Scientists and the rest of the human race is finally beginning to realize that it has a tendency to try to destroy itself. Scientists are discovering that many of it’s creations can and have caused the deaths of many individuals. Studies have shown that many mechanisms and improved materials, which make human chores easier, are now known to cause or could possibly cause mortality rates to increase. People should know about these potential dangers. The microwave, computers, tanning beds, and cellular phones are thought to be the cause of some of these untimely deaths. Also there are chemicals such as lead and asbestos that have and can lead to such casualties. But most of all, it is the use of nuclear reactors to generate power that has caused the destruction of lives.
First, although a microwave is a very useful machine, and it helps in speeding up the cooking of food, a microwave can have harmful effects on babies. Mother’s milk is sometimes stored in the refrigerator in order to feed a baby more easily. Since the milk is cold it must be heated so that the child will drink it. In laboratory tests bottles with breast milk that were microwaved had a 79% decrease in immunoglobulin-A antibodies, which fight against infection, and a 19% decrease in lysozymes, which help destroy bacteria. Destruction of these antibodies leaves the child at a greater risk of developing a deadly infection (Fraser 17). A smart decision should be made, people should not heat bottled milk in the microwave, and take time to warm the milk in hot water, a baby’s life could depend on it.
Computer monitors might be the cause of birth defects, miscarriages, and cancer. Computer monitors emit very-low-frequency (VLF) and electromagnetic fields (ELF). The emissions form a sphere around the terminal. A 1988 study indicated that there were twice as many women who worked around computers that miscarried than those who did not. Luckily some companies are now allowing pregnant women to transfer from using the computers. Many scientist think that ELF emissions can cause effect the growth and chemical structure of human cells. In March of 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency stated that the terminal could be carcinogenic. After many years of use a person can develop brain tumors or other deadly forms of cancer (Greiner 16-17).
There are many people who do not believe that the computer monitors could cause have such horrible consequences. If there is no risk in using these computers, then why are some companies changing their computers, and some businesses are changing the way their employees use them.. Sigma Design added a coil to it’s computer that would reduce the ELF emissions. Even IBM has created new displays that have reduced emissions. CBS has required that their employees remain three feet away from the computer unless the person is using the computer (Greiner 17). People should be aware that their computer could cause cancer and should limit their exposure to ELF emissions.
A person can also be putting themselves at risk by using tanning beds. Many teen-agers believe that it is very cool to be tan therefore they go to tanning salons to get them. Ultraviolet A (UVA), which are more intense, and ultraviolet B (UVB) are known to cause skin cancer which can be fatal. Tanning beds only use UVA rays. Also the person’s tan may remain, so he or she would have to get repeated treatments. Which in turn would expose a person to even more UVA rays. Even though there is not much evidence on these effects on teen-agers, a Dr. Sydney Hurwitz from Yale University School of Medicine has reported that he has seen five or six children with melanomas. He also stated that ten to twenty percent of those people with melanoma go on to die, and that there is a six to ten percent increase per year ( Greeley 31-33). Individuals should warn their children not to use tanning booths and encourage them that a tan may cool but dead is even colder.
Many of today’s chemicals are also a hazard to human health. For instance, lead can be very deadly if gets into the blood stream. Lead based house paint can be one of the major contributors to lead poisoning. Inhalation of dust containing lead or ingestion of lead is harmful to anyone but severely hazardous to children under six. One individual found that her house was very contaminated and decided to remove it. The paint from the windowsill contained 2.5% lead, the garage paint had 6.72% lead, the porch had .22% lead, the rocking chair contained 24.65% lead, and the radiator had 8.72% lead. The maximum safe level amount of lead is supposed to be .5%. Luckily the women was able to have the house repainted (Henderson 65-69). People should regularly have their house checked for lead.
Also lead can be in the bowls and plates that people eat from. A study revealed that some ceramics made outside of the US have extremely high lead contents. The FDA found bowls that released 8000 parts per million (PPM) of lead, when the allowed should be between 2.5 PPM and .5 PPM (American Journal of Nursing 36). This is a easy way for a person to get lead poisoning because they are not aware that the lead is in their food. A person that buys pottery from another country should always have it tested for lead so that they do not get lead poisoning which can be fatal.
Asbestos is another such chemical that has many hazardous effects and there are many ways that it can get into a person’s body. Asbestos can get into our water supply by people dumping it directly, wastes leaking into the water, and from natural sources. In Duluth, Minnesota taconite tailings were dumped directly into Lake Superior, but the effects may not be known for a long time due to asbestos’s latency period. Chrysotile fibers were found in 56% of the United States’ 105 water sources. Studies on laboratory rats have shown that when the rats ingested chrysotile that it became imbedded in the rat’s colon lining. Chrysotile has been shown to cause mesothelioma in laboratory rats.
Asbestos has also been found in some of the foods we eat. Foods can be contaminated with asbestos in the air, water, or the soil. In the US and Canada, a study found that among 1.1 and 6.6 million electron- microscope-visible fibers were found per liter of beer produced. One manufacturer of gin had among 13.1 and 24 million fibers per liter due to the water used in the process (it contained 3.3-8.7 million fibers per liter) (Asbestos 33,63-64).
Asbestos in the air is another source of asbestos. Since asbestos can be found in floor tiles, anyone who has re-tiled a floor is susceptible to getting asbestos because it can remain suspended in the air for long periods of time. Most of the large strands of asbestos that we breathe if any are screened out by our nose hairs. It is the tiny strands that can accumulate in the lungs. Many case studies show that people who work with manufacturing asbestos-containing products have an increased risk of lung cancer. The percentage lung cancer in factories using asbestos should be five percent, but it is usually twenty percent. Also those that live near an asbestos facility have increased chances of developing lung cancer. Although not much research has been done, there is a 2.1 risk of getting mesothelioma in the areas near those facilities and 4.3 risk for those in the facility (Asbestos 21-32). There is not any real way to avoid asbestos except to quit using it in the first place.
The main way that the human race is going to destroy itself is through the use of nuclear technology (radioactive materials). The use of nuclear weapons is one use of the nuclear technology. Reports state that workers in weapon plants have an increased rate of radiation related cancers. For instance, at the rocky flats plant near Golden, Colorado a study showed that the white male workers had twice as many brain tumors as those that do not work around radioactive materials. Also places where the nuclear weapons have been detonated show increased hazards to human life. In Nagasaki and Hiroshima, there were dozens of children born mentally retarded after the bombing. Also there was an increase in abortions do to the scare of having a retarded baby ( Cobb 434-5).
The government through the use of nuclear materials poses a threat to civilization. Some Americans were used in radiation tests. Some were directly injected uranium and plutonium. Some were fed fish from radioactive tests, and some were forced to breathe radioactive air. Another case is when the government released iodine 131 in order to find Russian plutonium plants. Infants were exposed to as much as 256 rem (gray or 100 rads) to the thyroid and received 2,295 rem( Cobb 414).
” I really think someone should go to jail for manslaughter,’ said Tom Bailie.
Although radiation may not be the cause of his family’s ailments, he thinks it
is; but that he can’t be proved now. A cousin was born with a cleft palate.
I was born with birth defects; I’m on thyroid medicine.’ According to Tom,
25 of 27 households around him have been afflicted with cancer, birth defects,
or heart problems.” ( Cobb 414)
Even some medical use radioactive materials that can be hazardous to people. One case involved a man that found a strange blue glowing paint, which was cesium 137 and passed it around to people in his town. It came from a radiotherapy unit that was not disposed of properly. One man put the “paint” in to his pocket and it later burned a hole in his and now he can barely walk. Two hundred and forty-nine people became sick and four died. The man that found it and his niece who put it on her face thinking it was paint were among the ones that died ( Cobb 415). This should not have happened mankind cannot be so reckless in disposing its harmful chemicals.
The most convincing evidence that of the Chernobyl accident. On April 26, 1986 an explosion sent graphite slab from the reactor core through its roof igniting a fire. This in turn released 20% of the reactor’s radioactive iodine and 10-20% of its cesium and other radioactive materials. Thirty people died and 237 suffered severe radiation injuries. Those around it were imediately evacuated and luckily those individuals escaped major injury. It has even affected Europe because now they expect an increase of one thousand cancer deaths in the next fifty years. Also the area around the site will be suitable for people to live for several decades. People at least aknowledge the dangers of nuclear reactors and their hazardous material.
Mankind does not realize the damage it is doing to itself. This generation of adults will not see a change, but maybe the next generation will be wiser. If not future generations might not even get to exist.