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Politically Correct Dumbness
Posted: 09 July 2009 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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This afternoon I got an e-mail from Alternet.  One of the topics they listed was something like Ten Household items you should never use.  So, I went to the site and looked for them.  Talk about stupidity.  While I sort of agree with the last three, the problems with first seven were based on the user being an idiot and totally misusing them. 

Oh, I got a kick out of one myth that started in the 1950s shortly after Teflon was introduced.  That was that overheating it would cause it to decompose and give off trifluoroacetic acid, a very toxic material.  This was widely promulgated, then some chemist who was familiar with carbon-fluorine reactions questioned the reaction.  Quite a few tests were run and they couldn’t ever get teflon to give off this toxic material.  The worst was that it would decompose into some greenhouse gasses.  Still, the myth continues after fifty years.

Never, never, never use bleach or ammonia or anything containing them !!!!  tongue laugh Stupid.  Just read the labels.  Second, don’t stick your nose in the bottle and breath deeply.  However, breathing a bit of ammonia will do the following:  Be absorbed into your blood where it will immediately be converted to a tiny bit of ammonium carbonate which your liver will quickly convert to urea, and your kidneys will kick it out along with all the rest of the urea your body makes.  Oh, bleach is horrible!!!, Never expose yourself to any sodium hypochlorite!!!  What the hell do they think is used in all the public swimming pools or in your drinking water to kill most of the nasty bacteria?

Never, never use fluorescent light bulbs or at least be terrified of them ever breaking and releasing toxic clouds of mercury.  Geez, I’ve had much more mercury in my fillings that one can get from a fluorescent bulb.  Besides, who goes around breaking any bulbs and exposing themselves to the sharp glass shards?

Never, never use insecticides like Malathion.  Well, just don’t spray it on yourself, and if you do get any on you, wash it off.  The phosphate insecticides were take-offs of nerve gasses, and the first ones were quite toxic.  Then they made Malathion which was designed to be degraded by a human enzyme, but one bugs don’t have.  So, if you do breath a bit of the mist by accident, your body will break it down. 

And the list goes on.

Rather than stupid, ignorant people writing articles trying to terrify the readers, it would be much more valuable (but boring) if they just said, use common sense.

Occam

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Posted: 09 July 2009 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Occam - 09 July 2009 06:30 PM

This afternoon I got an e-mail from Alternet.  One of the topics they listed was something like Ten Household items you should never use.  So, I went to the site and looked for them.  Talk about stupidity.  While I sort of agree with the last three, the problems with first seven were based on the user being an idiot and totally misusing them. 

Oh, I got a kick out of one myth that started in the 1950s shortly after Teflon was introduced.  That was that overheating it would cause it to decompose and give off trifluoroacetic acid, a very toxic material.  This was widely promulgated, then some chemist who was familiar with carbon-fluorine reactions questioned the reaction.  Quite a few tests were run and they couldn’t ever get teflon to give off this toxic material.  The worst was that it would decompose into some greenhouse gasses.  Still, the myth continues after fifty years.

Never, never, never use bleach or ammonia or anything containing them !!!!  tongue laugh Stupid.  Just read the labels.  Second, don’t stick your nose in the bottle and breath deeply.  However, breathing a bit of ammonia will do the following:  Be absorbed into your blood where it will immediately be converted to a tiny bit of ammonium carbonate which your liver will quickly convert to urea, and your kidneys will kick it out along with all the rest of the urea your body makes.  Oh, bleach is horrible!!!, Never expose yourself to any sodium hypochlorite!!!  What the hell do they think is used in all the public swimming pools or in your drinking water to kill most of the nasty bacteria?

Never, never use fluorescent light bulbs or at least be terrified of them ever breaking and releasing toxic clouds of mercury.  Geez, I’ve had much more mercury in my fillings that one can get from a fluorescent bulb.  Besides, who goes around breaking any bulbs and exposing themselves to the sharp glass shards?

Never, never use insecticides like Malathion.  Well, just don’t spray it on yourself, and if you do get any on you, wash it off.  The phosphate insecticides were take-offs of nerve gasses, and the first ones were quite toxic.  Then they made Malathion which was designed to be degraded by a human enzyme, but one bugs don’t have.  So, if you do breath a bit of the mist by accident, your body will break it down. 

And the list goes on.

Rather than stupid, ignorant people writing articles trying to terrify the readers, it would be much more valuable (but boring) if they just said, use common sense.

Occam

Yes and what’s worse is we now have managers and health and safety people preoccupied with enforcing just this nonsense, in the work place.

I ridicule and ignore as best I can and so do others but you get a verbal warning, followed by a written warning, followed by suspension, followed by sacking, if you persist.

The lunatics are taking over the asylum!

Stephen

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Posted: 10 July 2009 01:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Occam - 09 July 2009 06:30 PM

Never, never use fluorescent light bulbs or at least be terrified of them ever breaking and releasing toxic clouds of mercury.  Geez, I’ve had much more mercury in my fillings that one can get from a fluorescent bulb.  Besides, who goes around breaking any bulbs and exposing themselves to the sharp glass shards?Occam

Well, there is a little (mind, ‘a little’) truth in it. In fillings, the mercury is bound. Swallowing mercury seems to be not very dangerous. But inhaling the vapour is really not good: see Wikipedia.

For a few months a portion of mercury was spoiled in a dutch school. They closed the school for a few days to clean up the mercury, and be sure there was no trace mercury vapour left. So if you happen to break a fluorescent light bulbs: Stop breathing, open the windows, get out, and close the door. I assume there is not much mercury in a bulb, so clean it up after a few hours, it will be OK.

GdB

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Posted: 10 July 2009 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Occam, what about a dish detergent? I remember some time ago being at a BBQ party where my friend, who is a chemist, got into a small argument with his brother. My friend was washing dishes and his brother was giving him a hard time for not rinsing the plates properly. My friend told him that a little bit of a dish detergent is harmless. I guess he knows what he’s talking about since he owns a company that makes food. BUT!, the other day I was washing something in my garden and I used some dish detergent. I left the items to dry in the sun on top of the grass, only to find out the next day that the detergent completely burned the grass. What’s going on here? How could the detergent do this to the grass but be supposedly safe to swallow?

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Posted: 10 July 2009 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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1) GdB, of course breathing large amounts of mercury vapor can cause problems, but you’d have to be in a small closed room, break a dozen fluorescent bulbs, and stay there for fifteen minutes.  The amount in one bulb is quite small, and it’s instantly diluted in the room.  Someone dropped and broke a mercury manometer in a room of a lab at a company I worked for.  The guys there used a qute little hand-held device that amalgamates and picks up the larger droplets.  Then one of them walked around the room like a farmer sowing seeds and sprinked flowers of sulfur all over the floor.  They then closed up the room for a day.  Sulfur vapors reacted with the mercury changing it to mercury sulfide, quite inert, they vacuumed the room, then went back to using it with no problems.

2)  George, if you sprinkle the same amount of table salt (or probably even sugar) on grass, the same thing will happen.  Plant roots need to suck in moisture to survive.  If one adds any soluble material, even a fertilizer, in decent amounts, it dissolves in the ground moisture and, by osmosis, sucks the water out of the plant, quickly dehydrating and killing it.  Many years ago, a number of us found we could buy thirty pound bags of ammonium sulfate (an excellent nitrogen supplying fertilizer) very cheaply from Shell Oil if we bought something like 30 bags.  I mentioned this to an engineer friend of mine, so he put in for two bags.  The next week he was furious because his whole, normally lush, lawn near his patio had died.  I learned that he had used the entire sixty pounds on his about 1,000 square foot of lawn.  The recommended amount is about one pound per 1,000 sq.ft. and water in thoroughly. 

The amount left on dishes would be essentially harmless, but I wouldn’t recommend eating or drinking a cup of that or any detergent, or even table salt.  Although your chemist friend was being a bit of a slob because most detergents are quite bitter so he really should have rinsed the plates more thoroughly.

Occam
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Posted: 10 July 2009 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Occam - 10 July 2009 01:40 PM

1) GdB, of course breathing large amounts of mercury vapor can cause problems, but you’d have to be in a small closed room, break a dozen fluorescent bulbs, and stay there for fifteen minutes.  The amount in one bulb is quite small, and it’s instantly diluted in the room.  Someone dropped and broke a mercury manometer in a room of a lab at a company I worked for.  The guys there used a qute little hand-held device that amalgamates and picks up the larger droplets.  Then one of them walked around the room like a farmer sowing seeds and sprinked flowers of sulfur all over the floor.  They then closed up the room for a day.  Sulfur vapors reacted with the mercury changing it to mercury sulfide, quite inert, they vacuumed the room, then went back to using it with no problems.

2)  George, if you sprinkle the same amount of table salt (or probably even sugar) on grass, the same thing will happen.  Plant roots need to suck in moisture to survive.  If one adds any soluble material, even a fertilizer, in decent amounts, it dissolves in the ground moisture and, by osmosis, sucks the water out of the plant, quickly dehydrating and killing it.  Many years ago, a number of us found we could buy thirty pound bags of ammonium sulfate (an excellent nitrogen supplying fertilizer) very cheaply from Shell Oil if we bought something like 30 bags.  I mentioned this to an engineer friend of mine, so he put in for two bags.  The next week he was furious because his whole, normally lush, lawn near his patio had died.  I learned that he had used the entire sixty pounds on his about 1,000 square foot of lawn.  The recommended amount is about one pound per 1,000 sq.ft. and water in thoroughly. 

The amount left on dishes would be essentially harmless, but I wouldn’t recommend eating or drinking a cup of that or any detergent, or even table salt.  Although your chemist friend was being a bit of a slob because most detergents are quite bitter so he really should have rinsed the plates more thoroughly.

Occam, bravo. That’s great information!

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Posted: 10 July 2009 03:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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More great info from Occam! I’m telling you Occam, if you ever want to publish a book of all your hints, tips, and rants, I’ll help you put it all together.  LOL

I agree on the hysteria over certain things being silly. A couple that have been bugging me lately, as I’ve run into separate people complaining about each:

- People convinced the mercury in their dental fillings will poison them

- People who STILL think cooking with a microwave oven will give them cancer

- People who think irradiated meat and produce will give us cancer (why not make us mutant superheros?  LOL )

These common myths really bug me!

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Posted: 10 July 2009 09:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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LOL Soap (not detergent) is used for enemas!!!

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Posted: 10 July 2009 09:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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We have some really stupid rules in our hospital that I have been pointing out as idiotic for years…not that it gets me anywhere! One rule is that if someone comes in infected with H1N1 flu (it would have to be a parent or visitor) we are to ask them to leave, and THEN order the N-95 masks from central supply (we don’t have them on our unit) and put them on until we are told to take them off! First of all, how do we KNOW they have H1N1 flu? If they have a mild case, neither of us may know! Second, by the time we realize they have the flu, we have all been well exposed, if we are LUCKY it will take 30 min for the masks to come up from Central Processing! Just one example of stupid policies. It would make more sense to grab a mask for the parent and have them put it on before kicking them out, then wash our hands (and faces) and disinfect all of the surfaces they may have come into contact with. But that is not even part of our policy!

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Posted: 10 July 2009 09:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks, Occam!  grin

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Posted: 10 July 2009 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Jules - 10 July 2009 03:48 PM

More great info from Occam! I’m telling you Occam, if you ever want to publish a book of all your hints, tips, and rants, I’ll help you put it all together.  LOL

I agree on the hysteria over certain things being silly. A couple that have been bugging me lately, as I’ve run into separate people complaining about each:

- People convinced the mercury in their dental fillings will poison them

- People who STILL think cooking with a microwave oven will give them cancer

- People who think irradiated meat and produce will give us cancer (why not make us mutant superheros?  LOL )

These common myths really bug me!

Not that we’re that important, but we can put together those great comments that you find on the back cover of the book to say how great the author/book is!! grin

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Posted: 11 July 2009 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Occam, do you have a chemistry tip for getting Paneer Masala off a white fabric dining chair? The tomato cream sauce just won’t come out. LOL

My husband was ready to pour bleach on the chair. I was thinking something a little more delicate. Does anyone know if that Oxyclean stuff is any good, or if it’s just TV junk?

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Posted: 11 July 2009 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Jules - 11 July 2009 05:19 PM

Occam, do you have a chemistry tip for getting Paneer Masala off a white fabric dining chair? The tomato cream sauce just won’t come out. LOL

My husband was ready to pour bleach on the chair. I was thinking something a little more delicate. Does anyone know if that Oxyclean stuff is any good, or if it’s just TV junk?

Oxy-clean is good-stuff. I can’t recommend it for your chair. Don’t know. I use it in laundry, it works as good as bleach, I think.
Try a little oxy-clean on the chair if you have no other alternatives. Who knows?

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Posted: 11 July 2009 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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First, use water with a small amount of detergent and a bit of ammonia in it.  Scrub gently with a tooth brush, then use cotton cloth or Viva paper towels to absorb whatever you can.  Wet with plain water and soak up again a couple of times to remove the detergent.  This gets rid of some of the fat from the cream sauce and the ammonia neutralizes the acidity from the tomato. 

Next, use a wet-or-dry vacuum cleaner to suck out the moisture that’s gone deeper into the chair.  Hit it with a bit more water and suck it out again.  Let it dry.  There will still be an orange stain, but it should be lighter.  Now, go to the local drug store and buy a bottle of 91% isopropyl alcohol.  Wet a soft cloth with it and wipe over the stain, then mop up.  Do this a couple of times. 

If it’s all gone, great.  If not, then you have to use a solvent that’s closer to the polarity of the hydrocarbon red color from the tomato.  Since I still have some xylene and 1,1,1 trichloroethane that’s what I use.  However, since they are no longer available, go to the local hardware super store and buy a can of enamel (not lacquer) thinner.  Repeat cleaning the stain with this a few times.  That should get rid of it.  The only problem is that it may leave some odor.  If so, hit it again with the isopropyl alcohol.

Oh, whatever you do, don’t use the vacuum to pull out the solvents.  The vapors could explode.  And it’s best do do all this stuff during the day, with the windows open and a fan blowing the smell to the outside.  Just to make sure that they didn’t sell you the wrong solvent at the hardware store, wet a bit of the fabric underneath the chair and make sure the solvent doesn’t soften it or make it sticky.  That would only happen if the fabric was rayon or acetate, and the thinner was lacquer thinner or a ketone.

Tomato stains are fairly resistant to bleaches.

Let me know how it works out, Jules.

Occam

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Posted: 11 July 2009 08:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Damn Occam, Oxyclean sounds SO much easier LOL

But I just knew you’d have a complex chemical recipe for removing tomato stains. I will try your first round of suggestions before moving on to the more difficult “exploding shop-vac phase.”  tongue rolleye

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Posted: 11 July 2009 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I’m buying Occam a cape….Super O to the rescue!! LOL

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