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Inga Vesper

Journalist, editor, writer

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Housing

Stainless steel sinks may up your risk of legionnaires’ disease

A combination of rusty water and stainless steel taps, or faucets, can put people at risk of life-threatening legionnaires’ disease. It seems that the protective coating on stainless steel fixtures – currently a firm favourite for kitchen and bathroom sinks – can degrade over time, encouraging the growth of Legionella species.

Mud bricks best for cool, green houses, says study

Simple mud concrete bricks provide the most affordable and sustainable houses in the tropics, a Sri-Lankan study suggests. Comparisons of four different types of walling materials revealed that mud concrete bricks have the lowest environmental impact and keep houses cool. They are also the cheapest, and easiest to dispose of once a house is knocked down.

Living near noisy roads could make it harder to get pregnant

Living near a noisy road seems to affect couples who are trying get pregnant, increasing the likelihood that it will take them between six to 12 months. That’s according to an analysis of 65,000 women living in Denmark.

Bigger isn’t better for energy savings

Advances made in the energy efficiency of heating and transport are lost because of people’s desire to have bigger houses and cars, two research papers have shown. Researchers have found that houses in England, Australia, Canada, the US and New Zealand are getting bigger as people want more space and extra rooms. This means there is more air to be heated, destroying any climate benefits gained by better heating systems and more efficient insulation, they say.

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