October 2014
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Toxins of the Past : Part II

Here’s more on the toxic chemicals and materials we used to handle like no one’s business until it was found these materials were highly deadly and toxic.

Madame Curie herself, the researcher who discovered radioactivity (radium and polonium, she actually coined the term radioactivity after discovering these active isotopes), exposed herself to high levels of radioactivity without knowing how toxic it was to her system.

As you have most certainly have heard by now, Arafat is thought to have possibly been poisoned by polonium, a highly toxic radioactive substance, after high levels of it have been discovered on his toothbrush and other personal effects. He is to be shortly exhumed to examine this theory.

Curie died in the 30’s of aplastic anemia, which was undoubtedly related to her extensive unprotected exposure to highly radioactive isotopes in a small shed.  Even her research papers are highly toxic today and anyone who wishes to review them must wear radioactive protective effects. They are also stored in a lead lined box because they are so highly toxic – even after all these years!

It is well known also that real cocaine used to be an ingredient in the still-popular soft drink Coca Cola.  Of course today cocaine, which is a highly addictive and toxic street drug that also happens to be illegal, is known to be dangerous but back then it was simply a plant based extract that was used in a soft drink. It didn’t contain huge levels of it, but enough.

Formaldehyde is a chemical used in construction as well as in several consumer goods – way too many actually. It is highly toxic to the human body, but the FDA has considered certain levels of the chemical to be safe and allowed on the market. It is found in car materials, building materials (unless of course you have paid the extra money to have a green building), and even hair relaxing and curling treatments.

Formaldehyde is basically an embalming substance. It is used to add stability and integrity to many different building materials and to help change the chemical structure of materials as well.  It should be avoided at all costs. That new car smell? Most likely related to formaldehyde unfortunately!

Phthalates are another chemical that is used in construction. It is mostly used in hard plastics like PVC pipe. The European Union has recently taken the bold step to ban this substance from products. It would be great if the US banned it but that doesn’t look likely any time soon.

 

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