Thursday, 7 October 2010
boron and on
In case you have forgotten your tenth grade chemistry, boron is the fifth element in the periodic table, between beryllium and carbon. Nothing to do with Niels Bohr (most aptly named of all Danish physicists, as Bart says), it has something to do with borax, which is a kind of cleaning powder. The only other thing I know about boron is that my old squash racket contains some. It was why I bought it -- the slogan was Boron Power Serve! (Ah, they don't write 'em like that any more.)
So I didn't know what to think when I found out that some land down the laneway from me had been condemned because of trace elements of boron. Was this an example of the government worrying about something we all took for granted that was now known to be bad for us, like cigarettes or pregnant martinis? Or was it an example of government stupidity, worrying about something that wasn't harmful but had a bad rep, like marijuana?
I tried asking around, but no one could help me. Excuse me, I said to the lady on the health line, but I wonder if you could tell me anything about the dangers of boron? She couldn't. Excuse me, I said to the man at the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forests, but could you tell me anything about boron? He couldn't. Excuse me, I said to the kid at the Sporting Good Store, but could you tell me anything about anything? She looked up from her i-phone. Huh? she replied. Forget it, I said.
Conspiracy? Ignorance? I keep telling myself not to panic. I have moved my old squash racket to the basement, just in case. I don't know what else I can do.