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General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
Toxic Climbing Water Bottles 15-Oct-2007 At 5:53:04 PM The Keeper
The scientific debate continues and it is not likely that the EFSA report is the final word in the matter albeit it contains some interesting data and perspectives. The EFSA has essentially given the benefit of the doubt to industry but there are a number of scientists that dispute their findings in a number of key areas, including the species of rats used in the lab tests. The debate is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon given the large number of areas needing additional research. There have been a large number of similar types of debates on other toxic/flawed materials or products over the years ie. cigarettes, second hand smoke,Firestone tires in the US, thalidiomide, toxic beast implants , and the list goes on. It is a very good thing that "we are picking the bad in these things" and holding industry and governments accountable for their activities/products. Good thing that some folks are holding the loggers of the Blue Tier to account for their planned industrial impacts on a significant and important Aussie landscape. Good on them. I cannot judge the merits of the EFSA process and whether or not it is politically compromised or not. Certainly, in the US there have been countless examples of the the government agencies manipulating environmental and health information in favor of corporate interests who get them into power and who are used to maintain them in power. One only has to read early materials coming out of the Bush Administration on climate change and Kyoto. Bush, Harper and Howard are now suddenly becoming environmental houdinis - particularly that all three are either in or close to elections. Desperate times require desperate changes even if they are only skin deep.
In any case, I personally prefer a more circumspect position on toxic water bottles until proven otherwise. Non-toxic bottles are available and can do the job perfectly well - to accept substantard materials seems a bit bizarre to me. A choice of better health or using 30 or 40 dollars of a seriously flawed product. I prefer my health. The call by some to just somehow accept toxic bottles as the price of drinking or living reminds me of a simliar scenario - I recommend Dan O'Neill's book" -The Firecracker Boys" (1994)- a informative exposure of US nucleur industrial development in the 1950s wherein the US Atomic Energy Commission gang wanted to let off 4 nucleur devices on the coast of western Alaska (Project Chariot) in an experimental attempt(1958) to create a harbour. It is a story of bad government and bad industry and fortunately of a few good people including some early Alaskan conservationists and Inupiat who stopped the thing finally. The negative effects of the little escapade were consistely minimized and maniupulated . Two scientists with integrity stood their professional ground but paid for it with their careers but ultimately were vindicated. Both were fired from the University of Alaska and blackballed throughout the use in terms of getting positions elsewhere. One Bill Pruitt (a mammologist) came to Canada and became recognized as outstanding northern biologist. It is an educational read (albeit a bit tedious with facts in places)and unfortunately is mirrored in many other places and times. Our PM is bought and paid by the Alberta Oil Industry who got him into power and who keep him clinging desperately to it. Canada has failed to move significantly on Kyoto because of the implications to the Alberta Oil Industry.

To each his own but to the degree possible, I choose to use safe water bottles, not ones that might be safe or may be safe, or are marginally safe.

Non -carcinogenic sun block is the way to go for sure - lots of alternate materials around and some maybe even non-toxic ie. mud, vegemite, whatever. I tend to favour covering up myself albeit my Canadian Rugby jersey may make me a marked man in another sense! Some kevlar attire is certainly appropriate in S.Queen'sland where there are a lot of gnarly things runnin around who might like to take a chunk out of the poor Keeper. :)

It will be interesting to see the Aussie debate unfold on Howard's and the nucleur industry plans to open up a pile of new uranium mines out there in the "ghastly blank" or maybe even close to people. I think there will some interesting debates on what is an acceptable risk or meets a government set standard in terms of radioactive waste materials. A few extra doses of radioactivity and the Southern Cross won't be the only thing glowing in the Antipodes! Simply the price of living, I suspect some will say. Plutonium is forever in the never never. Fortunately Aussie is blessed with some spunky folk who will engage that debate with some vigour and tenacity.


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