If You’re of a Certain Age, Thank Your Local Chemist

I belong to several groups for writers, mostly online. Almost every one of them has among its membership an inordinate amount of mothers. Not that it’s a bad thing to be a mother, but guaranteed if you get more than about one or two in a room, there’s gonna be an argument.

I don’t know if it’s hormones or what, but for some reason, when you turn into a mother, it’s like you become a rabid weasel on crack about protecting your kids. Now that can mean any number of things. from protecting them from bad TV to predators to the high price of apple juice. This week in several of my groups, it was spinach.

If you haven’t heard the whole e-coli in the spinach thing yet, please crawl out from under your rock because if there’s spinach under there, you’re going to get pretty sick. We all agreed that eating spinach right now is something even Popeye would say is a bad idea. Good. No argument there. But the why was a totally different matter.

There was the “I was everything that comes into my house with Lysol and bleach” brigade. Then there was the “you take a chance breathing” bunch. But my all-time favorite bunch is the “I never buy anything that isn’t organic or has been touched by a chemical or has been touched by anything automated” group. Because, of course, we need to go back to our caveman roots so we can be healthy.

Yeah. Okay, so since your average caveman didn’t generally live past about 40, why would I want to do that? What’s my motivation here? Oh, I get the whole eating healthy thing, and I know there have been some bad chemicals out there, but to boycott them altogether? I just don’t get it. Chemicals have brought us medicines that would have killed our caveman friends, the face cream and cosmetics these same women sometimes slather on like facial aluminum siding, and… well… just about everything you look at. The computer I’m using right now? Yeah. Case made of plastic created by the miracles of modern chemistry. And in agriculture? Chemicals and fertilizers have ensured we haven’t starved to death by helping our plants grow. Our caveman friends did not have that, and man of them starved.

But as many good things chemicals have done, the die-hard organic lovers will cite four bad things. And it’s not that they’re wrong, it’s just that they’re looking out of a narrow field of vision. Eating natural, non-processed foods is good for you. No argument. But just because something has been grown in chemical fertilizers doesn’t mean it’s some carcinogenic time bomb and the equivalent of eating enriched uranium with a ketchup chaser.

The whole thing reminds me of an email that I received a few years ago with a note attached about writing my senator. It was all about the dangers of dihydrogen oxide. This stuff was a powerful solvent that kills people when accidentally inhaled. It went on and on, listing all the fatalities and dangers, noting all the big evil companies that used it everyday. How it was put into food, yada yada yada. Well, anyone who cracked their 10th grade chemistry book can figure out that dihydrogen oxide is H2o. Ya know. Water.

But people got caught up in the hype! And people have gotten caught up in the organic hype.

But the cavemen ate organic foods.

Hello, dead at 40! Starved, died from something that could have been cured by an anti-biotic. You know?A CHEMICAL?  Not that modern chemistry doesn’t have it’s limitations, mind you. My third son is living proof of that.

Oh, and the whole spinach thing? Yeah, organic or not, it was all tainted. And all the washing in the world wouldn’t fix it since it was in the soil.  And e-coli is NOT a man made chemical. It’s organic.


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