I’ve been doing a lot of painting lately — we bought our house about a year and a half ago, and are in the process of repainting it to our tastes. I’ve got the downstairs just about done, and am about to start painting the upstairs hall.
On every can of paint that I’ve seen is a warning about lead, and scraping old paint. Lead is toxic; it used to be used in paint. Children used to chew on painted surfaces (like cribs), and it was also possible for them to scrape their walls or windowsills and breathe in or ingest the lead-based paint. Although paint hasn’t had lead in it (at least in the United States) for probably 30 years, these warnings still exist, and the risk is still real for anything that might have been tainted with lead-based paint.
The thing that gets me, though, is that lead has long been known to be toxic — one source puts that knowledge about 200 B.C. Yet it was still used in common household paint up until, really, just a few years ago. Why?
I wonder what will be discovered about current birth practices and interventions (and defensive medicine) that will make future generations ask the same questions. You know, like the ones we ask about the previous generation or two’s past practices and interventions. Like general anesthesia for all vaginal births. Enemas. Pubic shaves. Being strapped to the delivery table. Thalidomide for morning sickness (wonderful drug! just makes your babies lose their arms and legs). DES for possible miscarriage or “for healthier babies” (except that it can cause permanent changes to those babies’ reproductive systems, and put them at higher risk of several different types of cancer, and do who-knows-what to their children). Near-100% episiotomy rates. High percentage of forceps deliveries (because drugged women had a difficult time pushing with the contractions, y’know?).
Let’s have a nationwide, generation-long “CSI moment” and say, “What does the evidence say???”