Each April, the automotive industry reminds consumers of the importance of car care and driver safety. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near-crashes involved the driver looking away from the forward roadway, such as retrieving a cell phone from the gap between the driver seat and console, just prior to (within three seconds) the onset of the event.

This statistic is a grave reminder that consumers still have much more to learn and is the reason Drop Stop, LLC developed and is launching Drop Stop®, a new car interior safety and convenience accessory designed to guard the gap between the seat and console and help keep drivers eyes on the road.  Drop Stop® provides a safer, more convenient driving experience. It eliminates the distraction and potential danger that exists when personal articles slip through a vehicle’s seat/console gap, causing the common knee-jerk reaction of taking one’s eyes off the road.  This handy item simply slips between the console and drivers seat and prevents hard to retrieve items from falling beneath the seat, especially when driving down the road.

Drivers need to exercise extreme caution when using their cell phones while driving.  How many of us have had our cell phones, billfolds, etc. fall between the seat and console?  It is so easy to become distracted during a call, and texting should be an absolute “no-no”.  Anything that helps to ensure our safety and the safety of those we meet on the road is a treasure.
For more details, go to

Just wish I’d thought of it!
Source:  Renee Cooper, Account Executive
Christie Communications


Make this your goal:  to walk 50 miles per month.  This great information from the AARP Bulletin gives these excellent reasons to promise yourself that you will walk 50 miles per month:

1.    Get fit:  Aerobic capacity: 19% increase; physical function: 25% increase, and risk of disability: 41% decrease.

2.    Save on annual medical bills.  Normal-weight retiree: $3,300, Overweight retiree: $2,500 and entire country: $1.4 trillion.

3.    Improve cardiovascular health.  Heart disease: 32% lower risk; Stroke: 33% lower risk, Type 2 Diabetes: 71% lower risk.

4.    Fight cancer. Breast: 18% lower risk; Colon: 31% lower risk; All forms: 33% higher survival rate.

5.    Lose weight.  Each walk: 150 calories; Monthly: 1.3 pounds; Annually: 15.6 pounds.

6.    Accelerate recovery.  Depression: 47% reduction of symptoms, Skin wounds: shorten healing by 10 days.

7.    Battle degenerative disease.  Alzheimer’s: 40% lower risk; Arthritis: 46% lower risk, Osteoporosis: 0% loss of bone density.

Listed are seven things you will have accomplished once you make this a routine part of your day.  Just half an hour of walking each day at a brisk pace of 3.5 mph will help you achieve these benefits, regardless of your age. Bone density is improved by any weight bearing exercise, and what could be better than walking?

Who can’t spare 30 minutes per day?  You could even do it on your lunch hour, before work, or after work.  If you aren’t already doing so, try it!  Walking is also a great way to relieve stress.  If you want to get really serious, get a pedometer.  An average of 10,000 steps per day will help you lose weight.  (Just don’t get into the candy after your walk!)


Before the month of March slips away, we want to remind you that it is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  This type of cancer is the third most common cancer, with more than 655,000 deaths worldwide each year.  If it is discovered in its early stages, it can often be cured.  It is recommended that persons after the age of 50 have regular screening tests.  A new study from Columbia University suggests that having a colonoscopy a decade earlier than the usual average age of 50 may be worthwhile.

Here is some useful information that might help decrease the risk of colon cancer:

  • Regular exercise may cut the risk of colon cancer by as much as 40%.
  • If you smoke, quit.  The risk of developing colon cancer is increased by 82% in smokers.
  • Take Vitamin D.  High levels of Vitamin D can decrease the chance of developing colon polyps by 30%.  Colon polyps may be precursors to cancer.

A less invasive test that has been developed and tested by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) is the National CT Colonography.  It is also known as a virtual colonoscopy.  Comparable to the standard colonoscopy, which uses a long, flexible tube with a camera to view the lining of the colon, this CT colonography employs virtual reality technology to produce a three-dimensional visualization that permits a thorough and minimally invasive evaluation of the entire colon.  The ACRIN trial, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, and part of the National Institutes of Health, enrolled more than 2,600 patients at 15 sites nationwide.  It is the largest multi-center institute to compare the accuracy of the state-of-the-art CT to conventional colonoscopies.  The accuracy results are published in the September 18, 2008, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.  It is hoped that more people will take advantage of this new type of screening.

We hope that employers will encourage their workers (age appropriate) to get all types of preventative screenings, such as this one.

Source:  National Cancer Institute


Do you know your rights, if you feel that your employer has put you at risk?  A workplace hazard that puts you at immediate serious risk of death or physical harm is an imminent danger.  Such instances could be an exposed electric wire, unstable trenches, toxic substances, dangerous fumes or gases that could be harmful.

You should notify your supervisor immediately and ask for corrective action.  Ask for protection for yourself and coworkers until the hazard is controlled or eliminated.

If the employer does not act, contact OSHA and/or your State Health and Safety Authorities.
These reports receive the highest priority, and OSHA will conduct an inspection.  Upon request, OSHA will not reveal your name.

If it is found that the hazard has not been eliminated, OSHA may post an “Imminent Danger” notice and seek a temporary restraining order requesting the employer to remove employees from exposure to the hazard involved.

OSHA and the National Labor Relations Board work together to protect employees who are punished for refusing to work in imminently dangerous situations.  It is illegal for an employer to punish you for reporting a safety/health hazard.



Once again, domestic violence is in the spotlight.  It seems that when it happens to famous celebrities, the world plays closer attention.  Then, other celebrities tell of their experiences and how they got out of their abusive situations.  If women were wise, they would listen to them and do everything they can to get away from someone who is battering or abusing them.

Here are some horrible statistics from the American Institute of Domestic Violence:

  • Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace
  • 85% to 95% of victims of abuse are women
  • Women are more likely to be attacked by someone they know than by a stranger
  • 500,000 women are stalked by an intimate partner
  • 5.3 billion women are abused
  • Of these, 4.1 billion victims require direct medical care and mental health care

According to the FBI, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds.  We live in a very violent world.  From teen dating violence to elder abuse, the scope is widening more and more.

There seems to be a vicious cycle:  boys who witness their fathers abuse their mothers are three times more likely to abuse their wives.  Many victims never report their abuse for fear of repercussions.  Domestic elder abuse is probably the most underreported crime. Almost 90% of elder abuse and negligence is done by family members.  Two/thirds of these “caregivers” are adult children or spouses.

Federal and state laws require that students be safe and protected at school.  Teen dating violence occurs often at school, whether it is pushing, shoving, or slapping a girlfriend/boyfriend.  This can escalate into further aggression; therefore, schools must do everything they can to educate students, teachers, administrators and school boards on the impacts of teen dating violence.  Programs that encourage self-esteem, healthy relationships and explain gender stereotypes can be very productive.
Law enforcement, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers all form partnerships to promote health safety and public awareness.  Communities and media should be educated and make all efforts to expose violent behavior and prevent it.

If you are in danger, get to a safer computer or call 911, your local hotline, U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224. If you know of someone who needs assistance, urge them to get help.

Los Angeles Committee on Assaults Against Women (LACAAW)
American Institute of Domestic Violence


Tornadoes have already hit many areas of the United States!  The most violent storms of nature, tornadoes are rotating funnel clouds that extend from thunderstorms to the ground with winds that can reach 300 mph.  Their paths can be one mile wide and up to 50 miles long.

In order to keep the public informed, NOAA weather radio, commercial radio, and television stations frequently announce weather situations.  WATCH means that a tornado is possible.  WARNING means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar, and to take shelter immediately.

From FEMA: The following are facts about tornadoes:

  • They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 MPH, but may vary from stationary to 70 MPH.
  • They may be almost transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • Tornadoes can go with tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can happen at any time.
  • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.

Danger signs of tornadoes are: large hail, large dark low-lying cloud, (particularly if rotating), loud roar (like a freight train), and dark, greenish sky.  The area may become very still prior to a tornado.
When a tornado is approaching, get to a cellar, basement, closet or hallway away from windows and doors, and get under a table.  If you are in a mobile home, get out immediately and take shelter.  If you are outside: lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.  You are safer in a low, flat location than under an overpass or bridge.  If you are in a vehicle, never try to outrun a tornado. Leave your vehicle and seek a safer location.  Watch for flying debris from a tornado. Debris causes major injuries and many fatalities.

We certainly hope you never have a tornado strike in your location.  As we always suggest: remember to keep adequate supplies of water and non-perishable foods, first aid kit, flashlight, change of clothes, and other needed equipment ready in case of an emergency.  The best plan for you and your loved ones is to be prepared, just in case.
Source: FEMA


With warm weather almost here, duty calls most of us to get in the mood to do a little spring cleaning around the house.  We may be inspired to even do a little spring cleaning around the office or workplace, as well.

There are some things to remember to do outside the house.  Windows and doors need to be checked to ensure that they close properly, and downspouts and gutters should be washed out.  If there’s a build up of mildew and fungus on the deck, use a pressure washer on your water hose to spray it away.  New filters for the air conditioner should be in place for that first burst of warm air.

Getting organized is the best way to undertake any project.  De-clutter your home or office.  Now is a good time to get rid of things you haven’t used in a while, or don’t intend to use again.  A good rule of thumb is: if you haven’t used it or worn it in 2 years, get rid of it!

While we are on the subject of cleaning, however, we need to caution you to be aware of using cleaning products that stir up allergies or asthma.  Also, sometimes a new piece of furniture, carpet, or other new household items contain chemicals that can aggravate allergies.

Formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (voc’s) are chemicals that evaporate at room temperature.  Furniture cleaning solvents, paints, even particle board or pressed wood may contain voc’s.  Keep your home ventilated well and their fumes will dissipate in a few days.  When buying paints, choose the one with the lowest voc number.

You will be better off when you are cleaning to use fragrance-free products.  Don’t close yourself off in a bathroom while using bleach or ammonia for cleaning, it can be very noxious.  Non-toxic cleaners such as borax or baking soda clean and deodorize, and can be bought at most grocery stores.

Washing soda can be used to remove stains and cut grease.  Washing soda—sodium carbonate—is in the same family as baking soda, but has been processed differently. It is much more caustic/alkaline, with a pH of 11, and while it doesn’t give off harmful fumes, you do need to wear rubber gloves. It is found in the laundry section of most supermarkets. Arm & Hammer is one brand of washing soda.

Sodium carbonate and sodium perborate ( an alternative to bleach) can also be purchased at chemical supply houses.  White vinegar cuts grease.  Hydrogen peroxide is another bleach alternative.  One other tip: never mix bleach with any household chemicals, especially ammonia.

Here are some ingredients for homemade cleaners that will ensure your success:

  • Drains:  ½ c. baking soda with ½ c. salt – pour down drain, follow with 2 c. boiling water, and let sit overnight.
  • Bathtubs: ½ c. baking soda with white vinegar, make a paste.
  • Ovens: ½ c. baking soda with ¼ c. salt, add enough water to make a paste.

Another cleaning challenge – mold!  If there is a place larger than 3’ x 3’, turn to an expert.  If you don’t know what you are doing, you can release mold into the air.  The EPA recommends using rubber gloves, (discard them after use), goggles without air holes, and N95 or higher filter masks.  Again, if you have doubts, let professionals handle it.

You’ll breathe easier and save money by using simple cleaning combinations. Clean safely!



For the 10th consecutive year, the National Museum of Health and Medicine will host a Brain Awareness Week program for middle school students. BAW will occur the week of March 16 (Monday) through March 22 (Sunday), 2009. The program consists of presentations and hands-on activities. Schools may choose one of the two 2-hour sessions offered each day. Each session will start with a 20-30 minute session that will feature a lecturer who will provide introductory information on the brain and its functions. Following the session, students are divided into small groups and sent to visit each station as a group. Students will spend 15 to 20 minutes at each station. The presentations are the same for each session since a new set of students show up at each session. NMHM and the partners try to make the lectures and stations educational, as well as a lot of fun for both the students and the presenters. BAW is usually very exciting and lots of fun for everyone.

This is an international effort to advance public awareness about the benefits of brain research.  Scientists step out of their labs to participate in introducing youngsters to the world of neuroscience.  This endeavor was organized by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and is joined by government agencies, professional groups, National Institutes of Health, service groups, hospitals and Universities.

Programs to be presented during this week are:

  • “Night of the Living Brain”, by the NINDS. Students learn the need for sleep, and are later tested on their knowledge of sleep disorders.
  • “Complexity of the Brain”, by the National Institute on Aging, which provides students with ways to maintain healthy brains throughout life.
  • “Simulated Party”, where students attend a “simulated party” to learn about the physical and societal harms of alcohol and drug abuse.  After discussing the risks, “party-goers” try to navigate an obstacle course or hit balloons while wearing Fatal Vision prism goggles that simulate impaired visual and motor performance, resulting from excessive drug or alcohol abuse. This session is presented by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  • “The Drunken Brain”, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s multi-sensory exhibit, which displays bright-colored lights and pulsating, eerie sounds.  A neuroscientist explains why movement, sensory perception, and balance are compromised, and which brain circuits are involved in alcohol dependence and alcoholism.
  • The National Institute of Mental Health presents “Wonders of the Brain”.  Young scientists from the NIMH Intramural Research Division explain how the mind plays tricks with images it sees.

There are many summer programs such as the Georgia State University’s “Brain Camp”, where middle school students and their Institute on Neuroscience (ION) for high school students get to work in a lab, and The University of Minnesota’s Department of Neuroscience, which hosts a summer workshop for middle school teachers and disperses fact sheets at the State Fair, and visits K-12 classes.

Students who are fortunate to live in cities where this program is given would be very lucky to get to participate.  There will always be a demand for scientists to research and discover ways to prevent brain disorders that cause heartbreak for families of those who suffer them.
Think about it: one of our little “brainiacs” may just be the genius that figures out how to prevent us from certain diseases.  Take advantage of the opportunities that are out there for our future scientists.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


Now that we are more than mid-way through National Nutrition Month, it’s important that we mention the significance of good nutrition for the country’s work force.  Basic common sense tells us that we need to eat healthy to stay healthy, but with the temptation of fast food and convenience of take-out and pre-packaged meals, it’s pretty easy to take the wrong path.

Younger employees think they are immune to problems caused by improper nutrition, but when they reach their 40s and 50s, they will understand what good nourishment is all about.

Good nutrition provides these benefits:

  • Energy for work and play
  • Healthy weight maintenance
  • Healthy aging
  • Preventing disease

We all need to realize that for good nutrition, we should have a meal plan that provides 45% to 65% of calories from carbohydrates; 10% to 35% of daily calories from protein; less than 10% of daily calories from saturated fat, (most should come from unsaturated fat), and 10 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed daily.  Nutritionists also advise the correct intake of calories for women/men depending on age, and job demands.

Encourage your employees to have these healthy eating habits:

  • Get most of calories from low-fat, low-sugar foods
  • Avoid fads or crash diets
  • Eat three meals per day – don’t skip meals
  • Eat reasonable portions – (don’t be guilty of “supersizing”)
  • Watch what they are eating when dining out – some restaurants are caloric minefields!
  • Refuel every four to five hours
  • Consume healthy carbs (high fiber nutrition bars, low fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt)
  • When snacking, or eating a full meal, it’s a good idea to stop when one is 80% full.  Chances are, in 20 to 30 minutes, they will feel satisfied.

To have a healthy workforce, companies could regularly incorporate nutrition programs into their safety programs.  It is to everyone’s benefit to eat healthy and exercise daily.  The results of consuming too many unhealthy foods over a period of time can result in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases that can shorten one’s life span.