In a previous posting I introduced some information behind genetic modification of our food supply.  As I noted, the genetic modification is a plant based practice.  As such it also impacts the meat the world consumes.  Animals eat the plants (and the poison compounds) and those same poisons end up in their muscles (the meat we eat).  Alas, there is more to the story.  The ‘more’ is a government and industry sanctioned process.

Several decades back, the practice of adding lead to gasoline was banned.  It was banned because of the harmful effects of lead on the human body.  Consumption of lead causes any number of maladies including deterioration of the brain.  Banning leaded gas was a good thing.  Like asbestos and lead based paint, the general public was misinformed that the use of such compound stopped.  Even today, lead based paint is still used in some limited industrial applications (such as rail cars) and asbestos is still being used for automotive brakes.  Along the same line, leaded gas is still widely used in the aviation industry.  Plans are in place to stop the use of leaded aviation gas, but that is many years in the future.

Before your go out and protest against the major airlines, understand that jets do not run on gasoline.  Jet fuel is more like kerosene and does not contain lead, but leaded gas still poses a significant (possible bigger) problem.

Leaded aviation gas is used for piston driven airplanes.  The planes used to spray crops with both fertilizer and pesticides are piston driven airplanes.  Also, no internal combustion engine completely burns all the fuel.  As with automobiles, the exhaust contains both combusted and raw fuel.  Both the combusted and raw fuel contain lead (lead is not burned away in the combustion process).  As the crop dusting plane flies over a field dropping the load of pesticides, it is also depositing lead particulates.  That same lead is absorbed into the plants and held for later consumption.

Tetraethyl Lead (TEL)

TEL is an organic compound that contains lead and, in small quantities, is very effective in boosting octane. The ban of TEL in automobile gas was phased in over a number of years and was largely completed by 1986 and resulted in significant reductions of lead emissions to the environment. TEL was has not yet been banned for use in avgas, because no operationally safe alternative is currently available.

Is TEL Toxic?

All forms of lead are toxic if inhaled or ingested. Lead can affect human health in several ways, including effects on the nervous system, red blood cells and cardiovascular and immune systems. Infants and young children are especially sensitive to even low levels of lead, which may contribute to behavioral and learning problems and lower IQ. Children have increased sensitivity due to their developing nervous systems.

This is just one more reason to go organic for both meat and produce.  On a final note, though most countries have banned or reduced the use of lead in consumer products, some have not.  Lead is a good stabilizer for the plastics industry.  It is widely used in China for export products such as the plastic insulation in electrical extension cords (and Christmas lights).  I like to decorate as much as the next person, but I don’t buy my lights (or other plastic products) made in China.  I have even noticed a few products sold with a warning not to touch the electrical cord due to the possibility of lead exposure.  This is all important food for thought (and it should be a call to action).

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    Conspiracies are all around us.  Whether you believe them or not, if there is an unanswered question, it might be worth discussing.


    June 2013
    May 2013