FRANCIS KOSTER: Gas leaks help paint our planet black

FRANCIS KOSTER: Gas leaks help paint our planet black

According to the National Highway Transportation Authority, an average of 38 children die each year because someone drove off and left them in a car in the sun. That’s one child every nine days.

In almost all cases, their adult was stressed and balancing a number of issues. They put the baby in the car seat in the back of the car, drove to their destination, but forgot to drop the baby off at daycare on the way to work, and accidentally left the baby in the car on the parking.

The car overheated, destroying both the life of the child and the devastated adult.

There are over 24 million children under the age of 5 in America. If you saw one of them in a black, hot car, I know you would call people to help you and take action. The problem is that these 24 million children are trapped in a rapidly warming environment, there are proven ways to save them, but little action is being taken.

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It may surprise you to learn that one thing that contributes to the tragedy is the color of the car the child was left in. If there were two children in identical cars, one painted black and one white, the black car would heat up faster, be about 17 degrees warmer, and the baby would die faster than the baby in the white car.

We basically paint our planet black by releasing gases that attract and trap heat, just like black paint. You have already heard a lot about the increasing amounts of “greenhouse gases” emitted by cars, industry and electricity production. What you probably don’t know is that these gases don’t float. They remain in a layer close to the earth’s surface – and heat up our entire planet, like black paint on a car.

The layer only averages about 36,000 feet thick. The top of this layer is roughly the same height above the earth that you flew on your last airplane flight. When you looked out of the airplane window, you were looking at the top of the layer of weather-altering gases.

This layer is like a blanket made of many different chemicals. These modern chemicals are all around you. They’re emitted by your car, your leaky fridge or air conditioner, or the gas line that heats your home and water – and all of them continue to concentrate in the same limited space, increasing heat trapping and threatening life. people below. .

One of the most difficult chemicals for our country to control is the coolant gas leaking from your air conditioning or refrigerators. These gases are 2,000 to 3,000 times more climate-changing than CO2.

There are only 212 coal-fired power plants in America, all of which are inspected regularly and enforcement action is taken by federal and state agencies if regulations are violated. There are 110 million homes with air conditioning, nearly 100,000 K-12 school buildings, and millions more businesses, retirement homes, office buildings, and more. Once a new air conditioning unit is installed and approved by local authorities, depending on where you live, there are little or no legal requirements that it must be inspected for leaks and that leaks must be reported.

If your electric bill seems to be climbing, you can call your air conditioning company to inspect and replace gas leaks. They don’t have to fix the leak.

A creative group trying to solve this problem is The Environmental Investigation Agency, an independent non-profit organization. They did a wonderful review of 45 grocery stores including Albertsons, Safeway, ALDI, Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Target, and Trader Joe’s. More than half of the stores surveyed had detectable refrigerant leaks where customers shop. You can see a powerful report of their work by Googling “Leaking Havoc”.

Leakage of chemicals

A meter like this can “make the invisible visible” and help eliminate chemical leaks into the atmosphere.

Photo submitted

If you want to help “make the invisible visible”, we lend you (free) an easy-to-use meter that detects leaks. You point it, listen for beeps indicating a leak, and move the end of the tube to where the noise gets louder.

Rescue can begin with “making the invisible visible”. Simply go to, select “Borrow Pollution Detection Equipment” and complete the form. To hurry up.

Francois Coster

Francois Coster

Francis Koster, Ed.D., lives in Kannapolis. He is a retired pediatric healthcare administrator who runs a non-profit organization called The Pollution Detectives.

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