Steer Clear of the Smoking Rear
By Shahir Masri – September 27, 2016

Avoid driving directly behind large vehicles such as cargo trucks, buses, and construction vehicles when you're on the road. Why?... read on! In 2008 I participated in a major air pollution field study led by my atmospheric chemistry professor Dr. Winer (one of my favorite profs!). As an intern for this study, my job was to drive around designated streets in downtown L.A. to measure air pollution. Yes, with probes and monitors abound, this meant piloting what you might call a "Back to the Future" mobile! I never failed to catch the eye of a passerby. Accompanied by a post-doc, I would often switch to passenger seat where I got to monitor the measuring equipment. It's what I frequently observed on the monitoring screen that I will share with you now. 

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Broken Bulbs: Avoiding Mercury Exposure
By Shahir Masri – March 3, 2012
I am a strong advocate of using compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs given their high energy efficiency, and therefore reduced impact on the environment.  If you don’t know them by their name, CFL bulbs are simply the twisted light bulbs you see everywhere these days.  As great as they are, however, CFLs do contain mercury vapor and are therefore important to dispose of properly if broken.  In the event that you break one of these bulbs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following: 

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Alzheimer’s: How Donating Blood Reduces Your Risk
By Shahir Masri – November 16, 2011
While iron is extremely important to our bodies, too much iron can be a bad thing.  We’ve all heard that antioxidants are good for your body.  Well this is because they “fight” oxidizing agents, which are harmful to your health.  Well, in certain instances, iron is an oxidizing agent.  Since our bodies are efficient at storing iron, various iron reserves tend to accumulate throughout one’s life.  Studies have in fact linked disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease with high levels of iron in the brain.  So what can you do?

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