Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New year resolutions and a PSA: Don't inhale the carbon nanotubes

I don't remember ever setting any new year resolutions. I didn't avoid them for any conscious reasons, it just never occurred to me to try. This morning, while the taste of Dr. Pepper was fresh in mouth (150 calories per can, mind you), I smoked my second cigarette before showering. Obviously, as far as health goes, this year is going to be more of the same.

So my resolution is this: come up with resolutions before 2014.

thinner than thread, stronger than steel!

So apparently a new study shows carbon nanotubes might be as dangerous as asbestos. Which means to you, me, and your children, it really isn't that dangerous at all, but people will rally against this technology nonetheless. Yes, it's harmful if inhaled for prolonged periods of time (and I've been around asbestos in its floating-in-the-air state during my day job), but it's not going to be floating in the air around you or your children in the vast majority of reasonable scenarios.

Says the article linked above:

During the study, led by the Queen's Medical Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh/MRC Center for Inflammation Research (CIR) in Scotland, scientists observed that long, thin carbon nanotubes look and behave like asbestos fibers, which have been shown to cause mesothelioma , a deadly cancer of the membrane lining the body's internal organs (in particular the lungs) that can take 30 to 40 years to appear following exposure. Asbestos fibers are especially harmful, because they are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs yet too long for the body's immune system to destroy.

Asbestos is one of those boogieman words like "nuclear" that drive people into a frenzy. I really don't want to see nanotube technology go down the same road. Yes, we should be cautious of it and to be clear: I'm really not saying the overreacting watchdog activists haven't had any positive effect on society at all. I'm just saying let's try to keep a level head here. There's a ton of things that could kill me in my house right now and, as far as I know, it's 100% free of asbestos. Even so, I'll take my chances.

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