Monday, April 20, 2015

No harm to humans: where have we heard this before?

I just watched “The Clean Room” in “Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey” with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Clair Patterson, a graduate student then a professor, spent years trying to determine the age of the earth by the amount of lead, a product of uranium decay.  He kept running into far more lead in the environment than should occur naturally.  He concluded that the lead was coming from tetra-ethyl lead added to gasoline to improve anti-knock qualities.

However, lead is a known neuro-toxin, known even in Roman times.  Chemical industry representatives kept trying to show that leaded gasoline was not a problem.

We still have many people having neuro-toxin problems from leaded paint in older buildings.  But we try to show that their problems are caused by lack of initiative rather than environment.

Now we have the same scenario all over again with vested interests working overtime to “prove” that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not a problem.

When will we ever learn?  Those who live by profit are not to be trusted: Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations.