Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How times change

As I was sitting in a comfortable dentist chair, being uncomfortable , he said, " You should have felt that chunk of lead fall out".
Great, Lead in my mouth.
Worse yet Mercury.

There was an article in the local Santa Rosa Paper the other day about the government spending tons of tax money.....what other kind of money is there, but it's free...... Seems they are going to clean up all the old quicksilver mines in California.
Mercury is Toxic, don't you know?

Led me to think of all the times as a kid we played with mercury globs, coating dimes to get them real shiny, sticking them in your mouth, and worse yet the dentist making filling with mercury.
As a kid growing up in The City, our dentist was from the old country. When other kids told me that they got injections for the pain my mother and dentist would say, that it really doesn't hurt if you don't think about it.
I think it was the cost of the injection perhaps or that they figured a kids didn't have any pain threshold.
That was easy for them to say that, as the sloooow drill that hung with cables and pulleys ground to a halt hitting some nerve.
I am almost certain that I gained my hand strength from having to grab the arms of the dentist chair. It was not anything more than a barbers chair really. I don't think it was until the 80's or so that I finally saw reclining chairs at a dentist's office.
I especially remember the old dentist making my fillings with the mercury, it was sort of like what sushi chef's do now a days when they do that thing they do to form the rice mound.
He got some powder, a gob a mercury, some other stuff all in his palm of his hand and squeezed it and maneuvered it around of a minute or so, before taking a tiny bit sticking it on the tip of a tool that he would then jam into the newly opened filling hole.

Funny I can remember the sound, the feeling and the terror of sitting there as if it was yesterday.

It wasn't until long after that they figured out that the mercury amalgam was actually toxic or whatever...... so that may explain my weird behavior all these years?

Back to the mercury.

The picture above is that taken about 15 years ago of a mine from the Mt Jackson Mercury Mine that closed up in the mid 60's.

Mercury was minded in and around Sonoma County for over a hundred years and now it seems that all the sites are toxic time bombs.

California had been mining mercury way back to the Mexican days and the largest mine was the New Almaden Mine which was south of San Juan Bautista in Central California. Mercury was important for lots of reasons, medical, wood processing, early photography ( Daguerreotype ) and hat making.
Hat Making? Yes I don't know exactly what but the toxic fumes for the mercury caused a form of insanity , this is where the saying " Mad as a Hatter" came from........
I am very familiar with the Mt Jackson mine, mainly because one of my past radio communications sites was on the top of the mountain, and I had spent at least 35 years driving by it, to get to our radio communications site. Only once did I venture into the mine, at a much earlier age just to poke around and find nothing but lots of black widow spiders.

Everything is a toxic time bomb.

What about my mouth?

The toxic after-effects of mercury are what concerns environmentalists now. The Bureau of Land Management's Ukiah office has been holding hearings and inviting public input on proposed clean-up methods. I am sure that the more they ask them more diverse ways someone will suggest in cleaning them up.

I wonder what we are doing today that they will find in a hundred years ago that is damaging the environment.

How times change.


Steve Cotton said...

I recall all of those broken thermometers and playing with the mercury. That may explain the eccentricities. (Mine,that is.)

Tancho said...

Yep, that was the source of the mercury. I think it was around the 5th or 6th grade that we figured that out. No one really ever said anything....

1st Mate said...

Thanks for reminding me I need to see a dentist when I get off this boat.

Tancho said...

You're welcome Bliss!
You are lucky, you are in Mexico, we are up in California right now, and my emergency crown has set me back a tidy sum up here. Too bad it didn't happen at home. The dentists in Mexico charge about 25% of what it is going to end up here.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

the PD had a bigger story than someone's cat got caught in a burning house in Petaluma? I guess I should start reading it again.
I remember playing with mercury as a child. It was so fascinating. Heck, I bet you can't even buy an old fashioned thermometer NOB anymore.
We had such toxic lives and managed to survive back then.


Tancho said...

No Theresa the PD is not worth reading, ever since the NYT bought it and trimmed the staff, it has been a tad better than wrapping paper, but not much.
Yep, It is interesting how we all survived, riding in the back of pick up trucks, before warning labels on everything, and the best is listening to the disclaimers on advertising that is so fast that no one can understand it, but it is the LAW.
Simple is best, gotta love ol Mehico!

Jerry L said...

Don't forget those xray machines that shoe stores had. My brother and I use to stick our feet in them and saw the bones etc.
Years later they said they caused cancer.
Sooner or later they will find out that air is toxic.

Felipe said...

Man, I had totally forgotten the X-ray machines in shoe stores. Amazing.

Tancho said...

I am sure that the company that made those x-ray machines is out of business, otherwise I would propose a class action suit with Steve our being our solicitor to request some reparations for all the trauma suffered from children across the country.
Gee, I am sounding more like a liberal every day.....NOT