Next time you put up your Christmas lights, do it very carefully. Those modern, light-emitting diode bulbs marketed as safe, environmentally preferable alternatives to traditional lights actually contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially hazardous substances, a UC study has found. Oladele Ogunseitan, population health & disease prevention chair, and fellow scientists at UCI and UC Davis crunched, leached and measured the tiny, multicolored lightbulbs sold in Christmas strands; red, yellow and green traffic lights; and automobile headlights and brake lights. Their findings? Low-intensity red lights contained up to eight times the amount of lead allowed under California law, but in general, high-intensity, brighter bulbs had more contaminants than lower ones. White bulbs contained the least lead but had high levels of nickel.
Determining who cooks and who cleans in a household may feel like a personal decision couples make, but UCI sociologist Judith Treas says culture and societal characteristics have a major influence on how such duties get divvied up in homes around the globe. In Dividing the Domestic: Men, Women & Household Work in Cross-National Perspective, Treas, co-editor Sonja Drobnic and collaborators combine international survey data funded by a three-year National Science Foundation grant with sociological analysis to explain why the lion's share of domestic responsibilities still rests with women, even as more of them are working outside the home.
Getting more exercise, spending time outdoors and helping others are among the activities that can be as effective as drugs or counseling in treating an array of mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety, according to a UCI study. In determining this, Dr. Roger Walsh, professor of psychiatry & human behavior, philosophy and anthropology, as well as adjunct professor of religious studies, reviewed research on the effects of what he calls "therapeutic lifestyle changes." Other TLCs might relate to nutrition, relationships, recreation, relaxation, and religious or spiritual involvement.