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Inside this issue:

 

Environmental Health
& Radiation Safety /Environmental Health
& Safety

Website: 
http://www.ehrs.columbia.edu

Medical Center
630 West 168th Street,
Mailbox #8
New York, NY  10032
Phone:  (212) 305-6780
E-mail:
ehs-safety@columbia.edu

Morningside Campus
S.W. Mudd Building, Suite 350
New York, NY  10027
Phone:  (212) 854-8749
E-mail:
ehrs@columbia.edu

Going Green…Safely!

As world leaders continue to develop long-range strategies for alternative fuels and for weaning us from our fossil fuel dependency, we are encouraged to “Go Green” on a personal level and to modify our individual energy consumption to reduce our own “carbon footprints”.  Simple steps such as turning off a light in an unoccupied room, unplugging idle equipment, adjusting the thermostat a few degrees, or exchanging an incandescent lamp for a more energy efficient compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) can significantly reduce energy use and positively affect the environment.  For some, Going Green may mean taking the pledge to participate in Cool Columbia http://cool.columbia.edu
It is generally accepted that for a given light output, CFLs use between one-fifth and one-quarter of the power of an equivalent incandescent lamp and that modern CFLs typically have a lifespan of 6,000-15,000 hours, compared to 750-1,000 hours for incandescent lamps.  This means a reduced demand for electricity and less burning of fossil fuel to create that electricity.  The highly touted energy savings of CFLs has prompted lawmakers around the globe to draft legislation for the eventual ban on production/sale of incandescent lamps. 

Banning energy inefficient incandescent lamps is viewed as a sure fire way to reduce energy consumption,  but if not done in concert with programs to educate consumers to the potential danger of improper handling and disposal of CFLs, unprepared users could be facing other dangers. CFLs, like all fluorescent lamps, are gas-discharge lamps that use electricity to excite mercury  vapor in argon or neon gas, resulting in the production of short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor in the lamp to fluoresce producing visible light. 
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Laboratory Initiates Expansion of Chemical Tracking System

The initial goal of the Chemical Tracking System (CTS) is to comply with EPA mandates at Morningside and LDEO regarding chemical inventory management and reporting; however, it also promotes waste minimization through sharing of chemicals and inventory reduction by making all existing stocks available.  Chemicals are tracked using a bar-code system;  the bar code can be scanned or typed in to obtain information about that chemical.
The CTS currently tracks chemicals entering the campus, but does not account for stocks received prior to February 2006.   As a result, some labs are taking advantage of the CTS by
 bar-coding old inventory themselves.

Dr. Nuckolls’ group, on the 6th floor of the Chandler building, is reaping the benefits of this system. Noah Tremblay, lab manager of the group, has been appointed to be in charge of this process.  EH&RS/EH&S interviewed Noah concerning his experience with the bar-coding system. He said that the idea originated with Dr. Nuckolls as a way to avoid purchasing a chemical already present in the lab’s inventory -- something that had previously occurred Noah would “definitely” recommend the system to other groups, despite the fact that it time-consuming, noting that “it makes things easier in the long haul”. He also expressed his thanks to Jean Lee, EH&RS/EH&S’s   director of IT programs for always being available to provide technical assistance.  Bar coding is available on all Columbia campuses to any researchers wishing to implement it to enhance their lab’s inventory management (contact Jean Lee, 854-8883 or jl2402@columbia.edu).

Noah

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