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Welcome to the board SI-Poet. You bring a refreshing new point of view to the site.

I used to like the smell of the mosquito poison cloud. In the 50s and 60s, the Mosquito man would come down my street and spray the woods at the corner of Goodwin and Jewett. That woods is where we "kids" used to try to make our bikes go airborne with ramps at the end of a downhill bike path. The added high of Nerve Gas-laden insecticide made us not want to come down after the ramp launched us.

The 50s and 60s were an amazing time for generating public trust. It generally got trashed. The postwar boom in industry gave us many new products and "improvements." Not many people worried about the "What ya don't know won't hurt ya" attitudes of big business.

We had "Buster Brown Shoes." At the store, they had a machine where you could look at the bones of your toes wiggle around while your balls got a nice dose of "soft" Xrays. We could buy a tube of blue or pink plastic goo and a straw that you could use to make a clear plastic balloon. So what, that you got a big dose of mineral ether and methyl ethyl kepone each time you took a whiff. We all had new products made out of that unburnable "inert" material, asbestos. They even made filters for cigarettes and filters to clean up soft drinks and beer out of it. The South Africans had already known that asbestos increased cancer risk in the 1930s and 40s.

Some of our mothers took a tranquilizer called "Thalidomide" to calm their nerves when they were busy raising all the postwar booming babies. It was advertised as being safe for little kids because it was not toxic regardless of what dose you took. It was 1957 when a lady at the FDA put a stop to it before we had an epidemic of armless kids.

I suppose my mother thought it was a little funny that my eyes bugged out and I acted goofy after spending 4 hours making balsa models with that great-smelling model airplane glue. She only groused and griped but ended up admitting the results were creative. That was before kids decided to skip using glue to make models and just sat around huffing it.

It is funny she didn't react too strongly to that because she always had a great paranoia for anything with a chemical name. In fact, she and a bunch of PS30 PTA members got together in the 1950s to block the fluoridation of the water system coming into Staten Island because "Fluoride" was a chemical. She made the dentists rich because they had lots of silver and mercury amalgams to put in my mouth, when they could save the tooth.

We bought powerful cars with weak brakes. Insect sprays for our gardens that contained bona fide chemical weapons. And, you could buy chemicals from a pharmacy that could be used to make rocket fuel or bombs.

Life was really sweet in the 1950s and 1960s. Business was prospering and no one gave you any trouble if you were being creative or doing only harm to yourself.

Now it's really different. There are regulations for everything. Even when we buy "salt" for our laboratory, someone tells us exactly how much you can't have because it may do harm. A spill isn't just a spill these days, it is a Hazmat event. The Hazmat events are even "toxic" to some people. When someone sends a letter labeled "Anthrax" to an abortion clinic, the rescue folks come and make everyone strip naked so they can be decontaminated.

People make a profession out of doing the "costly" asbestos removal from the steam pipes in your old house even as those houses are being eaten up by termites because the stuff they put down now isn't effective without DDT.

Well, sipoet your question did cause a lot to pour out of me like a sweet smelling toxic mist. You have the right idea. Maybe there should have been more mothers out there stopping "chemicals" like my own mother did. Unfortunately, she didn't stop smoking or consuming ethanol or she would still be around to see how grateful I am for what she did.

Art
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