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Monday, 6 June 2011

Taking A Dip Into The Past

One thing leads to another. The question was who exactly was Anna Beddoes the daughter of Richard Lovell Edgeworth and wife of Dr. Thomas Beddoes? Wikipedia has a decent entry on Dr. Beddoes which only takes you so far but another web site has a picture of the lady, above.

Beddoes was a leading scientific figure of his time, although little known today. Both Michael Faraday and Sir Humphrey Davy were with him in their early careers. His connection to the Edgeworth’s brought links to the major literary and political figures of the period.

Davy was the man who amongst his scientific achievements identified chlorine as an element which caused me to look at that subject. This took me to my local swimming pool, as I keep saying, all things are connected.

Several years ago I had to give up the daily swim I enjoyed because it became clear that the increasing skin problems being experienced were the result. Talking to the pool manager, who we knew, he told me that in recent years the chlorine level in the pool had been increased to near maximum because of the levels of other substances from people that were impacting on the effect of the chlorine.

We are aware of the issues that can arise from extensive use of petro-chemicals and from other causes, but looking at chlorine and all its derivatives and uses it is astonishing to see how their use has been extended in recent decades.

Clearly this element and all that has followed from it has advanced our ability to do many things and create many products that are both useful and necessary to modern living. But are we now making too much use of all the things in which chlorine based substances can be found?

Just how much and in what context can it become toxic? Well Chlorine Gas certainly is and I have a reliable source in Grandad who landed in the military hospital as a result of encountering it during WW1. Apparently, use may result in some types of plastic pipe cracking. One wonders how many plumbing problems may be arising these days. It has caused the collapse of a swimming pool, I understand.

Using the RATS Scale, I would put my skin reactions at Scale 3, bad enough to require avoiding it and given other problems necessary. On reflection it is likely that over time I started with minor, Scale 1 issues which worsened over time.

Looking around it does seem that there are other people who cannot use modern chlorine treated pools and unluckily in the UK other types are hard to find. Also, there are other allergies to products where the key substance is hard to identify.

Given the increases in both asthma and skin problems and the difficulty of working out what may be amongst the complex reasons for all this there are many possibilities.

Could one of them be simply that there is too much chlorine based stuff around in the home and outside?

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