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View Diary: Chemical Warfare... on the Consumer (21 comments)

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  •  Uh, jest how YOUNG are you? (2+ / 0-)
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    lemming22, shortgirl

    Drain cleaner?  If you don't realize that DRAIN CLEANER is hazardous to your health, your parents flunked kindergarten (and I'm surprised you survived it).  Drain cleaner is used to dissolve organic clot-causing materials like hair and fat.  It therefore HAS to be able to dissolve hair and skin in order to WORK.  If it isn't dangerous, it won't do a hell of a lot of good.  The question in using drain cleaner isn't, will it burn your hands and eyes (it most definitely will) but will it burn a hole in your DRAINPIPE?

    This little parable underscores the fundamental problem with chemicals.  Generally speaking, the better it WORKS, the more dangerous it is.  And the safer it is, the lousier it works.  You can have all the "safe" cleaners and insecticides you want, but they won't necessarily clean anything that wasn't spotless to begin with, or convince the ants not to set up housekeeping under your sink.  No one born after 1976 has any idea how a GOOD paint flows on or how long it lasts -- because lead-based paints WORKED so much better than anything available today that you'd think you were dreaming.  There is always a tradeoff between effectiveness and safety, because effectiveness usually means "destruction of organic material" or "eradication of competing life-forms" in one way or another.  And lack of effectiveness has its own safety hazards, as demonstrated most recently with the snit over DEET.  Now, personally, I can't stand the stuff and would rather be bitten by mosquitoes ... but I'm also willing to risk the (rare) hazard of West Nile Virus, and malaria hasn't become rampant yet in my part of the country.  The tradeoffs change if there's a particularly bad tick season (Lyme Disease) or you go to places where mosquito-borne illness is endemic and deadly.

    There's no such thing as perfect safety in this mortal world.  We do the best we can, and while it behooves us to be informed, I disagree with outright banning of pretty much anything.  Everyone should have the freedom to do their own research and make their own decisions as to which risks outweigh which benefits and vice versa.

    Except, of course, when it comes to dumping large quantities of YOUR decisions in MY environment.  And I'm sure you would have similar feelings about MY decisions and YOUR backyards.

    •  Just for fun (1+ / 0-)
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      I happened to have a bottle of drain cleaner so had a look at it.

      The instructions for use consist of three sentences (Scoop out excess, pour in product, wait, flush with hot water and repeat if necessary)

      There are then five much longer sentences on safety precautions to be taken when using it.

      Then there are four EU standard symbols for "Corrosive", "Oxidising", "Harmful" and "Highly Flammable"

      This is followed by the narrative:

      (Kitchen Drainer) contains sodium nitrate and sodium hydroxide.

      Harmful if swallowed. Flammable. Contact with combustible material may cause fire. Contact with water liberates extremely flammable gases. Causes severe burns. Keep locked up and out of the reach of children. Avoid contact with the skin and eyes. Wear suitable protective clothing gloves, eye/face protection. In case of contact with skin or eyes rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice. In case of accident or if you feel unwell, seek medical advice immediately (show them this label if possible)

      Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?

      by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:46:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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