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Week of June 14, '99


Monday Blues Chaser

    Nip in the Bud

Download of the Week

Week 5 Crossword

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Keeping Our Children Safe


1 Sticky substance
4 Atomic mass unit
6 Meadow
9 Competent
10 Mend socks
11 Offer
12 Witty remark
14 papa
15 Bulk
17 Uses an old phone
18 Collar
20 Fish with a kick
22 Boris's retreat
24 Hit high
26 Label
29 Don't blow it!
31 Dutch name of The Hague
33 "__ a girl!"
34 Science class
35 Watering hole
36 Editor's prison
37 Withered
38 Fuss
39 Doctrine
40 Soak

Solution Next Week


1 Garrulous
2 Off-Broadway theater award
3 Ancient
5 Emotional state
6 Dish out
7 Rubbed out
8 Besides
13 Taut
16 Craze
19 Biblical tower
21 Drunken
23 Exclamation
25 No tenor
27 Founder of the Mogul Empire
28 Heron
30 Keep __ on (watch)
32 River in central Switzerland
33 Highest mountain in Crete


What you can do to protect them from hazards in the air they breathe, the foods they eat, and more
Part 5 of a 5 part weekly series

by Jim Gould

It has been almost 20 years since scientists began to suspect what has since been proven -- that lead exposure can cause IQ deficiencies, hearing impairment, learning disabilities, and hyperactivity. Although the risk has been reduced since the 1970's (thanks to laws that removed lead from gasoline and paint), lead exposure remains one of the top environmental health hazards for young children, affecting as many as 1.7 million under the age of 6, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 80 percent of American houses built before 1978 -- about 64 million -- still have lead in interior paint. Children are exposed to lead primarily through old paint and the chips and dust produced as it deteriorates, and through tap water that sits in pipes made of or soldered with lead. To reduce your child's risk:
Ask your pediatrician to do a blood-lead test (which requires a finger prick) when your child is 9 months old, and another at 2 years, says Dr. Landrigan. If the levels are normal, the youngster is probably not at risk from current surroundings.

Lead-based paint in good condition is usually not a hazard, particularly if you do not have young children. But if you live in a house built before 1978 and your paint is peeling, you may have a problem. Besides getting your children tested, clean up paint chips immediately with a wet sponge or mop, and clean floors, window frames, windowsills, and other surfaces weekly. Do not vacuum lead-paint dust or chips; that will disperse more lead dust into the air.

Permanent removal of lead-based paint should be handled by a professional abatement contractor who has training in correcting lead problems. Such removal is costly (deleading a two-bedroom house may cost around eight thousand dollars); however, improper removal of lead paint may cause more health problems than simply leaving the paint in place. Your state EPA office can provide help in locating a qualified contractor.

New "encapsulating" products (which may be spackled, sprayed, or painted on) can be applied over lead paint. They cost between 20 and 80 cents a square foot and some are warrantied to last for 20 years, according to Lee Wasserman, president of Lew Corporation, a New Jersey lead-inspection firm. The products are fairly simple to use, says Wasserman, but warranties may be voided if they are not applied by professional contractors.

Because most lead in drinking water is introduced while water stands in the pipes overnight, reduce the concentration by letting tap water run each morning until the temperature changes -- about 90 seconds. Never use hot water from the tap for cooking; heat can cause lead in pipes to leach into water.

Last summer, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that some of the millions of imported vinyl mini blinds contain lead. The agency recommends that old mini blinds be taken out of homes. Manufacturers have agreed to remove the lead from new mini blinds; new packaging labels indicate that the product does not contain lead.

If you need more information, call the National Lead Information Center, 800-424-LEAD.

Solution to last week's crossword:

Open Secret

Week 4 Solution

Critic's Corner

"Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" by Gabby

I haven't laughed this much at the movies in a long time. I thought this sequel was much funnier than the original. While a lot of the jokes were recycled from the original movie, Mike Myers managed to update and deliver them much better.

Don't try to tie in the original to this one, you'll give yourself a headache. For one thing, even though Powers goes back to 1969, there's no mention of his original partner. Instead, we're introduced to a new one, Shagwell. Other unforgettable characters are Mini Me, Fat Bastard, another Mike Myers creation who totally fooled me, and Ivana Humpalot, who follows in the esteemed footsteps of Lotta Vagina. And casting Rob Lowe as a young Robert Wagner was sheer genius.

If you're expecting intricate plot lines, a well developed script and in-depth subject matter, this isn't the movie for you. This movie is pure summertime fluff. So next time it rains, grab a big bag of popcorn and a large soda and head to Austin Powers.

Calling all armchair critics! Do you want your voice to be heard?
Send your book, film or CD review to
After Hours and we'll publish it right here with your byline.

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