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There is excessive lead in the nuclear sludge
January 14, 2011 10:09 AM   Subscribe


 
The kids like the heavy metal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:11 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Irony is dead.

Well, it's going to have some serious cognitive impairment from lead ingestion at any rate.
posted by GuyZero at 10:13 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is lead really so prevalent in food manufacture that 0.1 ppm lead in food is OK?
posted by phunniemee at 10:16 AM on January 14, 2011


There's a number to call for disposal instructions. Are they that toxic that their mere presence in garbage bags is a threat to sanitation workers?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:16 AM on January 14, 2011


But don't you see? We could eliminate all the world's pollution problems by feeding everybody little eeny weeny bits of toxic waste.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:17 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


> We could eliminate all the world's pollution problems by feeding everybody little eeny weeny bits of toxic waste.

Where does the shit go?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on January 14, 2011


Irony is dead.

We're talking about lead, not iron.
posted by kmz at 10:23 AM on January 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, this story is particularly interesting to me. Not to be too conspiratorial, but it seems like certain foreign countries (for example, Pakistan and China) with a history of animosity toward the US have been the source of an awful lot of accidentally poisoned imports in the last few years. From toxic Chinese drywall, to the melamine pet food contamination incident back in 2007 that actually left our dog Arrow with un-passable kidney stones and other renal problems after he ate food we were later able to determine came from one of the tainted batches, to this latest incident and the many others that have come to light recently, it almost starts to look like a pattern.

Notably, lead and mercury exposure can both contribute to belligerence, delusional ideations and other serious mental health problems with the potential for undermining social cohesion, to such an extent that one school of thought (though it's not an accepted mainstream view) has long maintained that lead poisoning contributed to the decline of the Roman empire as madness swept through the society due to poisoning from the consumption of water delivered through lead pipes.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:25 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finally. A product that delivers what it promises.
posted by three blind mice at 10:26 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it couldn't be that they have no such thing as OSHA or FDA, it's that they're actively trying to kill us.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:29 AM on January 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Notably, lead and mercury exposure can both contribute to belligerence, delusional ideations and other serious mental health problems...

Tea Party joke in 3... 2....
posted by Zozo at 10:30 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to be too conspiratorial, but it seems like certain foreign countries (for example, Pakistan and China) with a history of animosity toward the US have been the source of an awful lot of accidentally poisoned imports in the last few years.

It's probably more that they don't really think much about product safety, even in their own countries.

But it's perhaps ironic justice that they found a way to ship the toxic waste that we send them, right back to our kids.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:31 AM on January 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, it couldn't be that they have no such thing as OSHA or FDA, it's that they're actively trying to kill us.

Yeah, that's exactly what I said, smart-ass. All patterns are conspiracies. Right-o.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:32 AM on January 14, 2011


Not to be too conspiratorial

I don't see why suggesting that the fall of the American empire will be caused by collective madness caused by massive lead and mercury poisoning plotted by Pakistan and China would be considered too conspiratorial.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:33 AM on January 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Is lead really so prevalent in food manufacture that 0.1 ppm lead in food is OK?

It's probably more related to detection limits and risk scenarios than "hey this one has 0.09 mg/kg, go for it!". In fact most soil in California has more lead in it than that.
posted by Big_B at 10:37 AM on January 14, 2011


Where does the lead come from? Bad solder joints in pipes? Added to make taste sweeter? Taken up from the ground by plants and concentrated by the processing?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:39 AM on January 14, 2011


Does what it says on the package.
posted by Legomancer at 10:40 AM on January 14, 2011


Sorry, if I was brusque. But if it wasn't clear enough, my point in saying "not to get too conspiratorial" and in using the word "pattern" (which I even further qualified) rather than "conspiracy" was specifically so that it would be clear I didn't mean to suggest that conclusion. It would be intellectually dishonest IMO to rule that out, though (especially since, as you'll note, one of the articles I linked discusses the possibility that some of the contamination was deliberate), because there's simply not enough information available to form a conclusion.

But it shouldn't be necessary to instantly reach a final conclusion on every new issue that comes up just for the sake of being certain, should it?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:41 AM on January 14, 2011


Blue Point Toxic Sludge Black IPA
posted by smackfu at 10:41 AM on January 14, 2011


Where does the shit go?

An interesting question. There was a plan in my neck of the woods to divert human waste solids from the sewage treatment plant into a bioreactor, a high-tech manure pit, then sell it as fertilizer for food crops. There was a lot of protest by people grossed out by the fact that their shit might end up in their food source. The city was able to show that the biopile, like all manure piles was fairly sterile, and was no worse than, say pig manure.

The thing that killed the project though was that the municipal human waste, unlike farm animal sewage, was full of heavy metals, particularly lead and cadmium, presumably from colouring agents. Drugs were also a problem, estrogen, progesterone, and other steroids being some of the ones that caused most concern.

It gives one pause, humans being too contaminated to be even used as fertilizer. We're very high up on the food web, at the top of many toxin bio-accumulation chains. Soylent Green suddenly seems a much less attractive idea.
posted by bonehead at 10:42 AM on January 14, 2011 [23 favorites]


Well, at least you didn't bury the lead.
posted by defenestration at 10:44 AM on January 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think it's kind of a mystery as to how lead gets into candy. I think it must do with how sour or spicy candy is processed. Here is a story I found with a google search, and it suggests that (1) the candy is processed in pots that are painted with lead paint; (2) the ingredients are sometimes artificially weighed down with lead weights so that farmers can get more money per pound; and (3) candy wrappers are contaminated with lead (but no explanation how the candy wrappers get contaminated with lead.

Does anybody know?
posted by jabberjaw at 10:49 AM on January 14, 2011


Yes, a pun that involves different spelling and pronunciation. Truly next-level shit.
posted by defenestration at 10:50 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


WTF where will I get my daily lead requirement from. Oh well, back to chewing on warhammer miniatures.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:52 AM on January 14, 2011


You can "lead" a kid to candy, but you can't make him think.
posted by Debaser626 at 10:55 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


But don't you see? We could eliminate all the world's pollution problems by feeding everybody little eeny weeny bits of toxic waste.

weapons-grade pandemonium, isn't that already the plan in action? I mean, if actions speak louder than words, anyway...
posted by IAmBroom at 10:58 AM on January 14, 2011


candy wrappers are contaminated with lead (but no explanation how the candy wrappers get contaminated with lead.

Lead is a very cheap, very bright clouring agent. It makes brilliant whites, yellows, oranges and reds which are light stable. Cadmium makes great yellows, greens and oranges. Cobalt makes some of the strongest blues you'll ever see. These colours, especially ones so saturated and lightfast, are hard to replicate with normal organic pigments. It's cheap and easy for an unscrupulous manufacturer to use metal pigments to colour the plastic or paper in the candy wrapper. Not safe, but cheap.
posted by bonehead at 11:10 AM on January 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is it still safe to eat wooden Thomas the Tank Engine trains?
posted by Mister_A at 11:11 AM on January 14, 2011


double-bite to prove mom right: lead increases your risk of getting cavities.
posted by anya32 at 11:18 AM on January 14, 2011


Baaa kids today are soft. When I was a kid we ate cigarettes and liked 'em.
posted by stormpooper at 11:28 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


All according to plan.
posted by LordSludge at 11:40 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This makes me reconsider my plan to launch a new candy called "Made Exclusively Out of Goat Jizz and Leprosy."
posted by Mister_A at 11:51 AM on January 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


If I was still between seven and ten this would drive me and my goofy little friends hunt down, buy, and hoard every remaining bar we could afford.
posted by clarknova at 12:01 PM on January 14, 2011


Damn you, Slugworth! Is there no limit to the depths you'll sink to?
posted by Ratio at 12:07 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Food and Drug Administration says Candy Dynamics of Indianapolis is recalling all flavors of its Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars after way too much lead turned up in some cherry-flavored bars in California.

"Way too much lead"? Does NPR not have a style guide?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:41 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, the lead limit isn't actually zero.
posted by smackfu at 12:48 PM on January 14, 2011


bonehead: "Cadmium makes great yellows, greens and oranges."

McDonald's Shrek glasses recalled due to cadmium content.
posted by boo_radley at 1:14 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Considering how much lead we used to put in gasoline and paint, it's everywhere, especially in the US, especially in soil. Of course lead shows up in our food - the fact that it shows up in Pakistan and China isn't very surprising, either.

It's one of the best understood toxics, and there appears to be no safe level for children (unlike many other chemicals where "the dose makes the poison"). Good on California for looking for it in foodstuffs!
posted by ldthomps at 1:24 PM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


something something lobsterpoo something something undeclared peanuts
posted by Redhush at 1:43 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Considering how much lead we used to put in gasoline and paint, it's everywhere, especially in the US, especially in soil.

True, but nevertheless imports from China have been rejected after inspection, on average, 25 times more often than imports from Canada (cite). That's not just lead contamination, of course, but damn. (And only a small sampling of imports are actually screened.)

Hypothetically, if hostile parties within China or a country like Pakistan did want to disrupt our society--and the use of chemical warfare is reputedly less stigmatized in the East than in the West (cite)--they could do so pretty easily due to the complexity in tracing manufacturing processes. So import food safety strikes me as a pretty major defensive blind spot in the rush to globalization, since adequate safety controls aren't in place (the Obama administration has greatly expanded import screening, but it's still kind of hamstrung by the demands of commerce). I mean, it's not likely any of these countries have some coordinated national policy of poisoning imports to America--it's systematically possible, but not at all likely. What's more likely is the possibility of toxins being introduced into imports as acts of terrorism, but in fairness, financial gain seems to be the primary factor in most of these cases. This one seems a little too ironic to me not to seem at least the tiniest bit suspicious--especially since this stuff was manufactured in Pakistan, which isn't exactly known for its dearth of people willing to use terrorist tactics--but coincidences do happen.

I'm not an objective source on this issue though because my wife and I routinely have to spend countless hours per week cleaning up after our incontinent dog now, ever since his melamine poisoning, so I'm bitter.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:49 PM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cadmium makes great yellows, greens and oranges

And that's just your liver! Wait 'til you see what it does to your kidneys.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:47 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Baaa kids today are soft. When I was a kid we ate cigarettes and liked 'em.

Ooooh, lucky! When I was a kid we usta dream of having cigarettes to eat. Instead of licking the poison off the rat bones.
posted by Twang at 12:06 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that was frozen rat bones. Stuck to the shore boulders with frozen gull crap.
posted by Twang at 12:08 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


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