Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lead Paint

     I get so annoyed about this, sometimes its a wonder that I can function at all.  The common belief is that capitalism spawns innovation which constantly improves our standard of living.  I would so love to trust big business.  My experiences keep on telling me that the opposite is happening.  If anyone can tell me how the innovation of reducing the width of toilet paper by 1/2 inch improves my standard of living then please, please step up and say so.

      But there are much more insidious examples.  It was actually the announcement that incandescent bulbs have been made illegal that got me going this morning.  Evidently the coal mining companies needed some means to sell all the mercury that they take out of their product, so they invented a new kind of light bulb that uses it and now they foist it upon us in the name of energy conservation.  So amusing.  But we'll have to save that subject for another post.

     Consider the following news item:

     Now read those words again.

This is the first documented death of a child from lead poisoning in Minnesota.

In 2004, approximately 1,500 children had blood lead levels of 10 ug/dL or greater and 122 with 20 ug/dL or greater. (in Minnesota)

(that is one to 12 parts per 10,000,000, in case you do not speak french.)

Lets not even go here, for now ....

Granted, lead does much more damage to young, developing bodies than to adults.  But just for the record, I live in a house which is over 120 years old.  The house had been abandoned when I bought it and not maintained properly for decades before that.  I have torn down walls, removed most of the old plaster, and hauled tons of material to the land fill.  I have sanded every floor, removing 50-year old paint.  Read that again. I have spent easily 100 hours sanding floors.   Lead paint is extremely durable.  That's why they used lead.  It makes a much better quality paint than anything on the market today.
If you use lead-based paint then it makes a hard, durable finish which will stand up to years and years of cleaning, brushing, and pounding, without peeling, flaking, or scraping.  It makes good paint.

Granted, toys should probably not be made with it.  children's jewelry probably should not be made with it.  Probably not cribs, either.  Granted, there are some folks who would love to say that I am mentally deficient, but there's actually fewer of them than there were twenty, thirty, forty years ago.

Recently I had the windows replaced.  Because of the lead in the paint, the company that did it was required to put a red plastic tape border around the house warning everyone (besides me) to stay away, and the workers had to wear those paper breathing masks and they put little plastic drop cloths down under the windows and then they charged me over $600 extra.  Most of the money goes for the training instructors and the special licenses and the government fees.  All of it was a total waste of effort, obviously.

One child has died in Minnesota from lead poisoning, in 20 years of statistics.  Obviously, they don't count bullets .....

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