Rome Didn't Fall in A Day.

Objective Truth Exists, and is Accessible to Everyone.

All Human Problems can be Solved with Enough Knowledge, Wealth, Social Cooperation and Time.

Photo: Rusty Peak, Anchorage, Alaska


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Is Something Really Safe Because It Is Natural?

 A few years ago, a good friend, Alison Warn, posted a brilliant, concise FB comment about the safety and hazards from artificial and natural sources.  Here's Alison:

"Ahem: Ricin, Oleander, Hydrochloric Acid, Formaldehyde, Tuberculosis, Taipei Venom, Curare, Cyanide, Staphylococcus Aureus, Ebola, Arsenic, Methylmercury, Lead, Lionfish, Radon Gas, Saltwater Crocodiles.... need I go on?

Safety has nothing to do with source and everything to do with inherent properties such as chemical structure, radiation, germ virulence, or teeth. Some synthetic materials are indeed quite dangerous (sarin gas, anyone?) while others are harmless. Some natural materials are indeed quite harmless, while nature has also given us many of our most deadly poisons.

Being blinded by the source can be quite dangerous - it both leads us away from potentially lifesaving synthetic materials (such as promising new pharmaceuticals) and can lead to our discounting some very dangerous natural threats."


Whether something is safe or not has nothing to do with whether it is "natural" or not, and everything to do with its physical and chemical properties.  And something artificial is not necessarily any riskier than a natural substance.