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News Lead(Pb), Mercury(Hg), other toxics, capitalism and goverment role?

  1. Jul 24, 2010 #1
    Im really hating how toxics ruin our lives and our future, you see mercury, lead, and i think chrome (IV) are used in daily products and are very toxic. Personally im reading all the information of the prodcuts i buy, looking for toxics or things like that, and i try to tell people about this, i hope this have an effect. My other concern is this: I kinda admire the "American Dream" and the spirit of cpaitalism that you have to give the best of you, liberty and individual rigths but when it comes to the enviroment should it be goverment force for polluters, what about the laws that say that you have to label products? Whats the role of goverment when it comes to prodcuts safety? is that socialism?.

    Please i hope some light about this, im kinda getting hippie avoiding technology that could contain toxics and thats that i want to be Electrical Engineer.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2010 #2

    russ_watters

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    Why do you care if the things you buy have these substances in them?
    Yes, for goverment to control pollution is authoritarian/anti-capitalism/anti-freedom. But a modern democracy isn't completely lassez-faire: it has to exert a reasonable amount of control over certain things in the common interest.
     
  4. Jul 25, 2010 #3

    Pengwuino

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    The classic thermometer uses mercury. Should this be banned? It's not about removing these toxics from society, it's about being responsible about their use and understanding how much is actually toxic and in what forms they become dangerous. This reminds me of how some people are so ignorant and knee-jerkish that the idea that anything is radioactive makes them fly off a wall and hide in their panic rooms
     
  5. Jul 25, 2010 #4

    russ_watters

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    Yet at the same time, a small bit of radioactive material may someday save your life if your house catches fire!
     
  6. Jul 25, 2010 #5
    Well i care becouse i care my quality of life, and i also care how this things go back to the enviroment, rivers etc. You sounded like saying why i would care slavery in the past. And Lead and Mercury have real health implications.

    Well looks like the mixed economy is the best.
     
  7. Jul 25, 2010 #6
    Well when i think how this products containing lead or mercury go to rivers, destroy the enviroment and threat the future of human specie and its sustainability, well i have to say that i am proud of being ignorant and knee-jerkish for thinking in this.
     
  8. Jul 25, 2010 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    Pity that. Ignorance is never something to be proud of.
     
  9. Jul 25, 2010 #8

    Office_Shredder

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    You realize the reason it's classic and not used anymore is because of the mercury in it? Terrible example
     
  10. Jul 25, 2010 #9

    russ_watters

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    Your quality of life is vastly improved by having those toxic substances around you. Eliminating them will reduce your quality of life.
    Definitely, things need to be disposed of properly. That's a completely separate issue from whether we should use these substances in products.
    Huh? That makes no sense.
    And provide enormous quality of life benefits. So that just means they have to be used responsibly, it doesn't mean they should be eliminated. There are so many things in your house that could kill you if misused (of course, the most dangerous product in your house is your bathtub....), but these things should not just be eliminated because the benefit of having them outweighs the risk.

    What is important is properly dealing with dangerous substances of all types. Not blindly trying to eliminate them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  11. Jul 25, 2010 #10

    russ_watters

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    That was my first thought. A better example would be fluorescent light bulbs.
     
  12. Jul 25, 2010 #11
    You see what i mean?
     
  13. Jul 25, 2010 #12
    Sarcasm?
     
  14. Jul 25, 2010 #13
    Examples please
     
  15. Jul 25, 2010 #14

    Gokul43201

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  16. Jul 25, 2010 #15

    russ_watters

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    Your bathtub is a great example of a product in your house that could injure or kill you, but just off the top of my head:

    -Your stairs.
    -Knives in your kitchen.
    -Cooking oil
    -Your oven/range and its fuel (or electricity)
    -Just about everything you store under your sink is poisonous and many are flammable.
    -Your smoke detector is radioactive.
    -The refrigerant in your air conditioner could suffocate you if it gets out.
    -Your heater could suffocate you if its exhaust duct has a problem.

    For mercury and lead themeselves, they are used primarily in electronics and are very important components. As I said, fluorescent light bulbs use mercury. The most important use of lead is in batteries like your car battery. It wouldn't be a good idea to eat your car battery, but the battery acid would kill you long before the lead would.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  17. Jul 25, 2010 #16
  18. Jul 25, 2010 #17

    Gokul43201

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    I don't know. How is that relevant to their usefulness? Besides, you are raising the issue of disposal, which is not the primary point here.
     
  19. Jul 25, 2010 #18

    russ_watters

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    Here's a list of the most common ways people die (year 2000 stats). Bathtubs are actually less dangerous than I realized, killing only about 340 people a year in the US: http://danger.mongabay.com/injury_death.htm

    That's actually about the same as the risk of accidentally strangling yourself in bed (not sure if that one has had an uptick in recent years...).
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  20. Jul 25, 2010 #19

    russ_watters

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    I don't know - how does lead or mercury end up in our waterways? Isn't it the same way - via leaky landfills or improper industrial dumping?
     
  21. Jul 25, 2010 #20
    Burning coal accounts for about half of human caused mercury pollution.

    http://www.epa.gov/mercury/about.htm

    Indoor pollution now appears to be a major source of exposure to toxins.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
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