The Mercury Contradiction

Bette Dowdell

Did’ja ever get the feeling you’re in Wonderland looking for Alice? Where two plus two doesn’t equal four any more, and too much of what you see offers only puzzlement?

For instance, our powers that be outlawed mercury thermometers. Better you shouldn’t know your temperature than risk breaking a thermometer that could leak, oh maybe, a half dram of mercury. The inaccurate substitute thermometers give only a general idea of your temp. And never the same number twice in a row. Close enough, as they say, for government work.

On the other hand, our fearless leaders shill for the fluorescent light bulb, the so-called CFL. Now, as it happens, these don’t-fit-half-the-fixtures-in-the-house gizmos contain approximately the same amount of mercury as a mercury thermometer.

If a CFL breaks, well, that just about does it. You have to call the HazMat crew for clean-up. (And try not to feel stupid when you tell them why you called. A light bulb? You called us out in our funny looking, uncomfortably hot suits for a light bulb? Are you kidding me, mister? A truck and three men?)

And if the CFL breakage end up in carpeting, where total removal turns out to be iffy, you’re advised to leave your humble abode for a few days.

And don’t even think of tossing one of those babies in the trash! Nosirreebob! Take it your local hazardous waste site and dispose of it properly.

And the part about filling the air with CO2 by driving halfway to Canada and back to deliver a light bulb? Don’t you get smart with me, young man; we’re saving energy here. And, no, you cannot write off the mileage on your taxes.

But there’s good news, too. According to a study I read, in the absence of glutamate, mercury poses no threat. So all we have to do is ban MSG and soy, and we’re home free! How cool is that! Not only could we get our mercury thermometers back, but our endocrine systems would rise up and call us bless-ed. Good health would blossom and bloom. We might even break out in world peace, for crying out loud!

Yeah, I’m not going to hold my breath, either.

Here’s the deal: If mercury is dangerous, don’t play games. Light bulbs break more frequently than thermometers. Banning the less dangerous of the two while mandating the other defines irresponsibility. Or maybe stupidity.

Whichever word you choose, it certainly showcases our government in typical, makes-sense-only-in-Washington action. And for that we pay them the big bucks?.

About the author: Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be one. She’s a patient who’s been studying the endocrine system and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about dealing with endocrine issues. She explains the endocrine system and how it works–or doesn’t–discusses what to avoid as well as what helps and provides lots of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at

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