The 2008 Phillies had a lot going for them. The lineup featured thunderous young bats, Cole Hamels was bursting onto the scene, and Pat Gillick’s vision for guys like Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth was coming to fruition.
But the bullpen was hardly a weak point, and while Brad Lidge threw the final strike, the guys behind him proved to be solid all year. Chad Durbin was one of those guys, hurling 87.2 innings and allowing only 28 runs while Lidge was probably getting warm. He had lost out on a spot in the rotation to Adam Eaton, though unlike Eaton, Durbin actually made it onto the post season roster.
35-year-old Durbin will be retiring from the game, of ESPN, and will work for . Durbin’s last few years haven’t been nearly as successful as his ‘08 season. He enjoyed some success with the Braves in 2012, and 2013 even saw a return to the Phillies, but he failed to bounce back, allowing 16 runs in 16 innings.
All in all, Durbin has played for the Royals, Indians, Diamondbacks, Tigers, Phillies, Indians again, Braves, and Phillies again, over a 14-year career that ended with a 5.03 ERA over 836.1 innings and one World Series ring.
Driver’s education teaches you the basics. What you learn over time creates your habits—both good and bad. I’m not going to lecture you on safe driving skills, but some drivers’ bad habits are dangerous.
Are you a pain to your fellow motorists? Ask yourself if this is you! Do you have any of the following bad habits?
1.Forgetting to use your turn signals. Your turn signals are the only method to communicate with other drivers. Being lazy or absent-minded about your turn signal can cause a rear-end collision, or cause someone to attempt to pass you at the worst possible time. It’s equally important on expressways when changing lanes. Remember, that person in your blind spot can’t read your mind.
Bottom line: Remember to always use your turn signals—make it a habit.
2.Hogging the left lane. The fact is, the left lane is supposed to be the passing lane. Slower drivers in the left lane can actually be cited for obstructing traffic. Those who stake out permanent positions in the left lane tend to provoke other cars who are driving faster, often giving them no other choice but the dangerous strategy of passing on the right.
Bottom line: Moving over isn’t a matter of courtesy; it’s a matter of safety. Keep traffic flow smoothly.
3.Getting distracted. Many drivers multi-task while driving. This can be very dangerous. Any time you become preoccupied or distracted, you’re letting down your defenses. Minimize your eating, drinking, loud music choices, and cell phone conversations while driving. Save these for when you’re stopped in a safe place. If you must talk and drive, use a hands-free device—they are worth every penny, and in many states they are required by law.
Bottom line: Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
If you feel you or someone else you know requires more help with bad driving habits, consider enrolling in a defensive driving course. Depending on your state, many insurance companies can offer a premium reduction for approved courses.
That’s what happens when chemical substances evaporate and get into the indoor air.
Some sources are obvious. When you smell wet paint, that’s off-gassing of its volatile organic compounds.
Other sources are much subtler - indiscernible waftings that go on day after day, night after night. They include flame retardants from furniture, formaldehyde from pressed wood products, perfluorinated compounds from stain-resistant carpeting, and phthalates in PVC used for flooring, ceiling tiles, electrical-cord insulation, and more.
We’re breathing them in. Or they’re winding up in dust particles, and then on our hands and into our mouths.
Some of these chemicals are carcinogens. Other health effects include developmental delays and exacerbation of respiratory problems.
As industry often points out, mere presence of a toxin isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, although many environmental and health officials find it troubling. The question is, how much of any one substance, or any combination of them, will actually hurt us?
While science works on that, a new ethic focused on safer products is emerging in the building industry.
"Materials matter" was one big message last week, when the nation’s annual conference on sustainability in the building industry, Greenbuild, came to the Convention Center.
A day-long session Tuesday was dedicated to materials and human health, so I checked it out.
Ken Geiser, a professor of work environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, pointed out why our indoor air is so important: Most of us spend 90 percent of our time indoors.
He cited a 2005 study that assessed the chemicals indoors by analyzing the dust in 70 homes. It found 35 chemicals, more than half of them from building materials.
"These chemicals that are in our building materials show up in the air, in the dust, and also show up in us," he said. National studies have detected many chemicals in people’s blood and urine.
800-539-2590, scientists are trying to better understand how safer materials can enhance our health, productivity, and perhaps even creativity.
Another participant was Jay Bolus, an expert in sustainable materials for the Virginia firm, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, which focuses on better materials.
He recommended four chemicals to avoid.
Flame retardants are in many upholstered furnishings, even those made specifically for children. Although some formulations are being phased out or have been banned in some areas, most furniture still contains them.
Phthalates are in flexible PVC and other plastics used for flooring, siding, windows, door frames, plumbing, and wiring. It’s the plasticizer that keeps on giving. “You know it’s not off-gassing when it gets really brittle,” Bolus said. “And then you replace it.”
Formaldehyde is present in plywood, particleboard, and fiberboard. It achieved infamy when people living in relief housing after Hurricane Katrina said they were being sickened by it.
Perfluorinated compounds, often used for nonstick pans, also are used to make carpeting, textiles, and wall coverings stain-resistant.
Finding out what is in a product can be difficult. The first step is to simply ask.
"Consumers don’t realize how much power they have," Bolus said. "I have no qualms going into a furniture store and asking where it comes from."
Also, rather than asking about a specific chemical - the sales clerk may say it’s not in the product as a matter of course - ask more broadly, “What’s in it?”
Green building websites are becoming more plentiful and helpful. They include , , and a certification program Bolus’ company helped create at .
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America () also certifies paints, flooring, and other products as more suitable for the 60 million people in the United States with asthma and allergies, who are likely to be affected by airborne chemicals.
Environmental groups suggest that if you’re worried about products already in your home - and its dust - use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and damp-dust rather than dry-dust to pick up more.
While safer products are not as readily available, finding them is worth the effort, Bolus said. “Make informed decisions. 94566 6059 Sycamore Te, Pleasanton CA just make decisions based on cost and aesthetics.”
"GreenSpace," about the environment and health, appears every other week, alternating with Art Carey’s "Well Being" column.