Fears were expressed this week that lead content in the metal rivets used in some blue jeans could poison children wearing them.
This is an extreme example of what Jay Lehr Ph.D., Heartland’s science director, wrote about in his review of Scared to Death: How Chemophobia Threatens Public Health, a new book by Jon Entine for The American Council of Science and Heallth, which documents American’s unreasonable fear of useful substances.
So it would be the ultimate irony if lead rescues the Japanese from possible emissions of radioactivity from the nuclear plants evidently damaged in the earthquake there.
As this is written, nuclear experts are continuing efforts to cool down the nuclear rods with water pumped from the oceans and discharged from helicopters. If this effort fails, a last alternative might be the “Chernobyl” option, which is to bury the rods in sand, soil, boron, and — yes! — lead.
Despite American hysteria over lead even in the most teensiest amounts, there is a reason why it hasn’t been banned — it is incredibly useful in proper applications. Anyone who’s gone to the dentist knows lead is ubiquitously used in aprons to shield dental workers from radioactivity. It’s used in batteries and computers, among many other items. Molten lead is even used in some nuclear power plants because of its cooling properties.
Lead to the rescue!!