I am not a chemist. I took no chemistry classes in high school and took none in college. Still I found myself thinking of chemistry the other day. Many questions came to mind!
Then I began thinking about myself and chemicals. I remembered that at about six or seven years old, I had collected a lot of small glass bottles in a space in our basement. In some larger bottles I had accumulated some liquids and stuff from around the house. After doing some mixing and matching, mostly by color, I began filling my small bottles with my marvelous mixtures. I was a chemist. As I remember, no one sicken or died from my work. My grand mother even admired it.
Next I remember that about eight I carried out some experiments with matches, carbide, water, and alcohol. This was done outdoors.
Then came to mind, a rather nice chemistry set my parents got for me when I was perhaps eleven. My younger brothers got deeply into it before I had explored it much. I hope I didn't really want them to get sick from the quantities of my chemicals I believed they had eaten.
Another memory came. I was looking for my next class in a high school new to me. In the process I walked into a classroom with only the teacher there. As I came forward I saw a somewhat daunting wall chart and asked the teacher about it. He said that it was a periodic table. I asked, "Of what?" and he said "Elements." He told me where to get information about my class. As I has leaving I ask what class this was and he said, "Chemistry." As I walked on I thought, "No Chemistry for me."
Be that as it may, after skimming an article dealing with chemistry I began to consider the subject a bit. The word "toxic" came to me; "toxic chemicals." The questions began to come again. I hope to share some of those questions with you.
There are those who would be happy to help us to answer our questions when we show our interest. There are those in the chemical industry who will provide us answers to many of our questions. Yes, there are some questions, and answers, which may interest many of us. I will list some of mine ant the end of this little essay.
Members of the chemical industry are interested in our votes. There are people in that important industry who make it their business to know about your votes. Often they have found it more efficient to deal with our Representative in the House of Representatives than it is to deal more directly with us.
However, nearly every company is making efforts to keep us informed about the chemicals in their industry and their products. Many of those companies have web-sites with a great deal of important information about the effects of chemicals on our lives. Most of the information they provide is free.
Your Congressman is also available for questions, answers, and comments for not direct cost. Google the House of Representatives, Washington, DC and give them your zip code. You will be provided with the name and contact information for your own Representative. On-line you can leave him a note about what's on your mind. Your courtesy will be appreciated.
As you continue you may find questions coming to you. You may ask them in the in the "comment" section below. If you do not see that section, look for the tiny word "comments" and click on it. An appropriate window should appear. My answer may be slow and incomplete, but other readers some times offer some very useful responses. I am trying to make it easily possible to comment anonymously when one wishes to do so.
Consider making a little list of questions you go along here. You might find it interesting to review your questions later. You could compare your list to mine.
Those of you with the energy and inclination to be politically or socially active might consider some organizing activity. People of chemical corporations and industries are often politically organized to take of themselves and their industry. NAM and other organizations collect and disseminate information to their members about you and me. That information is usually macro-info in the form of statistics. Many of these organizations are ready, able, and very willing to share information with you, or your organization, on-line.
How are you organized? Three individuals who discover a community of interest may be an effective organization. Seventeen or thirty-nine persons who have discussed their common interests may become a powerhouse organization. There are ready made citizen and consumer organizations available to you. Yes, on-line. They are often very happy to accept you as a new active member.
I can imagine myself with four or five other individuals who meet, say, ten times a year, but maintain some contact by email all year. We find we have a nearly total lack of information about the effects of most industrial chemicals upon us and our families. We begin to share the little information we do have. We know that what we have called industrial chemicals are in our household products and in products we use in our work-places. We find that it seems that even the makers of the products we use, do not find it easy to identify in their supply chain of the chemicals of the chemicals they use and sell. We find that we have a lot to learn, but we do find an amazing amount of information just among ourselves. Friends find out what we are doing and a couple agree to help a bit.
We find out that workers and consumers do not have the information they need to choose less toxic Chemicals. There is a feeling of overwhelm; what can we do? The feeling passes as we remember that we have already learned a lot together. We have made changes in our homes and one has begin a not very complicate change at her work?
We have been doing informal info-share among ourselves by email.Some have been passing on this email to family and friends. We find a volunteer to build and keep up an email mailing list and mail out a more "formal" news letter and and find him a helper. Now there is a suggestion that we send our newsletter to every one on our list. And in it that we ask for donations and for recommendations of new readers. We may need some new organizational help soon. We begin to find out that our Representatives and even our governmental agencies are without needed informaton on which chemicals and compounds may be killing us. So our government is not organized to meaningfully identify and prioritize chemical hazards. That is we are not getting vital information or the information we need to keep our families safe.
We begin to think that our doings as active citizens is even more important than we thought it was when we began to organize. We know that when we do not have the information it is difficult or impossible for us or for others to use our legal tools to regulate toxic compounds; or to use them at all efficiently. Information is truly vital. We want to learn to share it more effectively.
We continue to collect information and to help one another learn. As we keep doing that which we are doing we continue to feel some resistance to our efforts. We are motivated to better our understandings. We also find more knowledgeable individuals willing to help us and to work with us. Our local librian has been and continues to be very helpful.
Can you imagine now that you have begun to organize or that you have joined an organization that you see is doing important work and that you can help?
You have begun to get the information you need about a lot of happenings and doings. You are pleased to have met persons interest in and informed about preventive medicine and public health. Your organization has found great speakers to help educate you and your fellow members.
Perhaps members of your organization has contacted members another group who have found ways to help people associated with the chemical industry to make producst safe for us and our families before those products go to market. Perhaps a similar group will help you with political information related to chemicals and your interests. Maybe their is an easy way your group can help them. I seem to remember a time when such sharing led to sharing the possibility that the hexane used in children's bubble gum gives people the symptos of multiple sclerosis. Or, that there might be an interesting Green Chemistry initiative before congress.
As I believe I have indicated this essay is not only for US citizens, but can also be usefull for people of your nation or country. In writing this little essay into chemistry I had citizens of the USA in mind, but much of that which I am suggestion can be applied to people of your kingdom or republic,
There is a lot to do and a lot to learn.
Questions such as the following could com up in your group or organization:
~ Who can help us to get the facts straight?
~ Who would like to fool us about the facts?
~ What do we want?
~How might our group talk be realte to a dialogue for peace?
~ How can we get what we need?
~ Who can help me find out about the toxicity of the compounds in my life?
~ Who can help us to fin out how toxic a given chemical or compound is?
~ What symptoms to the toxicity are there? Would one need an antidote?
~ How do we find out how a chemical concoction is best used? Is there an effective and les toxic substitute or alternative?
~ Which chemical is never toxic?
~ How are we, as a people, determining environmentally sound chemical practice?
~ How shall we keep well informed? Only by they who sell them?
~ Who in your area is willing to help you deal with the chemicals in your life?
~ Who, in our area, can we praise for their good help in our efforts to deal healthfully and safely with chemicals?
~ What do we know about the dumbing of our citizens?
~ Which organizations are helping us to look at our entire chemical production system?
~ How can we go about finding a Congressman to help?
~ Who can rind out which political decisions and which economic policies are leading to damage to our bodies? to our very being?
~ How can we live better with chemistry?
~ Is ignorance bliss?
~ Shall we get our best informaton about chemicals from those whom sell them? Those who manufacture them?
~ Who has more interesting questions? more useful ones?
~ Who agrees with me that we don't have to do anything?
~ Who is resposible?