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Saunas lethal if taken too much

Hot steam in a closed room at the end of a harrowing day may be your idea of relaxation, but taking too much sauna may be lethal, say experts.

Taking reasonably hot saunas is safe in moderation, but evidence is slim that there are any health benefits besides relaxation.

The issue came upfront when a man died in this year’s World Sauna Championships in Finland. The incident also sparked questions about what even moderate sauna use might do to our bodies. “A sauna is like a glass of wine: It’s probably safe if used in moderation and in an intelligent fashion,” said Thomas Allison, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.

In Finland, the practice is a way of life that begins at birth, said Kalevi Ruuska, a native Finn who is president of the North American Sauna Society in Fishkill, New York.

After too much time in an overly hot sauna, the body might lose too many fluids, which would hinder the skin’s ability to sweat and the heart’s ability to keep up with demand.

As the air grows more humid, sweat stops evaporating, eliminating its ability to cool Water in the air would have conducted heat, as well, making the air feel even hotter.
Combined with the drop in blood pressure, dehydration and severe heat exhaustion usually cause fainting, which in a sauna can lead to serious burns when the skin comes in contact with searing surfaces. Heart attacks can ensue.

A minicooker that saves water-damaged cellphones

Dropped your cellphone into the toilet? No problem. Heat it in the new mini cooker called ‘Dryer Box’ — which saves your phone from going kaput.

Manufactured by a Japanese gadget company, the minicooker costs 1,000 yen (about $12). If they fail to rescue the device after 30 minutes, there’s no charge. If they do hit the United States, they are bound to cause a rage.

“Me and phones don’t get along too well,” said Paolo Glaude, a 21-year-old student from Harlem.

His BlackBerry was once saved after a dousing but was never the same again.
“If it’s water damage, you have to pay for a whole new phone sometimes — but sometimes you have to lie,” he said.

In the meantime, dropping their dripping-wet phone into a bag of rice to absorb the moisture seems like the only idea.

Scientists come up with safer plastics

Scientists have discovered a new way of preventing potentially harmful plasticizers from migrating from one of the most widely used groups of plastics.

The advance could lead to a new generation of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics that are safer than those now used in packaging, medical tubing, toys, and other products, they say.

Helmut Reinecke and colleagues note that manufacturers add large amounts of plasticizers to PVC to make it flexible and durable.

Plasticizers may account for more than one-third of the weight of some PVC products. Phthalates are the mainstay plasticizers. Unfortunately, they migrate to the surface of the plastic over time and escape into the environment.

As a result, PVC plastics become less flexible and durable. In addition, people who come into contact with the plastics face possible health risks.

The scientists describe development of a way to make phthalate permanently bond, or chemically attach to, the internal structure of PVC so that it will not migrate.

Laboratory tests showed that the method completely suppressed the migration of plasticiser to the surface of the plastic.

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