Chemicals save lives; they also kill

More than 20 years ago before migrating to Australia, I used to remind my children to always take a shower and shampoo their hair whenever they get soaked by rain. My staff in the bank where I worked used to give that same excuse whenever they would be absent for work. “I got drenched last night and fell sick with fever” ━ my former secretary telephoned me the following morning.

I made it a practice to take a shower myself after being exposed to rain. That prevented me from getting sick. We have seen on television Syrians washing the hair of children, many of whom were exposed to chemical attack. I no longer have to do the same here in Australia. Maybe the chemicals from the sky have dissipated.

My late Filipino American cousin who fought as a US Coastguard during the Vietnam War died of cancer. He admitted that he was exposed to “yellow rain” in Vietnam.

The Soviet Union was accused by the former US Secretary of State Alexander Haig of supplying mycotoxin to the communist states in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for use in counterinsurgency warfare. Vietnamese refugees in Australia described a sticky yellow liquid falling from airplanes or helicopters which they called “yellow rain.”

The US government alleged that several thousands of people were killed by these chemical weapons. Of course, the Soviets denied those claims as Vladimir Putin continues to deny that chemicals were used in Syria. Investigations conducted by the United Nations were inconclusive.

Benefits of chemical use

But chemicals are also beneficial to health. Medicines manufactured by drug companies that are sold in pharmacies are made from chemicals. In spite of the expiration date required by the Food and Drug Administration, its potency and safety can last up to 10-15 years after they have supposedly expired. Taken in small doses as prescribed by your doctor, medicines are meant to cure ailments and save lives. Of course, an overdose can be harmful and may also lead to death. ━ DMC