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Humans have been using chlorine and petroleum for decades, so why do they seem so bad all of a sudden? It's simple: it's mankind's overuse of them within a heavily polluted world. Chemicals like chlorine and petroleum haven't changed. Man's use of them has changed .
Do you drink eight glasses of chlorine per day? Would you drink a cup of pesticides? What about a cup of petroleum water? Manmade chemicals can make a human sick very quickly, and can destroy the good bacteria that keep the intestinal tract healthy.
Let's look at chlorine. We never dreamed that everyday chlorine could be so dangerous for human health because most of us have grown up with chlorine products. Decades ago our public water supplies were less polluted, and a few drops of chlorine could purify a lot of water. With all the pollution today, it's as if we are mixing dirty water with poisonous amounts of chlorine hoping it will stay "clean. " And, we are mixing even more chlorine into the waters around the Gulf.
Today, water treatment plants have to add higher levels of chlorine so they can be sure some chlorine will remain in the water when it reaches your home. Because of chlorine's volatility, more water treatment plants are switching to chloramine. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia that is more stable than chlorine, but is also very potent. Chloramine won't release from the water as easily as chlorine, so it leaves both chlorine and ammonia as by-products; you are solving one problem (the chlorine), but creating a new problem (the ammonia).
And, chloramine isn't as good at killing microorganisms as chlorine, so higher levels of chloramine are often used in our public water supply.
So here's another problem, and one that involves the petroleum from the Gulf oil spill - organochlorines. Organochlorines are the combination of chlorine and organic substances. Pesticides, plastics, paints, dyes, deodorants, bleaching agents, refrigerants, wood preservers and cleaning solvents are common examples of products created by combining chlorine and petroleum. Now, mankind is looking at chlorine and petroleum in the Gulf - directly combined.
Organochlorines typically do not like water (hydrophobic) and are attracted to animal fats, including lipids (lipophilic), which is bad news for living creatures. Most organochlorines do not readily dissolve in water but instead gravitate toward fat-containing organisms where they "bioaccumulate" as they move up the food chain, from fish to man. Organochlorines in the tissues of some fish species, for example, have been measured 150 times greater than their level in the surrounding water. We, humans, are not exempt.
Studies have already proven the dangers of chlorine mixed with petroleum. Dr. Jack Vallentyne, Senior Scientist, Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington, Ontario stated: "Toxic chemicals, in large part organochlorines, have impaired and are impairing the natural populations of fish, reptiles, birds and mammals in the Great Lakes Basin. The concentrations of organochlorines in these wild populations are in the same general range as those found in human populations. Because of their short generation times, populations of fish and wildlife may be showing effects that will appear later in human populations. On this basis, and direct evidence from a limited number of human studies, the reports also concluded that there is a clear threat to human health. The dimensions of the human health threat are not well known."
And now, we have organochlorines impacting life surrounding the Gulf of Mexico.
Chlorine, petroleum, organochlorines, and chloramine apparently don't agree with living creatures. Doesn't this say something about the changes mankind must make for our future? In order to manage the chaos that we have brought upon ourselves, we simply continue to create more chaos. It's time we give nature back to nature.
On a positive note, mankind now realizes that societies have created a serious, unnatural situation beyond our control. The toxic accumulation of many man-made chemicals in our Gulf waters will stimulate positive, future action. A new awareness - a new view of the Earth - is long overdue, but it is always better late than never.
Since humans and the Earth are composed mostly of water, the future of one's personal health, the global environment, and plans for the renewal of a better relationship with the Earth's resources starts with each one of us.
It's time to admit that the prolonged overuse of chemicals such as chlorine and petroleum are simply two of the chemicals whose times have passed. This leaves the door wide open for exciting changes ahead; more natural changes, if societies stay smart.
Cartoon created by Mimi's Memos. Copyright 2010 Mimi's Memos All Rights Reserved http://www.MimisMemos.com/
Posted July 2010 | Permanent Link
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