24 December 2007

Domestic polution

Everyday Items, Complex Chemistry

Scientists are starting to raise questions about the safety of the chemical that are used to make the objects around us. I've talked about this before, there are tons of chemicals around us and many of them were never in significant levels, or at all, before the twentieth century.

“The bottom line is that there isn’t widespread evidence that exposure to consumer products is causing public health problems,” said Mike Walls, director of government affairs at the American Chemistry Council.

This is misleading. There isn't widespread evidence because there are so many new chemicals. The studies that we do have discuss acute exposure, one exposure to a high level of one chemical. The real situation that we are living is constant, low level exposure to thousands of chemicals. Like I said in Choose your Poison, there are so many chemicals we are exposed to, that choosing one to personally obsess about it futile. What is needed is a change at a national and international level to try to limit many of these.

There is a precedent for this. The Montreal Protocol banned chloro flouro carbons and is the best example of international cooperation working to save our planet from the poisons we have made. But because this appears less pressing, less obvious than a hole in the ozone layer, it is less likely to be acted upon.

An interesting addition to this article is the interactive picture that comes with. It mentions BPA (which I've already talked about), phthalates, brominated diphenyl ethers, formaldehyde, perflourinated compounds and lead acetate. I haven't talked about the chemical that is the name for this blog yet, but since I get a lot of references from google for lead acetate, I've decided that on Sunday I'm going to do another special post and talk about it in detail.

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