Epoxy resins may very well have created the Diabetes epidemic, with genetic data backing it.
And the chemical used to make Teflon was dumped into the Mississippi river valley for years, leading to a spate of birth defects and other more common medical problems. Dupont paid hundreds of millions : https://bit.ly/2fFAw9Q
Carlin had it right .... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W33HRc1A6c
The guidelines don't specifically mention URL shorteners, but they do ask posters to supply original sources:
Please submit the original source. If a post reports on something found on another site, submit the latter.
Personally, and as a suggestion for this site, I would extend that to ask that sources not be hidden behind a URL shortener. I want to see where I'm going; I also don't appreciate my click being tracked.
I go "meta" on HN only reluctantly. But, I've noticed the increasing volume of comments on HN, and it seems worthwhile mentioning that HN has some different expectations than other sites. Expectations that have helped to keep the commentary elevated and on point, up to now.
(I'm just another poster, here. The only basis for my comment is appreciating the quality of discussion here, and hoping it continues. Thanks.)
P.S. Not sure why the downvotes, but ok. As far as I recall, there are many past cases where the use of URL shorteners has been discouraged.
Somewhat akin to the advice to stick [PDF] in the submission title for links to PDF files. People don't like surprises. Or, in my case, mystery links.
Do you have a source on that? I'm certainly not disputing it. I'm just fascinated.
That’s a ridiculous claim. The reason for the diabetes epidemic has much more to do with the increase in sugar consumption than anything else, even if other factors might have contributed, like vegetable oils or the decrease in salt consumption.
Throughout history people have gone to great lengths to exonerate sugar when the evidence is there in plain sight since early 1900s.
No, it’s not the plastics and the diabetes epidemic isn’t that new ;-)
"A separate study by the University of York in Britain that sought to assess the risks of microplastics to the environment, published Wednesday, concluded not enough is known to determine if microplastics cause harm."
Both comments are expressing opinions that have nothing to do with the content of the article.
Wrong article. You are talking about the submitted article. He's talking about the article cited in subcosmos' comment.
If you watch things carefully in the scientific world you'll notice that there are actually really just a couple people holding up claims and making millions of others follow suit. Even in the face of challenging data, we wait for the so called thought leaders to either embrace or reject the new information. If they reject it, so do the hordes. Yet how do we know these few are willing to take on the new information, and actually take it seriously, especially when so much money might be on the line for them.
Humans keep saying they learn from their mistakes, but we don't as it always looks different. Instead of a king's desk it's now an iPad and online forum.
It really takes generational shifts for our science to move. I think too that the reason pop-science and alternative medicine is so successful is because regular science is too quick to hold the wrong things up - they are holding up people not results. And that's our failure.
If you watch things carefully in the scientific world, you'll notice every domain has hundreds or thousands of people actively researching in the field. Some individuals are on the cutting edge, they define what is worth researching next (usually by themselves), but the accepted knowledge is based on mountains of research from all over the world.
There are no authority figures. Science is iterative refinement of our understanding of the world through consensus acceptance of research results. I mean, this sentence:
> Yet how do we know these few are willing to take on the new information, and actually take it seriously, especially when so much money might be on the line for them.
is outright hilarious, and depressing, for someone who's done research. Scientists are smart people that care about advancing the frontier of knowledge - revolutionizing a field of research is the most desirable outcome. There is no money behind defending the status quo, because that isn't even science.
Science is the metaphorical tree of knowledge. A solid trunk made of facts like "2+2=4" and "Apples fall off trees", while the cutting edge is unproven branches near the top that may not survive the year... but everyone in the field knows and expects that.
The scientific process underpins every aspect of our modern era. It's how we went from room-sized computers calculating projectile trajectories to smart phones that support multi-player online virtual reality... in a single generation.
> I think too that the reason pop-science and alternative medicine is so successful is because regular science is too quick to hold the wrong things up - they are holding up people not results
Theory 1: Millions of academics across the world are united in a global conspiracy to do bad science
Theory 2: Public education has failed this generation of Americans, and now the free market is just exploiting ignorance with snake oil
None of that aspect to "science the religion" has anything to do with the scientific process.
By the way, Science, which I hope people recall, has no ability to fully describe the truth - only our best possible guess. That's also written in the scientific process.
Also many people say "because science" and note things like computers and gravity to justify anything related to science that can't possibly be wrong.
Here's a simple thought experiment to help you understand how little we actually are with science and the human body:
Dig up every article and research paper you can on coffee.
Tell me now, for sure, is Coffee Good for you or Bad for you?
That's probably a lot harder to answer than:
Is plastic in Salt Good for you or Bad for you?
And then ask yourself if you drink coffee or drink melted plastic and try to reveal your biases and realize every scientist is doing the same.
At best, science can try to answer the question "Do people, that are very similar to you, perform better on some metric when they drink coffee or don't drink coffee?"
Especially when it comes to food, there are so many variations on what "good or bad" looks like, and what "you" looks like, that we should expect different studies to come to different conclusions they look at different populations, and measure different things.
Even when we try to measure the same thing, on similar populations, it can be really hard to isolate all the important factors. Even then we expect different results.
The problem you are talking about is not a science issue, at least not directly.
It's a Popular Science issue, or at a stretch a Science Communication issue.
Everybody loves a powerful model - a simple description that explains a lot - but those are rare and far between in science. In attempting to reach for new models, such as modelling the effect of coffee on human lives, there is a tendency to take scientific results and reduce them so that they look like a powerful model. Coffee is Good! Coffee is Bad! This process is not science! At best this may spur researchers to test if the model is correct, but more often it's just fuel for press releases, popular science journalists, and social media battles.
You don't need a conspiracy to do bad science. Just as you don't need a conspiracy to do bad code - and we all on HN know how much of bad code is around. All you need is to write code - with the best of intentions - and to neglect to follow best practices or cut corners from time to time, or just lack experience or foresight to predict potential problems. Sometimes you don't even know it's bad code until you come back to it a couple of years later and stare at it in horror - how could anybody do this?
With code, though, there's an evolutionary pressure acting on it - it is actually meant to be run. If the code does not perform, if it is buggy, if it's insecure or unmaintainable - it creates incentive to be replaced, so some of it dies off and hopefully is replaced with better one (or one bad in different way :). With scientific papers, bad paper can linger around for years until either it obviously contradicts reality in a way making its claims unsustainable, or is refuted by other paper. But for many papers just finding out it is wrong requires doing the same work as the original author did, sometimes more - and the incentives to do that are usually much less prominent.
> The scientific process underpins every aspect of our modern era.
True. But the fact that this process allowed us to achieve much does not mean every part of it is perfect - just as the fact that Facebook has billions does not mean every piece of code running Facebook is great. Some of them is surely terrible.
Like I said I'm mostly ignorant of that domain, and curious what more informed people would say on that topic.
In this case, it seems like a claim that most table salt contains micro plastics should not be a very hard result to refute or reproduce. Usually scientists will avoid making claims that they aren’t really sure of and are easy to disprove.
The replication crisis is an example of science working the way it is supposed to. It’s scientists using the scientific method to call their colleagues to account. It’s just that it takes time.
There’s nothing wrong with the method itself. Make testable claims. Have other people test them. What the replication crisis tells us is we need to do this more, not that we need to do it less or not at all.
Net result a small bias, but not the kind of conspiracy worth talking about.
You can see how well it's working - money delayed but did not change the truth.
Science is very difficult to pay off. Individuals can spend another 10 years studying after high school just to get enough responsibility worth bribing... and even if they accepted the bribe, peer review would still reveal the sham research forever tainting their name.
So, yeah, people don't really accept bribes.
The worst you'll see is in pharma, where they're testing drugs - a researcher might select test subjects that will react well to a drug in order to make it look better (hiding side effects).
now with microplastics! :P (sorry, i couldn't help myself)
"Levels of plasticizers in urine across the US" - maybe you'll get another grant
Just take your original research, add in a few references to crappy studies that show a "possible link" to diabetes
"Plasticizer exposure possible link to diabetes epidemic" - oh, yeah, you'll get grant now
I know this because I helped write grants.
You could easily go a whole day without someone throwing a hyper-edited escalating sonic experience at you. Now, after decades of movie trailers one-upping each other and those editing capabilities being distributed to teenagers, we are maximally sonically marinated and we expect some politeness when people are trying to deliver sound bites.
In Carlin’s time watching an act like his was possibly the most exciting verbal experience you would be exposed to that week, if not that year. We cherished the performers who could dial up to 12 without losing coherence because it was rare and exciting.
Now it sounds overblown and maybe a little aggressive to a modern ear.
1977 On Location: George Carlin at USC
1978 George Carlin: Again!
1982 Carlin at Carnegie
1984 Carlin on Campus
1986 Playin' with Your Head
1988 What Am I Doing in New Jersey?
1990 Doin' It Again
1992 Jammin' in New York
1996 Back in Town
1999 You Are All Diseased
2001 Complaints and Grievances
2005 Life Is Worth Losing
2008 It's Bad for Ya
If you are interested, check out his older stuff like Carlin on Campus. "A Place for My Stuff"  for example.
It's an earlier recording and he was extremely mellow and funny.
His later stuff was kinda funny at the time but has not aged well at all comedy-wise IMO.
And maybe we ought to rebrand saving the environment as saving our property and arable land and it will resonate more with some skeptics. Because Carlin was right: this rock we call earth will continue orbiting the sun without us, but “we’re f*ed”
On a very selfish level I'm pretty fond of human life though.
He was a smart man. The world could use another Carlin.
He is sorely missed.
Carlin’s point was that “shell shock” is more visceral and evocative than “PTSD”, in a way that would be helpful as a rhetorical shield in the hands of its sufferers.
Saying that a rape or accident survivor has “shell shock” communicates by analogy the problem they’re facing, even to laymen who have never experienced such trauma—everyone has seen a war movie where artillery shells are landing all around someone, and most can (if prompted) easily picture what chronic exposure to such a traumatic stressor would do to them. This creates empathy in the minds of laymen who may not understand what was so traumatic about the particular trauma the PTSD suffered encountered.
Whereas saying “they have PTSD” does the opposite—it communicates the symptom without painting a picture of the cause, inviting a layman to minimize the imagined cause.
It’s like saying that someone is a “battered spouse”, vs. “a victim of domestic violence.” The former could have been taken to just mean the latter—non-physical forms of violence and all—but instead, in pursuit of accuracy and precision, an umbrella term that does not evoke a central example is used, and has settled into, more often than not, being mentally interpreted by the listener as implying the least-bad thing that still merits the name.
To put this another way: this is the reason that security vulnerabilities have started getting names like “Heartbleed.” That is an evocative name. CVE-2014-0160? Not so much. More useful to researchers! But less useful as a rhetorical device to communicate the impact of the problem. It’s a PR campaign in support of solving the problem!
Going from “shell shock” to “PTSD” is like going from the named vulnerability to the numerical designation. You’re doing anti-PR, making a buzzword on the tongues of the public into something that’s too much effort to buzz about at all.
Sure, the term might have more diagnostic “clarity.” When in medicine has that ever mattered? Do we name bones or tendons for what they do? No, we just give them ridiculous “legacy” names inherited from some conversation someone had once in 400BCE. Because those names are catchy, in a way that systematic names wouldn’t be.
But then names like the "patriot act" also come to mind. Or for something a little closer to home, "anemic domain models".
I suppose appreciating emotive language would depend on whether or not you agree with the purpose behind it.
In this case, I imagine that psychiatrists, as a kind of medical doctors, would generally want to do whatever gets their patients the help and consideration they need. Thus, when they consider naming (or re-naming) a diagnosis, they should probably have that purpose in mind.
PR in general is neither good nor evil. But when people are seeking to do good, they should really make sure that their usage of PR (accidental or otherwise) aligns with their goals.
Most of Carlin's routines involve ironic hyperbole. He had a bit about how everybody on the road driving faster than you is a maniac and everybody driving slower than you is an idiot.
It's an extremely important bit for understanding his work. Carlin believed that everybody should express their opinion loudly from their own point of view, be aware that a lot of the time those opinions will be wrong, but know that when we do not express those opinions the fuckers always win.
When he shouts that the transition from "shellshock" to "PTSD" has been a tool used for government control he's absolutely right. It was. By making a disease name for it and creating PTSD treatment programs the military could look like it was addressing the problem, where the actual problem was the military using human suffering as a tool to reinforce American political power for economic reasons.
If you told George Carlin "yeah, but rape victims have the same experience, don't we need to include them" he'd probably have told you to call that cock-shock. You'd say "that's gross" and he'd say "rape is gross, the name for what happens after it should be horrible, not clinical".
By saying things like this, Carlin highlights hypocrisies and illusions in our lives and thought processes. Carlin wants to make sure you see what you've forgotten by moving to the new words.
I'm reminded of when Vonnegut pointed out how dangerous it was to move from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day.
"It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not."
Vonnegut doesn't mean that later veterans didn't suffer, that their service is worthless or that their pain shouldn't be noted. He's saying that by including new individuals, the message of the day - that it is horrific to murder millions of people for any reason - has been erased for the good of the military system.
People like Vonnegut and Carlin aren't trying to say things that are correct. They're trying to say things that expose truth. It's very different.
I do agree that in most cases the language can be contorted to conceal or smooth the direct adjective. I.e African American, minority, margininalized, etc
It really is not; just like others here, I would urge you to go back and re-watch that skit, having in mind that others do not perceive it the way you do. There's nothing more to add to the parent post.
Also, downvoting for disagreement has always been ok on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16131314.
This plastic epidemic is not an accident- it's population control.
Plastic is fundamentally tied to endocrine disrupting chemicals, endocrine disrupting chemicals interfere with testosterone, and reduce fertility. Furthermore, that reduction in fertility is passed down epigenetically, compounding with each generation.
I don't understand why people waste their time imagining chemtrails when the plastic endocrine disruptor theory is so close at hand, and the consequence of it is easily proven. The only part that is a conspiracy is the part you can't prove anyway.
Would you mind citing that, please? Contemporary works on Roman culinary practices (e.g. Cool’s Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain) continue to underline that Romans were exposed to troublingly high levels of lead through consumption of defrutum boiled in lead pots.
we understand the risks of gross poisoning, as the ancients may have eventually, but our understanding of the peripheral risks of chronic exposure are more or less childish. but what we do know is that they're bad when there is chronic exposure.
but we're too addicted to stop.
Global Pattern of Microplastics (MPs) in Commercial Food-Grade Salts: Sea Salt as an Indicator of Seawater MP Pollution
A total of 39 different salt brands produced at geospatially different sites, including 28 sea salt brands from 16 countries/regions on six continents, were investigated. A wide range of MP content (in number of MPs per kg of salt; n/kg) was found: 0–1674 n/kg (excluding one outlier of 13 629 n/kg) in sea salts, 0–148 n/kg in rock salt, and 28–462 n/kg in lake salt.
I would tend to think that if you want to avoid these microplastics, eat rock salt, not sea salt. Much lower concentration of microplastics, which I am suprised are even present at all, really. I don't imagine the rock salt producers are allowing a whole bunch of plastic manufacturing equipment to abrade directly into the product. Not really sure what the n/kg unit represents, though (is it nanograms per kilogram?).
From my understanding n is the number of microplastic fragments.
As you suggest, the rock salt microplastics are not caused by ocean microplastic pollution. So those numbers represent the "background noise", and if you will, microplastics found in sea salt are 20-30 dB above the "noise floor."
"""Exposure during meals via dust fallout in a household is estimated at 13,731–68,415 particles per year"""
So to match microplastic intake from dust falling on your food while eating, you'd have to consume at least 10 kg of salt per year in the case where your salt is fairly contaminated and your house is fairly clean (otherwise it would be even higher). FDA says salt intake should be below 1.5 kg (preferrably below 0.8 kg) per year.
Sounds like it's simply a count of the individual particles: "number of MPs per kg of salt".
MPs is microplastics, so in this case n is the number. So 13,629 individual microplastics per kilogram of salt, etc.
It is in the air you breathe:
I wonder about our insect friends who have been recently disappearing:
What do you suppose it would take to get plastic produce stickers banned in favor of biodegradable versions?
If you look very closely at the expiry date printed on packaged products you'll often find it's actually laser etched, not printed. It's considerably more reliable and readable, particularity for small fonts.
Goobingling around I see a few biodegradable produce stickers marketed as "not like those other nonbiodegrable produce stickers" but that's not conclusive either.
Mealworms and waxworms have gained this ability:
I totally expected it to default to the assumption that eating the plastic is by default harmful via magic
It's also worth noting that consuming microplastics doesn't result in them being bathed in water, but rather our acidic digestive tract designed specifically for leaching chemicals out of things.
Disclosure: Involved in a project to raise awareness about plastic and noise pollution in the water .
Your general point stands though: the particular water based solution in question serves a particularly important purpose!
Even better, you could put your plastic where your mouth is and try a diet of washed microplastics every meal to see how it affects you. It’s not immoral if you do it to yourself!
I agree, as an optimist I believe that consuming inorganic compounds is by default healthy!
More seriously, I believe we should be very concerned about chemicals with unknown biological effects entering our food supply.
Just like "metal" isn't 100% Fe atoms (or Cu or whatever the base metal or metals is/are).
And, fwiw, your body would process a small amount of iron, since it's a mineral required for good health.
1) The human body (and other lifeforms) evolved to adapt to substances found in the environment. That's why a number of synthetic substances are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic.
2) Microplastics contain a very wide variety of plastics. It's extremely unlikely that they are all healthy or neutral.
3) A number of types of plastic are known carcinogens and have been phased out.
4) Given this, he cautionary principle mandates to treat the as harmful by default, unless proven otherwise. There's a reason why drug and food approval processes exist.
No different than if a massive comet was hurtling towards earth. Yes, maybe it will be fine. But maybe we should be worried.
it is a scary situation!
> In another indicator of the geographic density of plastic pollution, microplastics levels were highest in sea salt, followed by lake salt and then rock salt.
The nearest outcropping of actual Himalayas is about a 3hr drive north near Islamabad.
This particular varietar of bullshit (Himalayan salt being authentic) is more persistent than most.
Also, does the Himalayan salt contain iodine? Because otherwise you may soon get a iodine deficiency. The reason iodine is added in table salt in the first place is because most people would be deficient otherwise.
It's from Pakistan, but I think your point stands.
There might be more info in the research paper linked in the article.
Hmmm... that seems counterintuitive. I'd think that sea salt that's refined would contain less microplastic, not the other way around. Maybe they get their seawater from a part of the ocean that doesn't have microplastic?
Also, I'd think that Himalayan salt would contain no microplastic, but then again, it wouldn't surprise me if Himalayan salt wasn't actually from the Himalayas.
I too discount food labeling claims.
If you're really paranoid, I'd suggest buying salt with sizeable crystals, and then rinse those in a saturated salt water bath. It seems to me these microplastics are not included in the salt grains, but rather dispersed among them. So they would float up.
You could also check for microplastics in the salt you usually buy. Just dissolve 100g in 10L of water, and filter that through a dark finely woven cloth.
Real Salt is in local stores and at Amazon. Full disclosure: I do have an indirect affiliation with Real Salt.
> On Thursday, November 20, 1980, an oil rig contracted by Texaco accidentally drilled into the Diamond Crystal Salt Company salt mine under the lake. [....] The resultant whirlpool sucked in the drilling platform, eleven barges, many trees and 65 acres (26 ha) of the surrounding terrain.
> The backwards flow of the normally outflowing Delcambre Canal temporarily created the biggest waterfall in Louisiana.
Handmaid's tale, anyone?
Need to find a micro plastic free salt ASAP.
What are the main blockers stopping this from happening sooner rather than later?
LEGO is trying really hard to introduce biodegradable plastics into their product line and have written about the struggle to produce something that is as permanent as they want it to be (so you can hand your LEGOs down to your grandchildren) while making them from plant sources, which is different, but related.
But basically all the resin / petro plastics win out in strength, durability, UV resistance, etc etc -- so there's a lot of products that can be made from bioplastics but you won't see fiberglass boat hulls being composted anytime soon.
I'll let you answer that question:
> just to enhance taste?
Yes, that's exactly why.
> Sodium is naturally present in all plants and meat no need for extra intake
If that were true humans (and large numbers of other animals) probably wouldn't have developed a strong taste for salt.
It's true that it's quite easy in the modern world (especially with processed and restaurant food) to overdo it, and restraint is called for.
> that huge quantity of sodium that is taken from the salt that is added in every non sweet food messes up your body at cellular level
Adding salt doesn't mean adding a huge quantity in every non-sweet food. (Processed foods do tend to that, but that's not a “why add salt” but a “why eat processed foods” issue.)
It doesn't appear there by magic. Many wild animals love their salt licks, and for some licking rocks is their primary source.
But anyway, by your argument virtually all spices are pointless. I can't really get behind that.
This is just plain misinformation.
People who sweat a lot due to physical labour, exercise, or hot weather, require extra salt --- particularly if they eat a "clean" diet free of processed foods as you seem to advocate. Inadequate salt intake results in problems like fatigue/lethargy and muscle cramps.
Animals also lick salt; supplementation with salt not some human-invented vice.
Salt is so important that it was used as currency once; that's why what you earn is still called a "salary".
Didn't you just answer your own question?