterest Using some water, lemons, baking soda, salt and vinegar, you can take steps to make your home a healthier and safer one. Some good tips in this video. Are there some other items you use as part of your green cleaning? I would like to believe there are some

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The Greens and Browns of Composting

Check out this video, “Tips for  Composting” from About.com What caught my attention were the two groups of items for composting: The Greens and The  Browns. THE GREENS – This group is made up of the following items: Manure Grass Cuttings Vegetable and Fruit Scraps, Old Flowers Coffee Grounds, Filter Paper and Tea Bags Egg

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Phosphorus Free Fertilizer in Michigan

Starting the beginning of 2012,  the Michigan Fertilizer Law restricts the use of  phosphorus fertilizer on residence and commercial lawns including baseball fields and golf courses. Protecting Water Quality – Phosphorus is a naturally occurring essential nutrient for plant and animal growth. It is also a primary water quality concern in Michigan. When excess phosphorus

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Clean Environment Company – A Good Story

I came across this article in today’s Omaha World-Herald, “A Natural Leader in Cleaners” This is a must-read about a company that has successfully produed “green cleaning products”  for a number of years. It is a great story about a company with only four employees that makes natrual cleaning products that are used across the

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Fixing dead spots in your lawn

Your spring lawn is quickly turning thick and green. Now is the time to address those few dead spots in your lawn. I really like this video. It talks about three simple techniques to use when addressing your dead spots. I think the principles in this video can also be applied to a whole section

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What is Earth Day all about.

Earth Day can be answered by this simple question: How do my actions affect the earth? History Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970 by Gaylord Nelson. Earth Day went global  April 22, 1990. Definition Earth Day is all about taking responsibility for helping create a a clean world: Air, Earth, Water Today,

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USAToday Lead in Soil Study

Did you see the USAToday story this week? Soils were tested in 13 different states and tested more that 1,000 soils in 2,100 neighborhoods. Very high lead levels were found.  Read the article and watch this video. There is alot of work to be done. Picture via geojanitor

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Bacteria on Trays and in Lunch Boxes

Check out this study of 45 fast-food trays and 100 lunch boxes in North Carolina. The laboratory study tested for fecal bacteria, listeria and staph. I like this study because it actually tested a larger number of locations. Here were some of the highlights: The trays came back with no evidence of fecal bacteria, listeria

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Toilet Paper Testing

If you are like me, I like to check-in on Consumer Reports and read some reviews of products and services. It really is all about adding value through testing. In this report check out the strength, sensory/softness, proper tearing along perforation and disintegration.   Some company view thoughts: Through this testing, these companies will know

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Getting an oil change soon..read this first

I came across this article the other day in the New York Times “California Urges Drivers to Change the Oil Less Often” January 4, 2012 by Mary M. Chapman. The article looks at studies that are showing that automobile owners do not have to change their oil every 3,000 miles. Mr. Jeff Danzinger, California Department

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Germs and Childrens Play Areas

I am revisiting this topic of germs and childrens’ play areas from last year.. It appears this issues is still a problem. Children play areas are not safe. These areas are unsafe for a number of health reasons ranging from loose bolts to feces and urinary smells. In California,  legislation is being introduced to address

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Bring Your Own Bag

Check out this story of how a community, (South Sioux City, Nebraska) is trying to take steps to make a difference. The “Bring Your Own Bag” Committee was formed to get the word out regarding this initiative. I also like how this story also focuses on how to make this program a reality by washing

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Mercury found in products that lighten skin

This month a story out of  the San Francisco Bay area suggests that several skin products may contain mercury. The following article, “Mercury laden skin creams sought in Bay Area” takes a closer look at this issue and sites a 2010 case where a 39-year old woman was found to have more than 100 times

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Compost Troubleshooting

Are you trying to start a compost process at your home and running into some issues. I saw this article, “Troubleshooting your compost” and wish an article like this would have been around when I had issues getting started with ta compost bin. Your Compost is Taking Too Long Compost needs to reach temperatures around 150

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Higher Gas Prices

Check out this news story from ABC News. With rising prices, thieves are getting more creative. Check out the video. As gas prices inch closer to $4.00, Americans will feel the pinch and will start cutting back spending in other areas. Hopefully, the current rise in gas prices will change soon. video platform video management

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Turning Shopping Centers into Food Markets

Have you noticed that some shopping malls are going through some very tough times.  Changes with respect to a poor retail economy and the changing habits of shoppers buying on the internet and making short trips at local strip malls have really had a negative impact on traditional shopping malls. Well some malls are getting

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Germs and Grocery Store Carts

I thought this story was very interesting. I have come across several studies over the years that indicate grocery carts to be one of the most likely places for bacteria to settle. Because of the frequent touching by consumers shopping for their grocery needs, many people pick up unwanted germs from carts. Nowadays, many stores

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National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month. Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that is released in rock, soil, and water from the natural decay of uranium. It seeps into buildings, building up in your indoor air. You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home.

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Do you love earthworms?

Sometimes this little slimy critter is taken for granted. Often times we see them during heavy rains or when we are digging up our soil to plant a tree or our garden. Maybe we should we respect these critters a little more and applaud them for the work that they do. They areate our soil

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Are you drinking wastewater

I came across this article, “Report: Wastewater preferable to wasting water” Many communities reuse wastewater for irrigation and industrial purposes. Some — notably Cloudcroft, N.M., and California’s Orange County — have treatment facilities to reuse it as drinking water. The article points to water reuse as a viable option to working with water scarcity. Many

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Fungicide found in Orange Juice

The fungicide  at issue is carbendazim – a fugicide which controls plant disease. It is often referred to as one of the “filthy four” pesticides.  Source pan-uk.org It is illegal to use this fungicide in the United States.   35 parts per billion carbendazim had been found in samples of orange juice products in the United

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Mercury in CFL’s Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Have you made the switch to the new energy efficient light bulbs? I do like the fact that they do save energy and I have found that the new bulbs do last longer than the older conventional light bulbs. One of the concerns I have is the amount of mercury contained in the bulbs. I

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No Ethanol Credits means higher prices

The oil companies will no longer receive a $.45 per gallon federal tax credit is no longer in place, as a result prices will go up. Typically when we hear these words, we naturally think of the ethanol producer and the  reduced number of sales of the product. But now, with the tax credit gone,

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Ohio Quakes linked to oil drilling waste

I came across this article in the USAToday concerning this subject, “Ohio Quakes linked to oil drilling waste pumped into wells” According to the article, “Oil-drilling wastewater pumped into a northeast Ohio well is responsible for 11 minor earthquakes around Youngstown since last spring, including one Saturday, a seismologist tells the Associated Press.” More minor

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Recycling Scrapped Tires

Here is a great video presentation on recycling scrapped tires. 12 million tires a year  being turned into sustainable products Think about all of those scrapped tires that are burned or that are laying in junk yards and waste yards. This is one area that is continually being looked at for recyclying but could probably

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Rush Samples

Around the holidays, clients consistently need rush analysis. Today, I received a call from a client who needs analysis records for an important business transaction tomorrow.  At Midwest Laboratories, these type of requests are pretty regular. It is for this reason that our company does not take an extended vacation time. Companies rely on the

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Gummy Bear Recall

This week a very isolated recall occurred in the United States regarding gummy bears and possible heavy metal contamination.  The report by the FDA list the store locations and indicates that the recall is for a remote possibility of heavy metals. As the story came out, I wanted to look at the ingredients and see

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Hand Dryers and Paper Towels

Check out this video of a news story regarding this topic. I looked at this topic of hand dryers versus paper towels awhile back and wanted to revisit it again. What I found interesting about the video is the way the testing occurred. Students were asked to touch surfaces that people regularly touch. Buttons on

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Tips on Caring for Your Christmas Tree

You have purchased your Christmas Tree and you are trying to care for it during this Holiday Season. Here are some tips you might want to consider as you care for your tree at your home location. For more tips, consider this site Caring for a Christmas Tree. Use Cold Water – Hot water offers

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Counterfeit Products

Check out this article “Cheap Fakes: 10 Ordinary Items Now Counterfeited”  This article is very disturbing.  A number of companies are trying to make a fast buck by creating imitation products. Most of these products look very similar to the real products, but they are clearly not the real products.  If you are a consumer,

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Some eco-friendly ice melters

Snow and Ice are beginning to fall in this part of the country Check out this article, “Ice Melters: Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Rock Salt” by Kristine Hansen, January 19, 2011 Here is a quick article summary: Traditional Rock Salt is not environmentally friendly. It can corrode asphalt and cement and have an adverse impact on

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10 Items to consider when winterizing your home

This fall in the midwest has been an unusually warm, dry season.  As the temperatures fall as we get closer to the end of November and approach December, it is always a good idea to look at ways to prepare our homes for winter.  I came across this article, Winterizing Your Home and it has

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Arsenic in Water Report

I came across this article, Arsenic in Iowa’s water supplies and took a closer look at the numbers listed in the report. Here is a summary of some of the numbers that stood out for me. The article has more specifics with respect to locations and reports. Check out these numbers: “Arsenic accounted for about

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Lead in Soil

Checking for lead in your soil is always a good idea. High levels of lead, above 400 ppm (parts per million) can cause health issues especially with children.  Lead cleanup in the Omaha area has been going on since 2009 and it traces back to a closed plant, Asarco that released lead emissions from the

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Some alternatives to commercial air fresheners

Often times, there are odors coming from a musty room or some mold growing on a scrap of moist food. Typically, we combat the issue with a commercial air freshener product, but often these products create a synthetic smell and we are learning that in some cases they may not be all that healthy. I

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Missouri River Flood Recovery

I came across this story, “MISSOURI RIVER FLOOD:  Recovery begins” by Katie Novak  in the Midwest Producer Magazine.  It talks about the damage the flood waters have done to the farmers land. Here are some items mentioned by the article that I wanted to highlight.” John Wilson – Burt County Extension  was quoted in this

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Contaminated Private Wells

The U.S. Geological Survey conducted a national research  project which monitored private wells for two dozen trace elements and found that 13 percent of untreated drinking water contains at least one element at a concentration that exceeds federal heath regulations. I came across this statement and other supporting findings in the following article,   “It’s elemental:

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Bacteria at the Gym

You are working out trying to get in shape, at the same time you are trying to avoid getting sick. Yes- gyms and health clubs are breeding grounds for bacteria. I came across this aricle, “How to Avoid Bacteria in the Gym” by K. Cossaboon. The following information was taken from this article. I think

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Satellite hits earth today

Have you heard the news that today, September 23, 2011 is the day the NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, UARS  plunges to earth somewhere? This story will be updated all day today to keep people informed as to the best estimation of where it will land. Here is a video demonstration of what has occurred

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Wastewater Sludge to Biosolids

The Exeter Township  Wastewater  plant recently completed an installation of a $6.5 million biosolids dryer facility.  (Source: Dryer helps wastewater plant cut landfill costs by Erin Connor – September 15, 2011)  The plant is located 60 miles northwest from Philadelphia.  Some interesting points are made in the article. The dryer takes the sludge, dries it

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Dealing with Flooded Farm Land

As the water recedes in parts of Nebraska and Iowa, and other flooded areas across the United States, the work is just beginning. Typically the 2011 Floods  have washed out the nutrient-rich topsoil and replaced it with a layer of silt.  In addition, there is debris removal and lots of erosion and repair of infrastructure.

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Why do leaves change color in the fall

The cooler temperatures this week have reminded me that fall is just around the corner. Soon, the leaves on trees will be changing and the days will be getting shorter and shorter.  I wanted to take some time and look at this process of how leaves change colors.  I came across this article, “Why leaves

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Contact Voltage

I saw this news story last night and could not believe it. Old frayed live wires come in contact with metal and become a shocking hazard. The news story mentioned voltage from 127 volts to 227 volts. People have been killed by coming in contact with these light poles and other metal structures. You have

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Hurricane Irene – The Aftermath

More people were hit by Hurricane Irene than any other storm in United States history.  Today we will learn more about all of the devastation that occurred this weekend. Homes, Businesses, Roads, Power lines, Trees and Automobiles. At least 21 deaths and 4.5 million people without electricity.  The aftermath of this storm will be felt

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Antibacterial Soaps and Triclosan

According to a recent New York Times article, “Antibacterial Chemical Raises Safety Issues” there may be some cause for concern regarding some anti-bacterial soaps and a chemical called triclosan. Triclosan is currently being evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration because of safety concerns. Triclosan has been around for 40 years and was introduced as

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Omaha Agri-Business Meeting

Monday, August 29, 2011 Place:  Anthony’s Steakhouse 12.00pm – 1.15pm Bruce Wiles, Wiles Brothers will speak about the effects of the current  Missouri River Flooding  is having on his cropland and the actions he has taken and is in the process of taking with respect to this disaster. It should be an interesting session. Check

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School Supplies PVC – Free

It is that time of year when parents and children are crossing off all of the school items required by their teachers. I came across this guide, CHEJ PVC-Vree School Supplies provided by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice.  It has a list of items to consider when purchasing school supplies. I have to

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Back to School Mold Check

This subject really caught me by surprised and was a good wake-up call. This morning I was searching for an article on mold and put the word “mold” in the search bar and wanted to see the latest entries so I searched Google News for mold and could not believe that a majority of the

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Biosolids – Know the facts

I came across an article “Biosolids not all bad, says boosters” . This article speaks to a battle raging over the future of Nova Scotia’s soil. Some of the opposition believe biosolids present a clear risk to human health because of the accumulation of heavy metals and chemicals found in biosolids.  Discussions  like the one

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Bisphenol A in Dollar Bills and Receipts

Yesterday, it was announced that BPA has been found in all types of currency. Cash receipts and bank notes also contain the substance BPA.  More information can be found in this article, “Paper currency tainted with drugs and bisphenol A” “Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical  used as a plastics hardener. Many products that are

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Heat Wave 2011

Please be smart and make sure you are dealing with the heat in appropriate ways. Drink plenty of water and water.  On July 14, 2011 the National Weather Service declared Heat Warnings for 14 states.  Oklahoma has had 27 days of temperatures over 100 degrees.  Excessive heat is the biggest weather killer on average, with

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Fish Ingesting Plastic

I came across this article, “Fish ingesting plastic waste, study says” 250 million tons of plastic is produced each year, of that figure, 7 million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean In the Pacific Ocean, 24,000 tons of plastic is ingested by fish. The point the article tries to make is that

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Is your steering wheel making you ill

Your steering wheel is collecting more bacteria than a toilet seat!  – This statement was made after researchers at Queen Mary University, London discovered there are almost nine times as many bacteria on a steering wheel than a toilet seat. Results of the study: Steering Wheel – 700 bacteria per square inch Toilet Seat – 

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Germs and Airplanes

Airplanes are one of the places which is a haven for germs to breed.  I came across this article, “6 places germs breed in a plane” and I think it really hits the mark as to how you can protect yourself. Here are the 6 areas to look for: Source http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ Tip 1 Water –

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All Natural Fast Food

Sounds like an oxymoron!  It is true! I could not believe it myself. Shake Shack – An east coast Hamburger Fast-Food Chain is quickly becoming a popular restaurant out east. Check out this menu of all-natural ingredients from their website under the Food Category, Nutritional Information. Shake Shack Shake Shack prides itself in sourcing premium

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Flood waters could damage existing grains

“The grain impacted by the 2011 flooding should be destroyed and not blended with uncontaminated grain”  Source  Wallace Farmer, June 25, 2011 Most of the grain that was stored prior to the floods had been moved, but what about the current grain in the field. “Iowa Secretary  of Agriculture Bill Northey, reminded farmers in a

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What is the connection betwen Toyota and Compost

Toyota has developed a deodorizer for swine manure compost, according to an article at Marketwatch.com, June 20, 2011.  Toyota Roof Garden Co., LTd a TMC, (Toyota Motor Corporation subsidiary) has manufactured and released a product to …breakdown ammonia as well as butryic acid, propionic and acid and other short-chain fatty acids that contribute to the

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Missouri River Flood – View from above

Check out this view from a person landing into Eppley Airfield by Omaha, Nebraska.  This video was shot on June 13, 2011. Think of the devastation that has already occurred. Look at the Interstate underwater.

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Missouri River Flooding 2011- Checking Levees

Today, people everywhere are moving their belongings, working around the clock to reinforce levees with the upcoming Missouri River Flooding eventually making a big impact on Iowa and Nebraska Communities. Hamburg Iowa looks to be the first town that could be hit the hardest. Preparations are being made to reinforce levees.  “Swollen Missouri River threatening

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Missouri River Flood Preparations 2011

Today, I am leaving you with some real pictures of projected flooding that will occur along the Missouri River in the next 7 to 10 days with no relief in site. The problem lies further upstream in Montana. Heavy snows and recent heavy rains have created snow/water levels over 200% above normal and up to

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Living Green – What Works and What Doesnt

I have often wondered about what it would take to go green or at least do my part to change some of my habits to create a cleaner  environment. Some the ways I have changed Switched to energy-efficient bulbs, (although the new bulbs are full of mercury) not sure this counts Planted a garden to

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Asian Carp Invasion

Have you heard about this infestation of Asian Carp? I saw a story on ESPN that reminded me of this terrible tragedy.  Asian Carp are invading water areas everywhere. These fish eat plankton and drive all other variety of fishes out of the area.   You cannot miss these fish. They fly everywhere, knocking into boats

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Toxic Flame Retardants in baby products and recycled carpet

I came across this story on the CBS Evening News and looked at it more closely this morning in the Environmental Health News article, Array of flame retardants found in baby car seats, changing pads, other items. The article suggests that 80% of all baby products contain some type of flame retardants.  A study was

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Dealing with Mold

Mold is nothing to mess around with.  Be aware of mold forming in moist, wet areas of your home.   According to the site, HowStuffWorks.com, you should use your nose as the first indicator and check for mold in these areas of your house: Under carpets and carpet pads Behind wall paper or draperies Behind drywall,

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Eating food with fine pieces of wood

Are you aware that you are eating fine pieces of wood in some of your food products. I came across this subject in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal Article “Cellulose in Foods” “Cellulose products, gums and fibers allow food manufactures to offer white bread with high dietary fiber content, low-fat ice cream that still feels creamy

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Toxins in your house

Which is worse the air in your backyard or in your house? According to the article, “Let your house breathe to remove toxins” the air in your house is much worse than the air outside because there are so many pollutants like scent of paint, (benzene), carbon monoxide, pet dander, gas leaks, radon, mold and

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Testing for Mercury

The Sierra Club of California suggests that coal plants and fish could be producing high levels of mercury in the water and air in the Southern California region. Salons were assisting by clipping 30 strands of hair close to the scalp as part of a test to determine the levels of mercury in their hair.

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Nitrogen in gasoline

You have seen the signs at Shell Gas Stations advertising “quality fuels” nitrogen enriched gasolines.  This formulation has been on the market for two years. If you need a reminder check out the video at the bottom of the post. Today, I wanted to look at this topic a little closer to understand why nitrogen

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Radiation levels found in water

            The following news story reported that radiation levels were found in Richland, Washington. The levels were extremely low and I like the way the News Station reports this story with the facts and does not use scare tactics. I would invite you to watch this 2-minute video and see

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Testing soil for lead in community gardens

Checking for Lead in Community Gardens Community gardens are becoming a popular trend in urban america. In some places community gardens have been a staple for years and years. This week,  I received a call from a community garden representative who was concerned about the presence of lead.  I also came across this article, Lead,

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Is the ice rink making us sick

Hidden dangers on the ice rink.   |  Carbon Monoxide The culprits, fuel-powered ice resurface  machines and ice edger machines.  The carbon monoxide levels can be  at dangerous levels in a matter of minutes. Three states currently have laws regarding  carbon monoxide levels in ice ranks. Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about

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Reusable Bags and Bacteria

Are you a green shopper and bring your own bags when you go to the grocery store? If so…you might want to pay attention to this story. You have to wash them.. The bags are bacteria collectors… 51% of the bags tested contained chloroform bacteria Wash the bags, once a week with detergent! Study: Reusable

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A Plea for Business Applications for iPad and Smart Phones

Applications Finding a good application is really hard to find. Yes, there are are some technical apps, but aren’t we able to do the same thing with our computers.  I think taking applications on a mobile, portable basis requires a much more innovative application. I am on a quest to find an application  that adds

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Green Cleaners

It appears that just like the regular cleaning solutions, there are green cleaners that are better at certain types of cleaning than others. Green cleaning is a buzzword and several magazines like Family Circle are suggesting tips and recipes for homemade cleaning solutions. However, my question has always been..Do green cleaners really work? Consumer Reports

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US Composting Council Conference

The USCC 2011 Conference & Tradeshow is in full swing. This conference impresses me with the list of presentations. To give you some idea of the vast knowledge on this subject, check out the categories being looked at: Planning for Growth Regulation and Climate Change Emissions Bioplastics Education Anaerobic Digestion and Renewable Energy Mortality and

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Why is salt used on roads?

Salt Temperature Properties Obviously, salt is used on roads to help melt the snow and ice… However did you know how well salt works to melt ice: A 10% salt solution freezes at 20 degrees F  (-6 C) A 20% salt solution freezes at 2 degrees F (-16 C) Source  Howstuffworks.com Salt’s Effectiveness Salt lowers

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Green House Gases Announcement

Green House Gasses It is a topic that has been thrown around during the Obama Administration. In addition,  the agriculuture community has been told that monitoring is coming to look and study this topic. Today’s Announcement Today, AWS Convergence Technologies , (New Name -Earth Networks) of Maryland plan to announce that it will be making

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Fluoride in Drinking Water

What do you think of the U.S.  lowering fluoride in your drinking water from 1.2 ppm to .7ppm? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is recommending these changes to the EPA. Officials are recommending lowering the amount of the chemical in drinking water because of an increase in a condition called ‘fluorosis’ which

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Midwest Labs News Stories in 2010

Midwest Laboratories had three news stories featured in  the local media. The most important news story that affected the most people in our area was Project Safe Water Can you remember back to this summer when we had lots of rain and flooding in Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa was particularly bad. Many people along

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Are shampoos safe

For the most part, we really do not think much about using shampoo on a regular basis, but could we be exposing ourselves to some harmful chemicals. Some Chemicals to Avoid I came across this article and it listed the following chemicals to be aware of. * DMDM Hydantoin – Allergen and irritant that can

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Spots on your dishes

Are Your Dishes Clean? Have you noticed your dishwasher not working very well in recent months. There may be a good reason. Several dish detergent producers are reducing the “phosphate content” in their products. Lower Phosphates Responding to laws that went into effect this past July, 2010. Now the phosphate content cannot be more than

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Recycling Food Scraps

Past Experience of Recycling In my personal attempt to become more green, I switched trash haulers and received a recycle container, same size as trash container to better reduce trash and recycle items like paper, cardboard and aluminum.  By doing this, I reduced my trash volume and feel better about recycling materials for a cleaner

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Paper Towels or Air Dryers?

Which method is better at fighting germs? The New York Times Addresses this topic, “The Claim: PaperTowels Thwart More Germs than Air Dryers Do” Some Questions To Think About Which one would you prefer when you are washing your hands and leaving a public restroom? Which one is more effective  at thwarting bacteria? What about

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Cadmium and Lead Product Study

Consumers Report  – October 2010 Issue A New Consumers Report looks at the issue of  unhealthy levels of cadmium and lead in toys.  The report suggests that 30 products tested were found to have high levels of cadmium and lead using x-ray fluorescent technology and other types of analysis. The issue here is that children

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What is in your cosmetics

What exactly are you putting on your face with those lipsticks and cremes? Would you put bug parts on your face? Did you know that tallow, (cow fat) is an ingredient in lipstick. Check out this news story from ABC.  The good news is that these products are regulated by the FDA. Let me know

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Are Household Cleaners Safe?

Are you working with safe cleaning products? I do not know the answer to this question. I started to think about it and actually looked at an air freshner in my office and noticed that there is not a label on it telling me what it contains. More Information on possible toxins in cleaning products

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Crops Absorb Pharmaceuticals

I came across this article,  Crops Absorb Pharmaceuticals from Treated Sewage by Rachel A Zurer  and it quickly grabbed my attention. “Soybeans can accumulate drugs and personal care products commonly found in wastewater and solid waste.” A study conducted by Environmental Scientist Chexi Wu, University of Toledo found  the pharmaceutical compounds of  triclosan and triclocarban

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e.Coli – Finding the source

e.Coli continues to be an issue  for many people this summer. The recent flooding has left a number of well owners with  bacteria in their wells.   This can often point to fecal coliform.  Finding the source is often a tough task for many companies. The following news story illustrates this point. Watch this video and

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Keep samples cool to insure quality analysis

With the hot temperatures, it is really critical that clients submitting samples make sure enough coolant: (ice, ice packs, dry ice) is included. Every environmental water and wastewater sample has a recorded temperature upon receipt. The rule is that if the temperature of the samples is above 6 degrees celsius, a note must be made

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World Pork Expo 2010

Did you attend the World Pork Expo in Des Moines this week?  Today is the final day! I heard attendance is up and the atmosphere is much more upbeat than a year ago. What a difference a year makes.  If you are going today, make sure you stop by our booth, 432 in the Varied

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Cadmium in Shrek Glasses

First it was cadmium in toys, one of the top stories at the beginning of this year.  Also, just recently in May, Walmart recalled Miley Cyrus Jewelry because of cadmium. Now McDonalds is recalling Shrek Glasses because of cadmium in the paint. Preliminary tests have been performed by a friend of mine, TheSmartMama  and she

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Well Water Testing

With all of the talk of food recalls because of salmonella, the warning signs should be going up to those of us who own wells on our property. With the current spring thaw, its an excellent time to check water for e.Coli and coliform. Well water should be checked on an annual basis as a

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Paper money has the most germs

Recently a student came into the lab and wanted to work with our microbiology department to see which type of money had the most bacteria on it. The answer:  “The $1.00 bill”   Coins had some but not near the level as a dollar bill. A similar article “How Much Dirt and Bacteria is on  Money”

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Soda Fountains | Contain Fecal Bacteria

Bacteria in Soda Fountains…We hardly ever think of our Soda Fountains containing coliforms, but a recent study published by the International Journal of Food Microbiology,  consider this an issue to watch in 2010. “Nearly half of the 90 beverages from soda fountain machines in one area in Virginia tested positive for coliform bacteria — which

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