LTWCA Newsletter - August/September 2008


Coming Clean - Why you do not need antibacterial soap!

Many of us are reasonably worried about spreading germs, from Staphylococcus skin infections to Salmonella on food While it is important to wash your hands, if you think using antibacterial soaps or products will be safer and more effective, think again!


Triclosan, a chemical found in most antibacterial soaps, has been detected in the breast milk of mothers who use it, it forms chloroform and other toxic byproducts when mixed with chloramine or chlorine treated tap water, and it can cause dermatitis. Once in the environment Triclosan is toxic to fish and frogs. For humans it works as an environmental endocrine disruptor affecting thyroid hormone gene expression. While it is biodegradable, the breakdown products include dioxin, a very potent carcinogen.


The U.S. Food and Drug Panel and the American Medical Association have advised physicians to inform their patients that soaps and lotions that include antibacterial agents have “no added benefit” over ordinary soap and water. A local infectious disease physician advises patients that regular hand washing with plain soap and water for 30 seconds is “safer and more effective than using antimicrobial soaps.” Another major concern for public health officials and physicians is how antimicrobial products can promote bacterial resistance. The American Medical Association published a report in the August 2002 Archives of Dermatology which stated it was prudent for people to avoid antimicrobial products due to the concern over antibiotic resistance and a lack of efficacy.


Some of the products that contain Triclosan are antimicrobial dishwashing soap, hand washing soap, cleaning agents, “Microban” (Triclosan) products in combs and brushes, or “Microban” surfaces. Armed with the knowledge that these common household products are both harmful to us and the environment, we can look for safer alternatives to use in our homes.

Submitted by Cindy Russell, M.D.

Editor’s note: Triclosan in our septic systems gets into ground water and then streams. Triclosan in sewer water is no better, since it is not removed at the treatment plant and gets into S.F. Bay.


Water District News

The LTC Water District recently approved a new initiative. Its goal: Work collaboratively with the residents and Woodside Fire in an effort to create a real reduction in wildfire risk for the community.


As a preliminary step we recently toured the neighborhood with fire safety specialist Ray Moritz. Afterwards we had a public meeting with Ray and our Fire Marshal Denise Enea. There were two central recurring themes to the tour and meeting:

* Reduce the amount of fuel that wind driven fire storm has available to it, and you will reduce the speed in which a fire can spread, increase the likelihood of successful escape, and increase the possibilities for controlling the fire before damage can become widespread.

* Trees are ok. Some will need to be thinned out, but trimming back lower branches and low brush below, so that flames are unlikely to reach and ignite the tree’s canopy will dramatically reduce the fire’s available fuel.


Our districts efforts in this area are just getting started, but we are working towards designing a program that meets our goals. We will need volunteers in neighborhood outreach, project management, contractor relations, and Web/Video. Please contact Charlie Krenz at 851 -8085 or if you can help.

Submitted by Charlie Krenz, Los Trancos County Water District Board


Emergency Preparedness News

California has been ablaze this summer, and many of these blazes were caused by human error and were preventable. Here are some common, everyday safety measures you and your contractor can take:

*         On red flag days, it is advisable not to use potentially dangerous tools outdoors including lawnmowers, weed whackers, grinders, welding equipment, and many electric power tools. More than one fire recently has been sparked simply by the blade of a lawnmower hitting a rock.

*         Fire extinguishers and water hoses should be made available and instantly accessible to all outdoor workers.

*         Gasoline powered tools: be very careful where and how they are being filled. Spills are commonplace and pose real danger. Be sure spark arrestors are functioning properly – nothing but fumes should be coming from mufflers. The heat alone from a dropped tool can cause a fire, even when functioning properly.

*         Outdoor workers should not smoke on the job. Cigarette butts should be distinguished safely and deliberately. Please remind workers of this and stress that lit cigarettes should never be tossed anywhere outdoors.

*         Do not be shy. Speak up if you see unsafe behavior on your own or a neighbor’s property. We are all at risk!

*         Keep your eye out for suspicious behavior and call 911 or our Sheriff's office at 650-363-4911.

Bill Tagg, Vista Verde Emergency Preparedness Coordinator


Sudden Oak Death Update

The Fire season is upon us and all around us. Sudden Oak Death (SOD) is intimately linked to our level of fire danger. Take a careful look around your property. If you have any trees that have died or are infected with SOD, remove them as soon as possible. These trees serve as perfect torches for spreading a wildfire. Another reason for removing ASAP is because they soon become unclimbable and a hazard to remove, and therefore, a much bigger expense if one waits. To choose a contractor that is familiar with handling SOD trees, check the contractor list on the web site:, click on Sudden Oak Death, or call 851-1787.

Submitted by the Sudden Oak Death Task Force


Invitation to Vista Verde’s Picnic

You are invited to join Vista Verde’s annual picnic on Sat., Sept. 27th from 11:30-2:30 at Pony Tracks Ranch, 495 Old Spanish Trail. Bring a dish to share. We look forward to sharing this annual event!

Submitted by Vista Verde President, Amanda Lee


Neighborhood Notes

- Lyme Disease is active and present in our neighborhood! A resident was diagnosed with Lyme Disease on 28 July. She had the classic bull’s eye rash (only shows up in 50% of the cases) from a bite of a nymphal Black legged tick in her garden. Always check for ticks after being outside.

- A fake gardener has been illegally entering properties “to give a quote.” Keep a watch out!


Next Meeting - There is no meeting scheduled. Please see the LTWCA Web Site for past minutes.


Los Trancos Woods Community Association Web Site

The web site address is:                                      The group e-mail list is:                                  

Thanks to Jerry Jensen for maintaining this site. AND Thanks to Tsing Xue for copying our newsletter.


Community Bulletin Board

Wanted: 2 bedroom rental in the Woods or Vista Verde. Excellent references. Call Arthur or Peri at 851-9152.