Potential negative health effects of flourescent lights topped discussion during this week's Tucker County Board of Education meeting, as three Tucker County High School students shared their research as asked officials to make a change.
Joannah Dyer, Sharee Thomas and Hailey Williams recently worked with equipment at the Canaan Valley Institute to determine the differing effects of two types of flourescent lights T8- and T12-style bulbs. During their studies, they determined that T12 bulbs, used in parts of TCHS, have negative health effects and create a larger carbon footprint, compared with similar T8 models.
"We wanted to prove that you can change a lightbulb and make a difference," Williams said.
One of the main differences they found in their preliminary research is that the T12-style lights flicker. While the flicker isn't noticeable to the human eye, it can cause negative health effects, including disruption of circadian rhythms and melatonin production in the body. As a result, the lights can affect the sleep patterns and consistency of sleep in students, they said.
Following the preliminary research, the three students tested the flicker of each style bulb. The pattern of radiation from each bulb was shown to the Board of Education in a slideshow presentation created by the group.
In addition to the health effects, T8 bulbs are more efficient than T12 bulbs, the students said, and they are cheaper to purchase.
Therefore, they said, the carbon footprint of the T8 is less. With 1296 bulbs being used at TVHS, they said similar usage of T8 bulbs could result in a carbon footprint that is approximately 60 percent of the school's current output.
"The monetary and energy savings are immense," Williams said.
In other meeting news, librarians from the Five Rivers and Mountaintop libraries presented their annual reports to the Board of Education.
Nancy Moore and Ivonne Martinez - the librarians from Five Rivers and Mountaintop, respectively - used a slideshow to display information about each library's progress throughout the past year.
Moore said several computer stations are used daily at Five Rivers. Each station is equipped with Internet access and can help users who are filling out job applications and resumes. A WorkForce West Virginia program on each desktop makes this possible.
Computers also can be used to access SAT, ACT, Praxis, ASVAB and contractor's license study guides, among other similar tests.
Free tax help takes place at Five Rivers, as well. Moore said over 125 returns were filed in 2012.
Martinez discussed the popularity of after-school programs at Mountaintop, as well as DVD rentals.
Fundraising is an important function for each library. An annual craft show before Thanksgiving, which in the past has included a bake sale, 50/50 raffle and silent auction, helps to generate funds for the libraries.
Five Rivers logged over 19,000 library visitors and Mountaintop logged approximately 5,800 visitors in 2012, the slideshow said.
Both Moore and Martinez asked the board to support them with funding when the yearly budget is being considered.
"We'd like for you to make Tucker County public libraries a priority and invest in your students," Moore said.
Contact Casey Houser by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.