Monday, March 9, 2009

What do Canaries have to do with piglets?

Well, Piglets can't keep secrets for long. Piggles has decided to at least give you some bi-i-i-g hints.

You probably know about the tradition of keeping a Canary in a coal mine. Canaries are very sensitive to fumes and toxic gasses, etc. So if the Canary keeled over, the miners would know to get out of there, eve if they could not yet smell anything.

In modern times, there is a growing population of humans who feel they are the Canaries of the world. I'm one of them. Long before air pollution was a dirty word, we were already suffering from exposures to the myriad of toxins that are still being "discovered" today. It is time. I feel, to "come out" as a "Canary". Twenty years ago I remember trying to tell people about poor indoor air quality as a result of the great push for super-insulated "tight" houses. While this was and is a good idea, it also meant that no toxins escaped the house and little fresh air circulated. Such things as new carpets, synthetic fabrics on furniture and curtains, chemical cleansers, fresh paints , particle board construction, sprays, aerosols and scented cosmetics remained trapped in these houses, and all added to the chemical soup that made many people sick. But there was little solid proof at the time to back up an ailing Canary's claims. Some were ridiculed, some were thought to be mental basket cases...and a few were listened to with a modicum of respect. Today the same things are happening, but credibility has improved greatly. Light bulbs go off in people's heads when a Canary says something like "I get headaches every time I go in a carpet store." It has been proven that many carpets contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that make Canaries (and rats) keel over. Humans can't always see the light, and many still refuse to believe that a carpet can make a person ill. Until it happens to them. Then it is a matter of no choice. I still can't believe it happens to me. I don't want to. But the experience is overwhelming and direct.
Ah, if only it were so simple- remove carpets from house- get better. Avoid new carpets as much as possible. But once you become sensitized to chemicals in one product, everything snowballs into an avalanche of reactions, and it becomes extremely difficult to discern just which item or factors triggered a reaction.

Well, that's the tip of the (melting) iceberg. More to come...and it's not all gloom and doom, so bear with me.

I'll finish this rather long tirade with the words to a song- a round composed by... I'm sorry to say, I don't know. I will add composer if/when I find out:

"Be like a bird, who halting in her flight
On a limb too slight
Feels it giving way beneath her
Yet, sings, sings, knowing she has wings.
Yet sings, sings, knowing she has wings."

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