Whinier Living Through Chemistry

I was once watching a news story about a train that had derailed and dumped some its product, benzene, into a local river. The spill had prompted an evacuation, and the media, eager to garner ratings and feel self-important instead of informative, was interviewing not scientists or public health officials, but a housewife. She had a diapered baby in her arms, and seemed close to tears. In a whiney, high-pitched, almost-childlike voice, she said, “I just don’t understand why they have to have these dangerous chemicals on these trains.”

The plastics in her baby’s diaper were made using benzene. The plastic in her belt, shoes, glasses, and watchband were all made using benzene. The plastic in the dashboard, fuel system, seats, armrests, and everywhere else in her car were made using benzene. Benzene is a component of the gasoline in her car and the oil to heat her house. Benzene is used to manufacture the plastic in her baby’s highchair. It’s in the picture tube of her television and the coolant in her refrigerator.

In essence, the chemical she was whining about was being transported because of her.

Maybe instead of being on TV she needs to go home and shut the fuck up.

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