Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Owens Corning should be the next corporation to run for President

Janet and I are in the process of remodeling our garage and making it a semi-usable "other" space. A place either of us can go work in semi-private with semi-good lighting and remodeled in a semi-green fashion. The question of insulation came up and since we have long been aware of the negative effects and classification of formaldehyde as a VOC and the potential for off-gassing, we knew to be aware of the insulation we chose. Researching green websites like Treehugger and others were useful, but certainly not an all inclusive resource for all of the products that are available out there, so I searched for "formaldehyde free insulation" on Google. The first site that came up was for a product with pretty much exactly what we were looking for, complete with MSDS sheets. Awesome!

The second site was Owens Corning. You may know them by one of the most clever marketing gimmicks of all time... pink insulation! The second MCMGoaT, in my opinion, was the white Ipod ear buds. Pretty crazy that color can mean that much to a consumerist society. Wait... no, I guess that makes perfect sense... but that's not what I'm here to rant... I mean "talk" about. They stole the Pink Panther! Crap... no, that's not it either. It's about the rhetoric.

Owens Corning has a .pdf that claims that formaldehyde free insulation is not any better than regular insulation. They're obviously Republicans because their logic is fucked up! (How's that for logic?!) Their argument is essentially, "It's not bad for you, we have been using it for 50 years and everyone thinks it's great!" Well, mercury was used for amalgam fillings and to make felt, so we should continue using mercury in these products because they have been used for a long time and everyone swears by them? Idiots. Mmmm, mercury bubble tea...

Owens Corning references the EPA and CPSC to cross-confuse people (is that a real thing?).

OC: "Just the Facts - Formaldehyde and Insulation": "The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not even list fiber glass insulation as a major source of formaldehyde in the home."

Well then, let's just see if there is anything on the Environmental Protection Agency's website and The Consumer Product Safety Commission's website.

CPSC: "An Update on Formaldehyde" - 1st paragraph, 5th bullet... "Formaldehyde is an important industrial chemical used to make other chemicals, building materials, and household products. It is one of the large family of chemical compounds called volatile organic compounds or ‘VOCs’. The term volatile means that the compounds vaporize, that is, become a gas, at normal room temperatures. Formaldehyde serves many purposes in products. It is used as a part of:"

wait for it... wait for it...

"* certain insulation materials (urea-formaldehyde foam and fiberglass insulation)."

It would seem Owens Corning made a boo boo... or did they? Is OC correct? Fuck me!! The EPA and CPSC don't list "fiber glass insulation as a major source of formaldehyde in the home" after all. Rather, it's listed as the fifth bullet in a list of products for which this particular VOC serves many purposes. I'm so stupid! I hate me, I hate me, I hate me. Sorry OC... I'll vote for you (how do you make an "I love you" emoticon?).

Oh, and not for nuttin', but here's the EPA's formaldehyde page. It basically says the same stuff and refers to CPSC.

Now that we (I) have discussed how they mislead (told the obvious truth to) everyone with the references to the EPA and CSPC, let us (me) discuss the references they left out.

How about the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website on formaldehyde?

CDC (NIOSH) : "FORMALDEHYDE: Evidence of Carcinogenicity" Do we even have to go any further than the title?


Let's anyway!

Second line (which isn't even the body of the document yet)... "April 15, 1981". I guess the problem has been around for a long time.

Oh wait... I'm still an idiot after all... the body of the document actually has information too. "Epidemiologic studies conducted to date do not permit a definitive evaluation of the carcinogenic risk of formaldehyde to humans." However, "The first signs or symptoms noticed on exposure to formaldehyde at concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 5 ppm are burning of the eyes, tearing (laceration), and general irritation to the upper respiratory passages." Aaahhhh... I sho' do love me some formaldehyde induced lacerations in me mince pies.

Oops, continued idiocy on my part... sorry everyone. Apparently that study was done on formaldehyde in funeral homes and on a chemical known as bis ether (formed by the combination of formaldehyde and HCl)... not on garage remodel fiberglass insulation installations.

Hopefully I'm done making all of these embarrassing mistakes. In an attempt to try to redeem myself, here is yet another particularly useless/useful piece of info from the Documentation for Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH) on formaldehyde. "NIOSH REL: 0.016 ppm TWA, 0.1 ppm 15­minute CEILING; NIOSH considers formaldehyde to be a potential occupational carcinogen as defined by the OSHA carcinogen policy [29 CFR 1990]. " What the hell does that mean? Let's look up the OSHA carcinogen policy too, shall we?

OSHA's website on formaldehyde has the most legal-ese, so in order to skip right to the good stuff, go to Standard Number: 1910.1048. There's a lot of stuff here that basically says that even in small amounts, formaldehyde is something to be cautious of, must be reported on MSDS reports at certain levels, have signs posted at certain levels, require breathing apparatus and filter change frequency standards at certain levels, etc.

Let's compare MSDS sheets to see if there is even a ppm value listed for these materials...

Owens Corning PROPINK® Loosefill Fiber Glass Insulation; PROPINK® Complete: There was no MSDS available for the PINK Fiber Glass Insulation so I figured this was close. The following is listed in the Composition/Ingredients Section...

Fiber Glass Wool (Fibrous Glass): CAS No. 65997-17-3
Petroleum distillates, solvent-refined heavy paraffinic: CAS No. 64741-88-4
Non-Hazardous Statement: The remaining components of this product are non-hazardous or are in a small enough quantity as to not meet regulatory thresholds for disclosure. These components contain no substances or impurities which would influence the classification of this product

Johns Manville MSDS for Fiber Glass Building Insulation, Formaldehyde-free: It seems to me that all materials are listed in Composition/Ingredients Section...

Fiber glass wool: CAS No. 65997-17-3
Acrylic thermoset resin
Foil/kraft, kraft, FSK, polyethylene, PSK, and various metal building facings
Oh, woe is me... I seem to have gone off on a tangent and I am pontificating points not pertinent to Pink! The question of carcinogenicity was never raised by Owens Corning. They were simply saying some really stupid crap that doesn't make me trust them. Basically, my main gripe here is not that insulation may or may not have trace amounts of formaldehyde. It seems to me that it's a personal preference whether I buy something that claims to have zero or some formaldehyde. I don't want the formaldehyde-free guys to lie to me if there is formaldehyde in their product, but neither do I want someone to tell me they use formaldehyde and use some really stupid arguments as to why it's ok to use it. I don't want someone blowing sunshine up my ass, but I also don't want someone shitting in my mouth and telling me its Skittles. "Uuuhhhh... taste the rainbow, bitch!"

Here is an example of how to address the issue correctly.

CertainTeed has a "Questions and Answers About Formaldehyde and Fiber Glass Insulation" that seems to take a honest and direct approach to this subject. Less smoke, less skittles. Bravo!

And, oh by the way, So Fucking What (shameless shitty movie plug) if there is so little formaldehyde left in the end product as to invalidate everyone's justifiable concerns about VOC off-gassing in their homes... the formaldehyde doesn't get inserted magically into the insulation with the wand waving antics of the low-VOC fairy. CertainTeed's FAQ addresses this to some extent with the following...

"Some fiber glass insulations use phenol formaldehyde in the binder, which holds the glass fibers together. During the manufacturing process, the binder is cured at very high temperatures, virtually eliminating the formaldehyde content. There is a small amount of free formaldehyde present in today’s fiber glass insulation products. "

Oh, I see, so you use the phenol formaldehyde in the binder, cook the binder, "virtually eliminate" the formaldehyde... so if it is virtually eliminated, what level was it to begin with before the whole virtual elimination thing. What poor sucker has to work with that crap. I'm sure the binder manufacturers are out there somewhere, but it's late and I'm cold.

Oh goodie, something interesting... from FreePatentsOnline for formaldehyde binders: "A typical phenolic resin to be used as a binder for glass fiber insulation is made at a formaldehyde/phenol mole ratio as high as six to virtually eliminate free phenol in the resin. The high formaldehyde/phenol ratio required to achieve the very low free phenol concentration results in high free formaldehyde concentrations. The high percentage of free formaldehyde in the resin must be scavenged by the addition of a large amount of urea or other formaldehyde scavenger. Urea is added after neutralizing the resin and most often just prior to use of the resin. When the urea is added, the level of free formaldehyde is typically reduced to about 0.5 to about 1.5% after the premix is allowed to react at room temperature for a few hours. "

So it looks like the recipe actually calls for a high percentage of free formaldehyde in the resin (aka binder), then cook, eliminate, rinse, repeat. Who makes the resin dammit!?

Back to the Cas Cave!

Phenol, polymer with formaldehyde and urea: CAS No. 25104-55-6

Oh shit, why the fuck am I doing this? There was only 9,055 workers who even used that crap according to a National Occupational Exposure Survey (1981 - 1983). Fuck 'em!

Seriously though, it's not just about me and my home, although that is obviously my biggest concern, it's about doing what's right, or what makes sense, or what's less harmful/dangerous/toxic/deadly to others/the environment, etc. Back to mercury for a second... maybe it's my inability to utilize Google to the fullest extent possible, but I can't seem to find anything discussing the perils of wearing a mercury cured felt hat. The danger was in making it (or so says Wikipedia). Perhaps the mercury was "virtually eliminated" as well.

And you know what... maybe MY logic isn't quite right in this blog post, but you know what?... I'm not selling a product with potential health risks and covering it up by saying that it's perfectly ok because it's not that bad. After spending all of one late night researching this online and knowing nothing about anything, it would seem to me that if you eliminate the formaldehyde from the product, it isn't necessarily eliminated from the process, but if you eliminate it from the process, you eliminate it from the product. But hey, if you can claim "green" status by checking all the boxes on the form, more power to ya. Oh wait, I get it... YOU CAN be green, but the binder manufacturers CAN'T be. As long as the process virtually eliminates the... yadda yadda, ok, making sense now. You go boy!

So remember kids, "Owens Corning continues to produce the best quality insulation in the world. Just ask any builder. Or look at the rankings. The April 2002 Builder magazine Brand Use Study ranked Owens Corning first in Brand Familiarity, Brand Used Most, and Highest Quality Rating." So, don't ask your doctor, the EPA, CSPC, CDC, or any other confusing acronymized government entity... ask your builder. Everyone knows that your builder won't steer you wrong. Right, Bob? ~Bob smiles, tooth sparkles~.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I didn't know this existed, or that people were so against it...

Official Website:


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stolen Basil

I should have posted this last summer, but I guess I was pretty pissed. Someone stole my gi-normous basil plant from the front of my place. I posted a rant on Craig's List and never looked back. I just needed to get some aggression off my back. I just took a look at my CL account and noticed a new color... PINK = Flagged/Deleted. Woo hoo!

Anyway, here it is...

F-you, you f'ing f'er! What the F?! I had a huge basil plant, just waiting to be harvested for the pesto dinner of a lifetime and you f'ing stole that sh1t right out of my yard. Dick! F-you!! What kind of derelict steals basil? Are you a bum and need to chiffonade yourself up some tasty basil to add to your trash can dinner? You know what... not all herbs can be smoked you crackhead junky FUKC! (spelled incorrectly on purpose to avoid the CL police, so don't give me any sh1t for my rant... thank you) Or are you some pretentious ass f'ed up Californian who moved here to use and abuse the system? "I know dear, let's move to Portland where we can flip a house and use all that fast cash for some blow. And while we're there we can nosh on some street eats with the Californians-turned-bums who wasted their small fortunes on blow fifteen years ago. It will be like looking into a mirror of the future." GO BACK TO CALIFORNIA YOU F'ING PRICK!! YOU OWE ME PESTO!!! Everywhere I go around town, people have signs up to the thief that stole their poppies, roses, apples, flowers, etc. Yes, Portlanders like leaving stuff out for other people to take. It's like Craig's List and Freecycle before either existed. We like participating in that community spirit. It makes us who we are. Then you come along and f'ing abuse it. Stop! If it's growing, it's not free for the taking. People take care and pride in making their plants grow. You know why my basil was so f'ing huge? Because I was out there nearly every day picking off the flowers and cutting back tops, making a salad here and there, facilitating growth. And you came by and hacked it off at its base with one fell swoop. How did you even cut it? The stalk was about as big as my pinky finger. Have you been casing my place waiting for the right time in the middle of a sunny afternoon to make your move? It wasn't wild basil... it was MY basil! Give it BACK!!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

The blind leading the stupid

If you need to, read my post Depleted Uranium... One step forward, Two steps back so that when you read this article, you can have yourself a good laugh... then cry.

Just to catch you up real quick, Sequoyah Fuels in Oklahoma was to remove 1.5 million pounds (750 tons) of DU to be stored at a former atomic-bomb test site in Nevada, when all of a sudden a leak was discovered.

"... the breach occurred because the drums have been exposed to the elements for the past 13 or 14 years."

After extensive online research, I have discovered Sequoyah Fuels "Safety" Checklist to include, AND limited, to the following...
  1. Store DU in 55 gallon drums... CHECK
  2. Seal drums... CHECK
  3. Stack drums... CHECK
  4. Store stacked drums in steel container... CHECK
  5. Seal steel container... CHECK

Lessons Learned: In future maneuvers, insert new step 1...

  1. Ensure 55 gallon drums that have been exposed to the elements for the past 13-14 years DON'T FUCKING LEAK!
"Officials say it will take another two weeks before removal of the 95,000 tons of radioactive waste remaining at the site can resume."

Not to belabor the issue of stupidity and the amateur hour that is the Associated Press, but there are 2000 pounds in one ton, but of course that was like, third grade science, so it's hard to remember. But then there is the trouble with math, and all of those zeroes can get really, REALLY confusing. And who wants to do Long Division?! Thank the LORD for Google Calculator!

Considering the fact that there are five containers remaining, that would mean that each container weighs 19,000 tons = 38 Million pounds! A Class IV Gross trailer weight rating is rated to 10,000 lbs (5 tons).

Basically it's a typo, but still something we can poke fun at and do absurd math tricks with until our calculator button pushing fingers turn blue, but all we really need to do is to change 'tons' to 'pounds' and we still have a little problem. 95,000 pounds to go, until everyone in OK is a-ok... (far from it). Ok, a little more math here (and one more okay... Okliedokliedoo),

That means they transported 1.405 millions pounds out of 1.5 million pounds to Nevada before they figured out that they were leaking? So, if you're travelling down Highway 40 jamming to a little Corey Hart, and you find the road well lit by a creepy green light, don't start turning you're lights on and off proclaiming, "Look ma, no hands!" Not only is it dangerous, but it makes the DU mad.

I'm not proud about the accuracy by which I can point out the failures of depleted uranium maneuvers, but ever since my Atari joystick broke I have had no other means by which to gauge the successes in my life.

Now back to that whole War-with-Iran thing leading up to World War III for which I will score mega points! Hooray for me :(

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ode to Veggie v. Meat

Oh ain't meat sweet,
I see it walking on its feet.
Well I ask you very tongue-in-cheekily:
ain't meat neat?

Oh that ain't nice,
we'll eat FT OG rice.
Yes I ask you very herbivore-ally:
who wants rice?

Just cast a ribeye
in my direction.
Oh me oh my,
ain't that perfection?

Oh I repeat
that's my favorite cut of meat.
Yes I ask you very omnivore-ally:
ain't meat sweet?

Oh who needs meat?!,
I guess I won't eat things with feet.
I'll ask you about sustainability:
why's the world replete with meat?
Well I will tell you very convincingly:
Don't eat meat!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Which end is up?

Carageenan... good or bad? Maybe it is derived in a manner not befitting environmental health, or maybe that was what a "scientific" study proved. Maybe it's harmless. Maybe it will kill us.

What about Activist Groups? I was trying to find the site for Skin Deep (it gives the skinny (yes, pun intended) on the ingredients of soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, etc) and came across another site talking about it, so I thought I would check it out. It's a site devoted to "uncovering" where all of the activist organizations go wrong, who supports them, and basically why they are no good, corrupt entities. At first glance of the list, I thought, "Oh, I found Activist central... I subscribe to them, and them, and them... ooh, haven't heard of them, but they sound good." And they're saying they are all bad!

When I saw MADD, I thought, surely they are grasping at straws, but after reading about a few organizations I subscribe to I was in desparate need of even just the faintest glimmer of hope to pull myself out of the downward spiral of deepening depression, and I discovered that MADD can kiss my ass.

Anyway, the site is

Depleted Uranium... One step forward, Two steps back

It seems the Army is concerned about depleted uranium affecting their own soldiers who handle the munitions, so they are developing a less lethal way to kill people. Hooray for nano-ammo?

"Department of Energy officials say the use of depleted uranium in projectiles has caused concern among soldiers storing and using the material." Not to mention the fact that it is killing innocent Iraqi civilians and children, laying waste to their immune systems, ecosystems, and perpetuating birth defects for generations to come. But hey, our soldiers are concerned, so maybe we should think of alternatives.

"So scientists at the government`s Ames Laboratory at Ames, Iowa, created a nanocomposite of tungsten and metallic glass -- both of which are environmentally safe materials that work even better than depleted uranium." Yeah!!! They kill people even better! ...and environmentally friendly to boot. I can see it now - a new slogan, "Organic bombs, not hugs!" for a newer, greener generation of war criminals, I mean Republicans - no Democrats... oh fuck it... Americans. It's a good feeling being on the side of the guys with the guns. Makes me feel all safe and warm inside.

But wait, that's not all... In other make-depleted-uranium-go-away news, it seems that Sequoyah Fuels in Oklahoma is prepping for the removal of a 1.5 million pounds (750 tons) of DU to be stored deep within, uhm, sealed 55 gallon drums. But not to worry, because those 55 gallon drums will be stacked on top of each other for maximum safety. Not only will they be stacked, but those very same 55-gallon drums will be stored deep within, uhm, a much larger steel container! No worries - it will be welded AND sealed... Hooray!! Our depleted uranium woes are no longer!!! Yes indeed, no sense worrying about DU anymore. Why, I'll just go ahead and unsubscribe from my "Depleted Uranium" Google Alerts and then on to bigger and better news stories... like butterflies... and other, uhm, things.

What's that you say? Where will they store those welded AND sealed steel containers full of stacked 55-gallon drums of bright green depleted uranium? Hmmm, where has all of this been leading? Perhaps they will be stored deep within the EARTH? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH... HAHAHA... uhm, no. Nevada... stoopid!

Although the article actually says it will be buried in Nevada, I believe that "buried" is simply a euphemism for "put San Francisco at risk of breathing in DU aerosols from DU weapons testing causing severe health problems, from cancers to diabetes, asthma, birth defects, organ damage, heart failure and auto-immune system diseases." But that's kind of reading a lot into one little word... or is it?

It seems that a lab outside of SF is going to be stepping up their DU weapons testing.

"Livermore National Laboratory has been testing radioactive devices – exploding depleted uranium and tritium into the open air – just 50 miles east of San Francisco since 1961. And now the lab has a permit to raise the amount of radioactive material they detonate yearly from 1,000 to 8,000 pounds."

So maybe it's all speculation, since 8000 lbs is a far cry from 1M, but still, we are about to launch a nuclear war against Iran (hence "testing"), don't want this nasty stuff on our own soil (hence packaging for transportation), can surely turn a profit selling it to Israel (aka "in bed with")...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Janet Jackson and Oprah

There are two things that have caused me to get queasy watching television (this coming from the guy that watched Faces of Death in high school and thought, mmm... monkey brains sho' do look tasty!). Anyway, one was Janet Jackson's nipslip during the Superbowl half time show. (What's wrong with me? am I getting old? That used to be my fantasy! The Patrick Demarchelier cover of Rolling Stone magazine was like free porn.) The other was Oprah bringing Shawn Hornbeck on her show after having been home for one week after being rescued from his kidnapper Michael Devlin. Not only did Oprah disgust me, but the entire world of TV media disgusted me. For the next few weeks, every time you turned on the TV, someone was pontificating the true nature of the relationship Shawn and Devlin, or why didn't Shawn try to escape, or what really happened behind closed doors, etc. I'm not saying that Oprah was the first or only person to exhibit poor judgement... the parents certainly were a factor, as were the media moguls. Hopefully all of the money Shawn's parents made from their various television appearances will cover half of the therapy Shawn will need, not only for the trauma suffered at the hands of Michael Devlin, but for the trauma suffered from the abuse of the televisionistas. What if it turns out that Shawn was abused beyond anything anyone can tolerate imagining, something to make us once hardcore Faces of Death fans turn green? What if it turns out that Shawn loved Devlin? Holy crap! Either of those scenarios would be far too much for the public to handle. Why, there would be a media frenzy! Shawn seems to be pretty well put together despite the improper actions on the part of Devlin, his parents, the media, and yes, even Oprah. I posted my comments of disapproval on Oprah's website, and I certainly wasn't the only one.

I still fantasize about Janet, and I still TiVo Oprah.!view=C

Two wrongs make it worse
Posted on: 01/19/2007 at 5:28pm

First of all, I want to tell Shawn that I am very glad he is home. I hope you’re doing well, and I wish that you are given the amount of time that you require for your own healing. I find it very likely that you may not only read these posts, but that you may even contribute yourself, perhaps under an alias, perhaps as yourself. I’m sure you know the Internet is full of self-righteous surfers with a million opinions (admittedly, I am one of them). I hope you are able to bypass all of those opinions that are discouraging to you and give yourself time to heal. Stay strong!

The second part of this post is to Oprah. I believe in you Oprah. When you told everyone about getting flipped off by the guy who had a car just like yours, I nearly cried I was laughing so hard. When you give away stuff on the show, I get as excited as if I were there. But... when I saw Shawn on tv, I felt a sinking feeling like I was watching the most disgusting, nauseating event in history. I believe in you Oprah! I really do. I believe in the things you do and what you stand for. I wanted to believe that this was going to turn out ok. That you would use this tragedy as a vehicle for awareness, referring back to the media reports as support for your cause, sending well wishes and invitations to appear on Oprah when Shawn had healed and felt comfortable in his own skin again. I believe you suffered a serious error in judgment by not only interviewing him and airing it, but also in having Shawn in your studio audience. Please forgive me for "going there" but how would you have felt if your parents brought you on The Tonight Show or some other national television talk show after you were molested. Maybe you would have had the forethought to get the message out, the strength to fight for those that couldn’t fight. And you did... you brought the fight to the public and people are far more aware now than ever before... but that was on your own terms, after you had a chance to cope, reason things out, ask why, why me, and what next. It took you 32 years to talk about your rape on tv, and it was on a Chicago television program named The Oprah Winfrey Show prior to becoming nationally broadcast. I do not recall a 43 year old Shawn, host of the Shawn Hornbeck Show, discussing with the audience of HIS national television show, the details, or even simply the admission of the trauma that he endured. It was one week! Shame on you, Oprah.