Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Mac Smells like...benzene?

Most people love the smell of napalm…I mean new tech in the morning/afternoon/evening.  Even that new car smell has been bottled up and sold.  But what happens when that smell ends up being toxic and your gonads could shrink from it (Ok, I don’t know if your gonads would shrink but it certainly would from all the chemo)? 

French newspaper, Libération had first published a story about how Mac Pros built prior to 2008 were emitting a strange odor.  A quote from a scientist used in the article suggests that the smell had toxic properties and one of which is the chemical Benzene.  According to the CDC, “Benzene is a widely used chemical formed from both natural processes and human activities. Breathing benzene can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and unconsciousness; long-term benzene exposure causes effects on the bone marrow and can cause anemia and leukemia. (Source: ToxFAQs for Benzene August 2007) 

Apple has since said in a statement to Macworld that there were no evidence in their tests to prove the claim but they are still investigating the claim.  

With the recent discoveries of melamine to the milk used in the production of milk products from China, it’s not a surprise that you are now finding weird chemicals in the tech industry as well.  It has been a long running joke within my family that eventually, there will be carcinogens in everything and that if you wait long enough, the things that are now bad for you will be found later to be good for you.  Who’s to say that some odd ball food scientist will come out with a study that Trans-Fats in limited quantities are actually healthy for the liver (that’s conjecture but that’s the joke)? 

I remember years ago, it was told to me that eggs were too high in cholesterol and were not good for you in any amount, but recent articles have stated that eggs indeed are necessary in a proper diet.  I’m not counting out the ill effects of Benzene or Melamine in foods and products as those are clearly harmful industrial chemicals, but the point is that we shouldn’t be surprised.  If any of you reader had the opportunity to travel to China, it would be very clear that in a country with 1.3 billion people, there are actually 3 major cities that could live up to first world standards in healthcare, public safety, and other factors that are taken for granted in North America.  These three cities being Beijing (especially after the Olympics), Shanghai (and only in the new Shanghai – old Shanghai is a shanty town) and, Guangzhou (even though it’s not the 3rd largest).  Hong Kong being the anomaly here since it was a British colony until 1997, it wasn’t affected by the Chinese government’s rules until after that.  

Just some food for thought – that won’t cause you cancer.  No I’ve got to throw out all my M&M’s, Cadbury chocolates, and White Rabbit Candy



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