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“New ecological disaster …”

… huge amounts of NaCl have been found in 98% of all seawater samples taken in the English Channel two days ago. Environmental activists claimed that this should be no surprise. ‘We observe the growing NaCl-contamination of nearly all seashores worldwide now till 1951. We warned politicians and industry, but they ignored our warnings,’ Mrs. Whynot Hideme from the Natural Seawater Fund said. The Ministry of the Environment announced that a NaCl-task-force has been formed to develop strategies to ban the catastrophe. NaCl is known to kill people in high doses. ‘Nobody survived drinking 2 liters a day of concentrated NaCl solution for more than two weeks,’ Dr. Almost Drunken, Ministry of Health explained.”

STOP! What a stupid story?! NaCl, major compound of sea water as well as potato chips, … a toxin? Well, to my opinion this story is pretty close to reality … but in another meaning than you are aware of.

Measuring systems are getting more and more sensible for their target molecules. Today we are able to detect chemical and biological substances present in smallest amounts. The German business magazine “Capital” had an article in his latest issue entitled “Inspectors without control”. It was talking about the uncontrolled information coming from a variety of food laboratories resulting in panic and unserious political decisions. Nearly everybody can set up a laboratory in his cellar doing “environmental research” today. Without control, without verification, without someone critically asking for the sense. We observe quite the reverse: journalists as well as politicians are desperately looking for lab results that fill columns or that fit to a political ideology.

What we observe with BSE, environmental toxins and other dangerous substances within these days is disproportion and panic. Please do not understand me wrong. I am aware of the danger for human health originating from BSE. But I insist that detecting beef in food is not of the same value as detecting BSE in beef, e.g..

I may talk about Germany, my home country. Labs do detect substances that origin from cows in sweets, pork sausage, spices, and even milk [sic]! Nobody is asking where the cow components of for example spices and dried herbs are coming from. And most people do not know that dried herbs are covered with a thin layer of cow fat to keep their flavor.

So, what happens when a butcher is adding dried herb to his pork or chicken sausage? Bingo! Coming back to our main story, a lab detects the cow molecules by an antibody test, a bored journalist is getting the results in his hands, the journalists newspaper is doing the best cover till 1979, and the local politicians close the butchers facilities. Honestly, the farmer that originally sold the cow can be glad if his whole herd is not burned. Joking? Everything is possible within these days!

Lets always keep in mind that for nature the major ecological disaster is man. And man is also the major disaster for himself.

Originally published on March 9, 2001 by Inside-Lifescience, ISSN 1610-0255

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