Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bottled Water Sometimes(?) Toxic

In our Brave New World where water is the new oil (that is, one of the most basic necessities of life on earth is treated as another money-making commodity), what happens when the market makes a product worse than nature's original? First the market lays claim to something that nature provides anyway, then the market makes that something worse — and charges us for it!

The San Francisco Chronicle has a story on bottled water toxicity exceeding that allowed by law (California law, that is. Our paid servants in most states have done nothing about this).

This joins a growing body of evidence of serious toxins in products which we use daily. bisphenol A (BPA) leaching into water and other drinks from the plastics used to contain such things is of particular concern for children because the chemical can mimic hormones. Canada and Europe have taken action. But in the US, the plastics industry continues to lead government. Nothing is being done.

Similarly, we had the scare earlier in 2008 over products made in China (meaning, a very significant percentage of goods sold in the US) — particularly children's toys which had shown high levels of lead in paint, among other things. Again, industry's initial response was to negate concerns. Now even a normally viciously jingoistic Chinese government is taking action.

Then, of course, there is the air we breathe — with water and shelter, the greatest of necessities. And here again, the government pays lipservice to concerns and does substantially nothing. New York City, for example, has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, particularly in poor areas in high traffic areas (like the Bronx near major highways). Mayor Bloomberg and most of the City Council couldn't care less.

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