USING METALS TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM PATHOGENS: Silver has natural germicidal properties and is one of the oldest antimicrobial agents known. Humans have used silver to ward off disease since the ancient Egyptians; the Greeks used silver vessels for water to keep it fresh. It is still used by settlers in the Australian outback, who suspend silverware in their water tanks to keep spoilage at bay. Silver fell out of favor with the discovery of antibiotics, but interest in its germ-fighting properties has resurged with the rise of drug-resistant organisms and concern over possible epidemics that don't respond to conventional treatment. Silver is harmless if ingested in small amounts, but like most metals, large doses can be toxic, sometimes fatal.
WHAT IS ERGONOMICS? This is a branch of science that strives to design the job and equipment to fit the worker, rather than the other way around. In the modern office, it most commonly relates to the physical stresses placed on joints, muscles, nerves, tendons, bones, even hearing and eyesight, along with other environmental factors that can adversely affect comfort and health. Ergonomics deals with the interaction of technology and work environments with the human body, and involves such things as anatomy, physiology, and psychology in the design of chairs, desks, computer accessories, the design of car controls and instruments -- in short, any kind of product that could help relieve potential repetitive strain from a given job or task.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America and the Acoustical Society of America contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.