May 27, 2011 11:27 am
Q: Do I need to be at the inspection?
A: No, but it is a very good idea to be there. Following the check-over, the home inspector can answer your questions and discuss problem areas with you. This is also an opportune time to get an objective opinion about the home from someone who does not have emotional or financial ties to the property.
May 26, 2011 5:27 pm
Everyone knows that doctors are busy people, which is why pharmaceutical representatives have long relied on "lunch and learns" to introduce physicians to new product developments. But as currently written, the Physician Payment Sunshine Provision (Section 6002) of the Affordable Care Act will require pharmaceutical companies to report anything of value they provide to physicians above $10 per item, or $100 per year.
The implications for the foodservice industry are an important area of examination in Technomic's new study, Large Orders Off-Premise 2011, an update of its 2007 landmark research which revealed an $18.5 billion opportunity for restaurant operators to cultivate an alternate revenue stream through B2B catering.
"Restaurants and other operators that already have a thriving catering business are very interested in understanding how healthcare reform will impact their business, and ways they can respond," says Melissa Wilson, Technomic Principal and study director. "We're expanding the scope of this study to learn how the medical community expects this to impact catering orders. The study will also examine how limited-service and casual-dining operators can expand their presence in several other key business/office catering segments."
May 26, 2011 5:27 pm
Verify Markets has just released a market research report on the Ultraviolet (UV) Municipal Drinking Water Treatment Equipment Market for the United States.
In the past, there has been skepticism for alternative and advanced technologies, like UV. The receptivity of UV was relatively low as municipalities gravitated towards conventional chlorine treatment technology. However, due to the regulatory environment, the market is expected to show modest growth. Aging infrastructure is also adding to this circumstance.
"The Long Term Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2 rule) and the Disinfection/Disinfectant By-Products (D/DBP) rule are the major drivers for the UV municipal drinking water treatment equipment market," states a Verify Markets representative. "Conventional drinking water treatment plants are unable to remove specific contaminants like cryptosporidium, which makes UV a very attractive alternative."
The major market participants include Aquionics, Calgon Corporation, ITT Corporation and Trojan Technologies. There were less than 15 significant players participating in the market.
Equipment supplier quotes on market drivers and challenges, as well as market trends, are included in the report. There is a market share analysis and forecasts to 2017 with associated growth rate.
A complete analysis of select markets within the ultraviolet drinking water treatment market can be obtained at www.verifymarkets.com.
May 26, 2011 5:27 pm
Each year, about 15 million American households move, and the majority do so during peak moving season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. By planning ahead and doing some simple research, consumers can reduce their risk of falling victim to disreputable movers who make a business out of baiting customers with very low estimates and then adding on unreasonable charges or even holding the customer's household goods hostage for exorbitant ransom.
"Anyone with a website can claim to be a mover," says Carl Walter, vice president of Mayflower, one of the oldest moving companies in the country. "It's important to do some homework to avoid falling victim to a scam. There are a number of red flags that make rogue movers stand out, but to recognize them you have to know what to look for ahead of time. The best way to know if a prospective mover is doing something wrong is to know the right way from the start."
Mayflower offers the following tips for people who are planning a move:
• Go with a name you know: Find three moving companies that have offices in your area and have been in business for at least 10 years.
• Get a referral: Word of mouth is the strong indicator of reliability—ask friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.
• Ask for an in-home estimate: Transportation charges are based not only on the distance of the move, but also on the weight of the items being moved. To ensure that your estimate is accurate, have the moving company come and look at the items you need to move.
• Don't be hooked by the lowest price: Disreputable movers often lure customers with lowball prices and then hit them with unreasonable charges or, in extreme cases, even hold their belongings for ransom. Get three estimates—if one is much lower than the others, that is a red flag.
• Be sure the company is who it says: Some disreputable movers try to lure customers in by using names that are very similar to reputable companies. Check the reputable company's website to make sure the local agent is affiliated with the brand name it is claiming.
• Don't pay up front: Typically you should not be required to pay a deposit to have your items moved. Most companies request payment at the time of delivery.
• Do your research: If you are moving interstate, go to protectyourmove.gov to find out if a mover is licensed for interstate moves by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association.
• Get it in writing: Ask for pickup and delivery dates in writing.
• Know your rights: Request a copy of "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move," a brochure created by the Federal Highway Administration that outlines consumers' rights. Federal law requires movers to give this to customers prior to an interstate move.
"Moving can be a stressful event no matter how well the mover does its job," says Walter. "Mayflower understands this and wants to help all consumers who are planning a move to have a better moving experience, regardless of which mover they choose."
For more information visit Mayflower.com.
May 26, 2011 5:27 pm
Q: How do I select a home inspector?
A: Begin by only hiring one who is qualified and experienced, someone who belongs to an industry trade group, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). This organization has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Also, membership in ASHI is not automatic; members must have demonstrated field experience and technical knowledge about structures and their various systems.
May 26, 2011 5:27 pm
Memorial Day serves as the official kick off of the busy summer travel season. As millions of American's take to the sky and road to visit their favorite destinations, attractions, and nature parks, the Center for Sustainable Tourism, at East Carolina University, officially introduces the U.S. Visitor Care Code (www.visitorcarecode.org). The code is designed to highlight small and practical efforts travelers can make to protect the natural environment and unique cultures of the places they visit.
Annually, more than 1.5 billion leisure "person trips" are made in the U.S., even small changes in behavior can make a big difference in tourism's impact on communities. The 10 point code encourages travelers to:
• Learn about Your Destination: Enjoy rewarding experiences learning about the environment, culture and history that make each destination unique. •
• Don't Leave Your Good Habits at Home: While traveling, continue to recycle, use water wisely, and turn off lights as you would at home.
• Support Locals: As a visitor, the money you spend on your trip can help support local artisans, farmers and business owners who depend on tourism.
• Protect Your Natural Surroundings: Be mindful of plants, animals, and ecosystems that you might impact. Avoid feeding wildlife, stay on designated trails and follow all fire restrictions.
For more information visit www.SustainableTourism.org.
May 26, 2011 5:27 pm
VA loan. Veterans Administration-backed mortgage. The VA, a federal agency, operates a loan guarantee program for honorably discharged veterans and widows of veterans who died of a service-related injury. Mortgages call for low or no downpayment. Sometimes referred to as GI loan.
May 23, 2011 5:27 pm
Moving to a new home and a new town can be challenging, especially when the move involves a beloved family pet. In order to meet the needs of families facing this difficult transition, TripswithPets is excited to announce the launch of Pets on-the-Move: A Moving Guide for Pets. This free online moving guide is jam-packed with everything a family needs to know in order to successfully move with their pet.
Pets On-the-Move offers the following helpful information and resources:
• Pet Relocation Service: If the move is international or cross-country, or if flying or driving with your pet just isn’t an option, a pet relocation service may be a wise choice. This section provides information about securing a reputable company as well as helpful tips to narrow down which one to choose.
• Airline Pet Policies: There are a lot of regulations regarding flying with pets. This section displays a list of airlines and directly links to that specific airline’s policies.
• Search by Route: Due to a massive request for this service, users can simply enter the departure and destination cities and see a list of all the pet friendly hotels (and other pet friendly properties) within a 3 or 5 mile radius of the route. This is perfect for those families driving to their new homes that need to know where they can stop with their pets along the way.
• Tips, Tips, and More Tips: There are hundreds of things to remember when moving with a pet. The guide covers everything from what to prepare for before the move, to advice on making sure furry family members are comfortable in their new surroundings.
• Pet Moving Essentials: You name it—pet travel crates and kennels, pet seat belts, vehicle pet barriers, and pet car seats—the moving guide includes all the pet travel supplies you’ll need.
“Pets On-the-Move is our answer to all of the inquiries we receive on a regular basis from people moving with their pets. Over 69 million US households have pets but there wasn’t a well-defined resource out there that we could send people to, so we made our own,” says Kim Salerno, President of TripswithPets. “This guide is perfect not only for the families who are moving, but for real estate agents, moving companies, local chambers of commerce—any organization that’s involved in the moving process and wants to better serve their clients!”
For more information please visit www.tripswithpets.com/petmove
May 23, 2011 5:27 pm
The American Academy of Dermatology recently reiterated the safety and effectiveness of sunscreens to protect against the damaging effects from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. As one component of a daily sun-protection strategy, sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Unprotected sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. More than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, affecting 2 million people. At current rates, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime. Approximately 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma, and the incidence of melanoma has been rising for at least 30 years.
"Scientific evidence supports the benefits of sunscreen usage to minimize short and long-term damage to the skin from UV radiation and outweighs any unproven claims of toxicity or human health hazard," says Ronald L. Moy, M.D., FAAD, president of the Academy. "To reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging, dermatologists continue to recommend generously applying a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen—that protects against both types of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB)—with an SPF 30 or higher, in conjunction with other sun-safe practices such as limiting sun exposure, seeking shade, and wearing sun-protective clothing, hats and sunglasses."
Sunscreen products contain one or more active drug ingredients—compounds that absorb, scatter or reflect UV light—and are regulated as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has several safety and effectiveness regulations in place that govern the manufacture and marketing of all sunscreen products, including safety data on its ingredients. However, recent media reports have questioned the health risks of some sunscreen ingredients, specifically oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, as well as the use of nanotechnology in sunscreen.
Oxybenzone is one of the few FDA-approved ingredients that provides effective broad-spectrum protection from UV radiation, and has been approved for use since 1978. "Contrary to recent reports, available scientific literature and decades of public use does not support a link between oxybenzone in sunscreen and hormonal alterations, or other significant health issues in humans," states Dr. Moy. "The FDA has approved oxybenzone in sunscreen for use on children older than six months, and dermatologists continue to encourage protecting children by playing in the shade, wearing protective clothing and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen."
Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A (retinol), but is not an active drug ingredient in sunscreen. When used in sunscreen, retinyl palmitate serves cosmetic purposes as an antioxidant to improve product performance against the aging effects of UV exposure, or to enhance product aesthetic qualities. Despite recent concerns from in vitro studies and one unpublished report using mice, "topical and oral retinoids are widely prescribed to treat a number of skin diseases, such as acne and psoriasis, and there is no published evidence to suggest either increase the risk of skin cancer in these patients," says Dr. Moy.
"In fact, oral retinoids are used to prevent skin cancers in high-risk patients such as those who have undergone organ transplantation." Dr. Moy also adds that "unlike more potent prescription forms of vitamin A, there is no evidence to suggest that use of sunscreen with retinyl palmitate poses comparable risks."
The broad-spectrum sunscreen active ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide leave a white residue on the skin following application when used in a larger particle form. However, when these active ingredients are converted into nanoparticles—smaller, lighter molecules—they appear to vanish on the skin, do not leave a residue, and retain and enhance their ability to block UVA and UVB light.
"While widespread use of nanotechnology in medicine is currently under evaluation, one of the main benefits of nanoparticles in sunscreens is that the small molecules can provide more protection and more even coverage on the skin's surface than larger particles," says Dr. Moy. "Considerable research on the use of nanoparticles on healthy, undamaged skin has shown that the stratum corneum—the outermost layer of the skin—is an effective barrier to preventing the entry of nanoparticles into the deeper layers of the skin. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have a long history of safe use in sunscreens and offer good options for broad-spectrum UV protection."
There has also been concern that sunscreen use prevents the synthesis of vitamin D by the skin. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is vital for strong bones and a healthy immune system. The Academy recommends that an adequate amount of vitamin D should be safely obtained from a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D (e.g., dairy products and fish), foods/beverages fortified with vitamin D (e.g., fortified milk and fortified cereals), and/or vitamin D supplements—and not from UV exposure. The Academy recently updated its position statement on vitamin D based on the published review of the increasing body of scientific literature on this vitamin conducted by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM).
"Unprotected UV exposure to the sun or indoor tanning devices is a known risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Since sun exposure is responsible for vitamin D production in the skin, wearing sunscreen can decrease the skin's production of vitamin D, but alternative and safer options are available to obtain your vitamin D," states Dr. Moy. "Individuals who properly and consistently wear sunscreen or use other UV protective measures, and are concerned about their vitamin D, should discuss obtaining sufficient vitamin D from foods and/or vitamin supplements with their doctor."
The FDA is continuing to work on addressing requirements for UVA coverage in sunscreens and considering sunscreen labeling changes to help the public make knowledgeable decisions about protecting themselves from the dangers of sun exposure. "Dermatologists recommend the use of broad-spectrum sunscreen products to protect against UVA and UVB rays and we rely on the FDA to confirm the safety of the products," says Dr. Moy. The American Academy of Dermatology currently awaits the FDA's final ruling to provide the most current information.
"Despite any concerns over the use of sunscreens, they are an important component of a daily protection plan, as dermatologists understand the limitations of clothing and minimizing sun exposure. There are many sunscreen products available that meet the Academy's recommendations, and consumers need to be comfortable with their choice of product in order to use it routinely," Dr. Moy adds. "Since allergic and other reactions can occur, individuals should read the product's labeling carefully, use as directed, and seek the advice of their dermatologist in using sunscreens and any product applied to the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology will continue to monitor scientific evidence related to sunscreen ingredients and their effectiveness to help guide patients and the public."
For more information, visit www.aad.org.
May 23, 2011 5:27 pm
INRIX®, a provider of traffic information and driving services, recently announced drivers can expect heavier than normal traffic congestion heading into Memorial Day weekend. With thousands of summer road construction projects already underway nationwide, INRIX predicts the heaviest traffic for 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, 2 hours earlier than normal—increasing drivers’ trip time by up to 27 percent.
"Memorial Day weekend combined with an early start to a heavy summer construction season will create havoc for people trying to get out of town," says Kevin Foreman, INRIX Vice President of Mobile Applications.
Recently INRIX introduced several new time-saving features that help minimize frustrating delays caused by summer road construction, festivals and other seasonal events including:
• Comparative Traffic provides an instant view of daily traffic hot spots indicating you where conditions are substantially worse or better than normal along your route. A simple map interface shows you in real-time where traffic is worse than normal (black) or better than normal (light blue) helping drivers better gauge travel times.
• One-tap Reporting empowers our community of more than one million drivers with the ability to easily view and alert others to changes in traffic conditions. With just one tap, community members also can alert INRIX to slower than reported traffic speeds immediately correcting the traffic conditions shown in the app for the indicated road.
• Unlock from Me allows users to look beyond their current locations to see traffic conditions in other cities. Inspired by feedback from our community, this handy feature helps business and vacation traveler better plan their trips with the ability to see real-time traffic conditions and get traffic forecasts for any city across North America.
Worst Memorial Day Travel Corridors
INRIX Traffic can help drivers navigate around some of the nation's worst travel corridors as they head out Friday afternoon for the long Memorial Day Weekend including:
• Los Angeles: The entire I-405 Corridor in both directions from Wilshire Blvd. down to the I-5/1-405 interchange near Laguna Beach where the average trip will take up to 3x longer.
• New York: The I-95 (NE Thwy, Bruckner/Cross Bronx Expys) in both directions from the NJ Turnpike to Hutchinson River Pkwy where the average trip will take up to 3x longer.
• Chicago: The I-90/I-94 (Kennedy/Dan Ryan Expressway) in both directions from the Tri-State Tollway through downtown where the average trip will take up to 3x longer.
• Washington, D.C.: I-95 Southbound from I-395 to Russell Rd. where the average trip will take up to 3x longer.
• Dallas: I-35 W in both directions between Rosedale St. to the Hwy 287 Interchange where the average trip will take up to 2x longer.
For more information visit www.inrix.com.