Pam Dickson is enjoying her annual July vacation, and her column “Out and About” will return Aug. 10. In the interim, enjoy excerpts from “Lipstick Digest,” by Kingwood resident and popular Tribune blogger Diane Blanco. Smart Shopping The August 2010 issue of Consumer Reports just hit my mailbox and, as usual, it is full of great articles to help you save money and avoid bad experiences on major and minor purchases. This issue’s theme is Classic Kitchens for less. The article covers every area of kitchen remodeling–appliances, fixtures, flooring, cabinetry and counter tops. They have three price ranges for remodels–do it yourself, $5,000, a budget makeover with a professional, $15,000 and the deluxe, $50,000.  If a remodel is in your future, this issue is a great investment and on the news stands now. Oh, that bites! I have seen the clever looking Clip-On Mosquito Repellent which advertises “head to toe protection up to 12 hours.” It clips on your belt and uses a tiny fan to circulate repellent. After Consumer Reports tested individuals placed in rooms with 1,000 hungry mosquitoes (don’t you wish you had that job), they stopped the experiment at 2 hours because of the test subject’s numerous bites. What they do recommend are: 1. Off Deep Woods Sportsmen II 2.  Cutter Backwoods Unscented 3. Off Family Care Smooth & Dry 4.  3M Ultrathon 5.  Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus 6. Natrapel 8-hour with picaridin Scary facts also in this issue: I am always shocked by how much sodium is hidden in our food and I have started reading labels more carefully, especially of meat products and frozen dinners, etc. Shocking to me was the fact that Mission flour tortillas have 630 milligrams of sodium in a serving, Celeste Pizza for one has 1,230 milligrams of sodium and Kellogg’s Raisin Bran has 350 milligrams. Our total daily intake should be no more than 2300 milligrams or one teaspoon of salt. Too much salt can raise the risk of asthma, kidney stones, osteoporis, stomach cancer, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Good advice from “Vogue” When I think of “Vogue” magazine, I think of fashion, celebrity features, the social register, and interesting interviews. The July issue has a remarkable article on page 130, Wake-up Call about the dangers of cell phones by Nick Knight. Knight recounts purchasing a new phone and while reading the instructions, is amazed to discover that they recommend holding the phone away from the ear and avoiding letting it touch the head as well as reducing the time spent on calls. Shocked by such a recommendation, his research leads to the following discoveries. One of the biggest issues is the amount of radiation that cell phones emit and the fact that FCC standards for safety were established in 1982 and updated last in 1999. A 2008 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer showed that people who used cell phones regularly for 10 years had an increased risk of developing a brain cancer, called glioma, on the side of the head they used most with their phone. In Israel, research connected cell phone use to a 50-60 percent greater risk of salivary gland cancer. Children using cell phones are particularly at risk because of their thinner skulls and longer lifetime of exposure versus adults. What can you do to protect yourself and your family? 1. Text instead of calling. 2. Use the speaker phone. Even the Bluetooth headset and an ear piece with a cord all still transmit radiation, even if less than the phone to your ear. 3. If your phone has poor service, it is struggling to make the connection and thus emitting more radiation (rural areas are more prone to this issue). A protective cover can also impede service. 4. Check your phone’s radiation emission level on the Environmental Working Group’s website ( There is a big difference in phones. 5. Don’t carry your cell phone in your pocket or on your belt, emission can impact your internal organs, and for some men reduce sperm count. The complete report as well as a listing of cell phones and their emission levels from best to worst are on the website: Stay safe! Diane Read more of Diane Blanco’s blog “Lipstick Digest” at

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