Author Archives: Kevin Hunt

Are These Chemicals In Your Deodorant, Shampoo, Soap Or Cosmetics?

by Categorized: Health Date:

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Today’s Bottom Line column:

Why do so many people care so much about what they put in their body and so little about what they put on it?

Europe’s regulatory system bans close to 1,400 ingredients in cosmetic products, including carcinogens like parabens and toxic chemicals that can cause reproductive and developmental-health risks. The United States bans 11.

So after dining on certified-sustainable wild Alaska salmon and organic spinach, it’s time to wash precious toddler Timothy with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. This gentle shampoo, a favorite for generations, is notorious among knowledgeable label watchers for its history of toxic-chemical use. Johnson & Johnson, after years of complaints, finally reformulated the shampoo earlier this year. It removed formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, potentially harmful chemicals, and now lists the shampoo as paraben-free and even soap-free.

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Technology for the amateur spy

by Categorized: Technology Date:

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This week’s tech column, courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:

Spy technology has become so widespread and smartphone-ready that sleuthing, like golf, can be played by almost anyone.

Not everyone can own a Stingray II, the controversial surveillance device from Harris Corp. that gathers cellphone data from targeted neighborhoods and costs, by some estimates, more than $130,000. The company, which does not discuss its products or its prices, has even required local police departments to sign a nondisclosure agreement forbidding them to acknowledge use of its equipment.

What’s spy work without secrecy, or at least a nondisclosure?
The everyday spy, meanwhile, shops at online spy boutiques, amazon.com or, yes, the local Home Depot. Spying isn’t as glamorous as it used to be, but it does make one wonder who’s watching, listening, tracking and scouring our data.

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Connecticut Is Third Most Expensive State For Energy

by Categorized: Green Date:

As if we didn’t know it: Connecticut residents have the third-highest energy costs in the country, according to recent survey by WalletHub.com. State residents have the nation’s second-highest monthly electricity costs ($143), the fourth-highest natural gas costs ($94) and rank No. 14 in gasoline costs ($167). The total monthly energy cost, $404, trails only Hawaii ($451) and Mississippi ($414).
The state uses more natural gas, per consumer, than every state except Alaska, Illinois and New York. Because of its size, it also consumes the third-lowest amount of gasoline, trailing only Hawaii and New York.

She Wants TSA To Pay For Missing Luggage Lock, Damage

by Categorized: Travel Date:

Napolitano Inspects New Advanced Imaging Technology Scanners At JFK Airport

This weekend’s Bottom Line column:

Lou Ann Naples of Old Saybrook, a frequent traveler, says she never checks her baggage at an airport without securing it with a Tumi lock recognized by the Transportation Security Administration.

When she picked up her luggage at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers after a flight that originated at Bradley International Airport, her Tumi suitcase arrived safely but the lock didn’t. Inside, she found some of her Easter-related items damaged and a TSA “notice of bag inspection” in her suitcase.

“This,” she says, “was not a nickel-and-dime lock. This was a $25 to $30 lock.”

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Mortgage Rates Down Slightly, Remain Near Historic Lows

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Mortgage rates dropped slightly in the past week, remaining near record lows, according to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.
Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.13 nationally, down from 4.15 the previous week. Fifteen-year rates averaged 3.23 percent, down from 3.24 percent.
The numbers from New England:

This week:
30-year: 4.14 percent
15-year: 3.25 percent

Last week:
30-year: 4.14 percent
15-year: 3.24 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 4.40 percent
15-year: 3.44 percent

Review: A $7,000 Meridian Sound System In $147,000 Range Rover

by Categorized: Auto Date:

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This week’s tech column, courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:

Of course this is a crazy daydream. I cannot possibly be romping through the Rubicon Trail in the world’s most luxurious SUV while listening to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 through the world’s most exotic, standard-equipment car-audio system.

Of course it is. I am actually sitting in a flat-top East Coast parking lot under graying skies, mildly awe-struck, in the front passenger seat of a $146,895 Range Rover Autobiography LWB listening to Meridian Audio’s 29-speaker, 24-channel, 1,700-watt Signature Reference 3D sound system.

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No Love For eLove After Woman Pays Dating Service $7,000

by Categorized: Consumer Complaints Date:

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This weekend’s Bottom Line column:

At least one woman says the least likely place to meet a mate is a matchmaking service that charges as much as $10,000 to join.

Let’s call her Scarlet, which is not her real name but matches the color of her face soon after paying $6,995, plus tax, to eLove of Glastonbury in late 2011 for 33 referrals and a “priority matching” VIP plan.

When east-of-the-river Scarlet, 70, contacted The Bottom Line last fall, she had not received a referral in almost a year despite having been promised one every six weeks when she signed up. She wanted a refund.

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Mortgage Rates Hold Steady: 30-Year At 4.14 Percent Nationally

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Mortgage rates barely moved in the past week, with 30-year rates averaging 4.15 percent and 15-year rates averaging 3.24 percent nationally, according to data released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
A week ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.12 percent and 15-year rates averaged 3.22 percent.
The numbers from New England:

This week:
30-year: 4.14 percent
15-year: 3.24 percent

Last week:
30-year: 4.12 percent
15-year: 3.22 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 4.51 percent
15-year: 3.54 percent