Sunday, April 10, 2005

So What?: April 2005

Mercury has been used in certain religious ceremonies for years. The purpose is to ward off "evil spirits." Among practitioners of Voodoo and Santeria, for example, it is a common practice to sprinkle mercury near a child's crib as well as outside an apartment door.

The problem is that mercury vapor might remain in a house for many years. The vapors are absorbed through the lungs and can lead to such things as tremors and emotional changes. If enough mercury vapors are breathed in, serious kidney damage may result and even respiratory failure can occur.

Mercury has been listed as a "causative" factor in impaired neurological development in children, which might manifest itself in such problems as language delay, autism, attention deficit disorder, and various types of learning difficulties. It also appears that the developing nervous system of the fetus is more vulnerable to methymercury than the adult system. For more information on mercury poisoning go to Mercury Poisoning Project at

This past March it was reported that certain IMAX theaters--primarily in the South--were reluctant to show several science documentaries because it "might offend" Christian fundamentalists. A number of these IMAX theaters were located in science centers or museums, where science is presumably encouraged.

Some of these documentaries, such as Cosmic Voyage, Galapagos, and the Deep Sea, had the "audacity" to suggest such things as the earth could be more than 10,000 years old and life on Earth might possibly have originated in undersea vents.

A sufficient amount of people protested this timid, self-censorship and IMAX did show the documentaries. But the yellow streaks down the back of corporate America got a little brighter in March.

Approximately 15,000 children under the age of 6 manage to put rat poison in their mouth each year in the U.S. Residential rat poison most often uses blood thinning agents; this causes internal bleeding in the rats. It of course can have the same effect on children.

A number of years ago the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) ordered manufactures of rat poison to add two safety measures to the poison. But in November 2001 the EPA rescinded the requirements. They reported that they had come to a "mutual agreement" with the rodenticide manufacturers. Several months ago a New York advocacy group filed a lawsuit against the EPA.

Who loves you baby?

After a decline in the 1980's, there has been a resurgence in global fur sales. In 2002-03 fur sales amounted to $11.3 billion. Richard D. North, a fellow of Britain's Institute of Economic Affairs, said in reference to an endless row of caged minks and foxes, "They are treated better than farm animals. They are not moved to their slaughter. They are killed quickly in situ."

Now, don't you feel better.

No comments: