The UV HAWK™ $29.99 fusiontank.com
Add another thing to your list of things to be paranoid about. The giant hole in the ozone was thought to be well on its way to being healed with the elimination of refrigerant chlorofluorocarbons, the elimination of damaging aerosols in spray cans, and other such chemicals back in the late 80′s. But now scientists have discovered that the ozone hole has expanded again, the ozone hole over the Antarctica is now estimated to be the size of North America!
The New York Times yesterday had a frightening article about the rapid increase in the number of people in China and India who can now afford to buy air conditioners. This combined with factories operating at full speed making millions of new cheap air conditioners makes a dangerous scenerio. Even if these new air conditioners use the HCFC-22 refrigerant which is about only 5% as harmful than the previous chlorofluorocarbon, when you add millions of new air conditioners you are seriously putting the ozone at risk, not to mention the extra greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere from the extra power usage.
With real health risks now at stake there is a gadget called the UV Hawk that could come to the rescue. A tip of the branches to treehugger for their post on this new device (2/21/07 post)
The UV HAWK measures the intensity of ultraviolet light. UV rays have been linked to sunburns, skin cancer, cataracts and immune system dysfunction. The UV HAWK quickly tests the UV index and indicates the level of protection you need before going virtually anywhere one is exposed to prolonged sunlight. Some of the highlights of its functions are; Adjustable SPF Setting, Adjustable Skin Tone Setting, Sun Exposure Limit Alarm and a Thermometer (C° or F°)
When the UV level is at the ultimate extreme – an alarm will sound telling you to get your butt inside as fast as you can and pull down all the shades! (just kidding)
For someone who spends a great deal of their time outside this could prove to be a very useful gadget in the coming years. Beyond that, here is a great source of information and ideas about green solutions and alternatives to air conditioning at planetfriendly.net.