Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Dangerousness of Mercury Vapor

The Dangerousness of Mercury Vapor
By Alfred Stock, Berlin-Dahlem
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut fuer Chemie
(Eingeg. Febr. 9, 1926)
Translated by Birgit Calhoun

When I am making the decision to report without hesitation to a wider circle about my personal problems, which ordinarily wouldn't concern others and would not be worthy of publication, I am driven by the intense desire to warn emphatically all those who have to deal with metallic mercury about the dangers of this unstable metal, and to save them from the horrible experiences which have spoiled a great part of my life. Today I can speak about them freely because luckily they have been concluded, and they are behind me with sufficient distance.
The insidious horror of mercury is not nearly sufficiently well known and is being taken note of too little in those places where one is particularly threatened by it, in chemical and physical laboratories.
For nearly 25 years I have suffered from ailments, which, in the beginning, arose only occasionally, then gradually got worse and worse and finally increased to unbearable proportions so that I disparingly doubted my ability to continue to work scientifically. The cause was understood neither by me nor many outstanding physicians. They thought that it was possible that it could be found in the especially narrow built of the nasal passages and an unusual irritability of the nasal mucosa. Because of this, I underwent decades of treatments of the nose with cauterizations, burnings, massages, electrification, and bloody operations. Without success. Two years ago--a few of my colleagues fell ill with similar symptoms--it was accidentally discovered that it had to do with an insidious poisoning by mercury vapor. In my chemical work, which involves testing of volatile substances by the "vacuum method," which uses mercury-tubs, -pumps, -manometers, and -valves1), I had been in constant contact with mercury for 25 years.
Today there is no doubt about the diagnosis any more because all my symptoms, although not gone completely, have more or less been diminished2), after having avoided inhaling mercury vapors for the last two years without the use of any other healing methods.
First I am describing the difficulties as they developed in me over time. They are identical to an insidious mercury poisoning in every detail. I was able to convince myself of this through my colleagues and other peers, who suffered and still suffer from mercury vapor poisoning. Some of them, it is noted, were not cognizant of the origin of their difficulties. Many pertinent symptoms have, up to now, been insufficiently described. At any rate, insidious mercury vapor poisoning has not received the attention it deserves.
With me the situation began with slight intermittent headaches and mild drowsiness, which increased gradually, over the years, to constant nervous restlessness and "jitteriness." Head-pressure impaired the ability to think. It worsened and finally became an almost uninterrupted vexing headache (sits mostly over the eyes). I had strong vertigo, which was occasionally connected with visual disturbances (unclear and double vision). Soon the upper air passages were involved as well. This started with a slight transient nose cold. This was followed by a constant "stuffy nose," which later turned into severe nose, throat and sinus infections. They were followed, one by one, almost without interruption, by pussy, often bloody, mucosal discharge and scabbing, frequent sore throats and ear aches connected to auditory loss and loss of smell (some sense of smell remained; e.g. cyanic acid). There was a distaste for tobacco smoke. During the last years prior to recognition of the poisoning, there were added signs: a strong flow of saliva, a sour, insipid taste in the mouth, infections of the eyes and oral mucosa. There were little blisters, sensitive and sore areas on the tongue, the palate, the gums and the insides of the lips and cheeks. There was reddening of the gums and slight bleeding while brushing the teeth. There were toothaches, receding of the gums and formation of "pockets" and temporary loosening of individual teeth. The mouth and tooth signs revealed themselves only (in part they only reached their peak months after recognition of the poisoning) because, since my youth, I have been taking good care of my teeth (among other things nightly long rinses with 1 and 1/2% hydrogen peroxyde solution and sodium bicarbonate). If this hadn't been the case, I might possibly have become aware of the cause of my problems through mouth infections.
Other signs were: Mental weariness and exhaustion, lack of inclination and inability to perform any, particularly mental, work, and increased need for sleep. There were tremors of the spread-out fingers and also sometimes the eyelids. There was pain in various locations of the body, tearing in the back and limbs, and pressure in the liver area. At times, there were disturbances of stomach and intestinal activity, loss of appetite, sudden bladder pressure, isolated bouts of diarrhea, which occurred without other possible causes. There were sudden blistery rashes, e.g. on the insides of the arms and thighs.
The most depressing accompanying sign relating to mental work was the diminshment of memory. My memory, which had previously been excellent, left more and more to be desired and became worse and worse until, two years ago, I suffered from nearly complete memory loss.
Only with the help of extensive notes and great effort was I able to put together a scientific paper or deliver a lecture. I forgot the telephone number on the way from the telephone book to the telephone. I forgot everything that I had once learned by heart. I forgot the content of the book or theater play I had just read or seen as well as my own work, which had been published. It was impossible for me to remember numbers and names. Often even the names of good acquaintances were lost. Specifically, I lost the ability for arithmetic and mathematical figuring. Also my chess playing ability suffered. The impairment of memory, particularly that of people memory and the worsening ability to do arithmetic, seem to be signs peculiar to insidious mercury vapor poisoning. This showed itself in blatant form in my co-workers and other people whom I got to know who had been under the influence of mercury for a longer period of time. Soon after all of us in the laboratory had found out what was wrong with us, we sat down together to put down on paper a completed piece of work where we had to do a lot of mathematics. None of us was able to add up columns of ten to twenty multi-digit numbers without making mistakes.
While my physical ability, e.g. mountain climbing, did not seem to have been weakened, the ability to work mentally suffered a little, although not in as devastating a fashion as had been the case with memory. Added to that were depression, and a vexing inner restlessness, which later also caused restless sleep. By nature companionable and loving life, I withdrew moodily into myself, shied away from the public, stayed away from people and social activity, and unlearned the joy in art and nature. Humor became rusty. Obstacles, which formerly I would have overlooked smilingly (and am overlooking again today), seemed insurmountable. Scientific work caused great effort. I forced myself to go to the laboratory without being able to get anything useful accomplished in spite of all efforts. Thought came laboriously and pedantically. I had to deny myself working on solutions to questions beyond the nearest tasks at hand. The lecture that used to be a pleasure became a torture. The preparations for a lecture, the writing of a dissertation, or merely a simple letter caused unending effort in styling the material and wrestling with the language. Not seldom did it happen that I misspelled words or left out letters. It was not nice to be aware of these shortcomings, not to know their cause, not to know a way to their elimination, and to have to fear further deterioration.
All attempts to improve the situation went awry. Staying in the mountains for many weeks did not help. I felt hardly less ill than in Berlin. The nose treatments and operations sometimes brought short-lived, yet never lasting relief. It was peculiar that all mental difficulties disappeared for hours when the physician treated certain areas of the mucosa of the upper nose with cocaine. When the right spot was hit, headache and vertigo disappeared sometimes in a few minutes; memory, inclination to work, and good mood reappeared, but, sadly, only as fleeting guests. Sometimes I made use of this possibility to call them up before a lecture, an important meeting etc.
As already indicated, my colleagues in the laboratory, my assistants, doctorants [PhD Candidates], and female lab workers had already suffered for some time from all kinds of problems: Fatigue without recognizable cause, worsened memory, mild headaches and drowsiness, occasional digestive disturbances, limb aches, slight mouth inflammation, nose colds [runny nose], sinusitis etc. The difficulties expressed themselves differently from person to person, whereby they came to light foremost in the areas of lowest resistance. All of them showed fatigue and diminished ability to perform mental tasks [work]. But nobody had the idea that the cause of it could be the same for all of us. Only the convergence of several lucky/unlucky circumstances finally opened our eyes.
In 1921, out of frugality, we had switched off the much more expensive power consuming electrical ventilation system of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute for Chemistry. Since the middle of 1923, two of my colleagues, an assistant and a Spanish guest, were working on gas density measurements, which required maintaining a constant temperature, and for this reason kept the windows and doors closed if possible. The work had to be done by the spring of 1924 because my assistant wanted to go into industry, and the Spanish colleague wanted to return home. The work was performed hastily so that our ordinarily scrupulous cleanliness suffered in every room. Spilled mercury remained unattended, and much of it lay under tripods, in cracks and slits between the floor boards and on tables. Thus the conditions presented themselves that, instead of the slow insidious mercury poisoning, the more easily recognizable acute mercury poisoning became apparent. The assistant fell ill more seriously, not only with headaches, mental fatigue etc., but also with stronger bodily deterioration; with tooth abscesses and such. His brother, a physician, suspected that the symptom complex pointed to mercury poisoning. The experienced poison researcher L. Lewin [Louis Lewin, 1850-1929] whom we consulted checked out all laboratory personnel and declared that, based on his experience, he was certain that all of us were suffering from mercury poisoning. Indeed the test showed (according to the procedure described in the following memorandum) mercury in the air of the workrooms as well as in the urine of all involved. The mercury content of the air in the individual rooms was quite varied: Depending on the results of the specimens it showed thousandth or hundredth of mg, i.e. only a small fraction of what the air under saturation with mercury vapor can accomodate. At room temperature, taking .001 mm mercury saturation pressure as its base value, this figures to be about 12 mg per cubic meter. Since man breathes in about 1/2 cubic meter air per hour, and the inhaled mercury apparently3) is retained for the most part in the lungs, it would require a very extended period of time in mercury saturated air to suffer from acute mercury poisoning. However it takes a long time after inhaling mercury containing air before the poisoning becomes obvious. For one or more years the signs may be limited to fatigue and slow diminuition of mental performance and memory. Thus the already mentioned Spanish colleague, for example, showed outward signs of inflammation of the oral cavity only at the very end of the year he stayed in our laboratory. The symptoms reached their climax months after he had left us, and after he was removed from the influence of mercury. He had noticed the mental effects much earlier without being able to explain the cause. "For me, it was," he said, "as if I was getting dumber and dumber in Germany." And I had to make similar observations with my remaining co-workers. Thus all my PhD candidates had difficulty withstanding the rigors of the doctor's exams. The PhD candidates and assistants recovered after a few years, once they had left the laboratory without being aware of the mercury poisoning. As for me, the effects of the minute amounts of mercury increased over the course of decades as described in the following narrative.
Particularly significant for insidious mercury poisoning is a noticeable coming and going of symptoms. Following a few days or weeks of improved well-being comes, sometimes setting in suddenly, a time of increased ill health. This also happens in the form of frequent relapses during the recovery period. As soon as my illness had reached its pinnacle, there were, as a rule, one or two tolerable days. Then the saliva flow, runny nose, and sinusitis, starting from the nose down to the throat and sliding down to the bronchi, increased again. There were tooth inflammations, highest fatigability and drowsiness, vexing headache, often also tearing and diarrhea. Headache, drowsiness and memory loss are connected to the irritation of the nerves leading to the upper part of the nose seen in the already mentioned effect of cocaine application on the nasal mucosa.
Apparently there are many similarities between insidious mercury poisoning and the better known lead poisoning. The [latter] is more thoroughly researched because it happens more often in industry. It, too, concerns mainly the nervous system and shows the same waxing and waning of the symptom complex4). "After a period of health the poison can suddenly, without cause, display its effects again by evoking an attack of lead colic or other symptoms. This phenomenon can only be explained by the poison having been encapsulated for a long time in a place in the body to which, suddenly, the circulation has access again..."5). According to F. Schuetz and H. Bernhardt6) lead deposits itself preferably in the spleen, gall bladder, and brain, and is primarily excreted with the bile, possibly also through the colon wall. The kidneys, in this case, are less involved in the acute and chronic course of poisoning. Mercury seems to act similarly. After one year of excluding mercury as the cause of mercury poisoning, it could not be detected in my urine, in spite of the fact that there were still very strong signs of illness. The saliva, however, still contained mercury7).
After we had recognized the source of our illness, our first worry was how to protect ourselves from mercury in the future. The first thing, of course, was to remove carefully everything on tables, in drawers, slits, cracks and joints, and under damaged areas of the linoleum flooring, whereby a modified "vacuum cleaner" (consisting of suction connection, suction bottle with a long rubber hose in front of which was attached a cut-burner type widened glass nozzle) served us well. We had the linoleum repaired. All cracks in the work tables were eliminated. The dangerous corners between floors and the so-called scrub molding were rounded off (putty, painted with oil paint) so that they were more easily accessible for cleaning. Wherever tripods stood for a longer period of time, the joints between tripod and table tops were also closed off with putty. All open mercury surfaces on tubs, manometer holders etc. were covered as completely as possible with fit-cut cellon plates. We avoided eating in the work rooms or saving food and took especially good care cleaning our hands (particularly brushing our finger nails) after handling mercury. We also paid good attention so that no mercury fell into pockets and folds of the work coats. Moreover we gave full attention to the airing out of the work rooms by testing the success with air analyses (Compare the following memorandum). It was soon apparent that the reinstallation of the strong house ventilation system (very strong ventilators in the attic suck the air out through hoods; fresh air enters from channels through flaps above the doors) was not nearly sufficient enough to make the air mercury free. The situation in our laboratory is inopportune in that we are working with particularly many mercury apparatuses whereby open mercury surfaces and occasional sprinkling of mercury is not altogether avoidable. An added factor is that the work rooms in the very modern and well-built and furnished Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut for Chemistry are so large (several hundred cubic meters air space) that the air does not get renewed fast enough by the ventilation system. In this regard smaller rooms may be advantageous because, naturally, the same ventilation works better and causes faster replacement of the air8). Sufficiently airing ventilation, in this case, as it turned out, is obtainable only through constantly opening windows and creating a draft (regulated by temperature, windspeed, and -direction). At the same time the ventilation system is at work. Because it rests at night, the laboratory is being supplied with fesh air through opening the windows wide. This measure is repeated at noon. Thus we have succeded in keeping the laboratory air so clean that traces are detectable only in small quantities, and we can continue working with our mercury apparatuses without having to fear new health problems.
Whenever one deals with mercury one should devote great care to the testing and cleanliness of the air. One should check the airstream situation in the work space9)and provide for as much fresh air as possible. It goes without saying that all work with mercury, if at all possible, should be performed under hoods10). That is the only way that protects from damage with certainty. These precautions are necessary even if one has to choose the path through the Scylla of mercury poisoning and the Charybdis of a cold. A chemical removal of mercury cannot be obtained according to our experiences. It had been suggested to distribute sulfur powder or zinc dust in the work place. We also tried large foil flags that were hung in long rows from the ceiling. Although tin foil amalgamates quickly if you put it into a closed container next to mercury, it failed in this case: The mercury content in the air did not lessen noticeably; one tin flag (33 X 100cm area; weighing 57g), which had hung for 11 months over a mercury apparatus, was weighed afterwards. It contained only .005 mg mercury.
The recovery from insidious mercury poisoning, after the removal of the poison source, takes place very slowly. Professor Lewin predicted this, and the development of our wellbeing confirmed this. The time period is visibly connected to the duration of the poisoning, and possibly also to how old you are. My co-workers who had left the laboratory were, thankfully, rid of their problems in the course of 1 - 2 years and have fully recovered the freshness of their thinking ability and memory. Nevertheless, even they had to suffer for a long time from relapses not only of mental but also of physical nature (particularly mouth inflammation). Some assistants and female lab workers continued to work here where they, unfortunately, cannot operate without mercury. Even today, after two years, they are still suffering from clearly visible, but steadily diminishing, after-effects of the poisoning. As for me, who was exposed to the damaging influences for over 20 years, the recovery apparently is taking the longest. All in all, I recovered the ability to work. I had only occasional relapses (headaches, drowsiness and mild mouth inflammation). Considering the course of the recovery up to now, I do not doubt, however, that my last co-workers and I will lose our symptoms completely. It seems that you have to count on it to take years to excrete the mercury again that took years to build up in the body. In this regard the following case has been educational to me recently, which at the same time proves that it is irrelevant for the course of insidious mercury poisoning whether the poison gets into the body via the lungs or through the skin11)
A medical assistant who had applied mercury salve therapy on his patients fell ill in 1905 with those symptoms (moodiness, headache, vertigo), which gradually got worse (fatigue, unbearable headache, oral inflammation, loosening and loss of teeth, constant runny nose, sinusitis, sore throat, ringing in the ears, hearing and vision disturbances). Only in 1911 was the situation recognized as mercury poisoning. The man stopped applying the salve therapy, but still needed many years before he lost his symptoms. After 1914, when he went to war he suffered from headaches and drowsiness. Today as a fifty-five-year-old he is again the picture of health and quite youthful.
It seems that an existing mercury intoxication preconditions a special sensitivity vis-a-vis renewed exposure from mercury vapor. Some of us who, at our work, and also during occasional mistakes with ventilation, had come in contact again with more mercury, noticed this soon because of the stronger symptomatology after the relapses. That is not surprising because, as the long development period of the insidious illness shows, a certain borderline value has to be reached before noticeable symptoms appear. The borderline value is certainly exceded for a long time, even during recovery, so that each added amount of mercury worsens your wellbeing at once.
On doctor's orders we tried to hasten the recovery in various ways through use of diuretics and emetics, through hot baths and prolonged use of small amounts of sodium iodide. I do not get the impression that healing was particularly accelerated. The iodide has the reputation of bringing the metal into soluble form from insoluble organic mercury compounds. This is the form in which the mercury is probably anchored in the body. As far as I am concerned, there was no proof that significantly more mercury was excreted after addition of iodide. No progress was to be expected from diuretics, as already mentioned, since the mercury excretion in the urine had stopped relatively soon altogether. The healing arts are sadly lacking in medicines that detoxify mercury in the body 12).
Exercize in fresh air is still best suited to make the subjective symptoms less noticeable. With milder headaches and vertigo Novalgin has been proven worthwhile as a palliative. All in all, it has to be left to time to become master over this destroyer of peace. For me even a four-week long stay in the high mountains and an ocean voyage to southerly latitudes brought hardly any progress, (which normally occurs with unaffected people), although, naturally, the mental relaxation helped the nerves.
Why were our illnesses not recognized sooner as being mercury poisoning? I have often asked myself this question, not without self-accusations. The first signs, those that preceded the oral signs of slow mercury poisoning, are hardly known by the medical profession.13) They consist only of fatigue, lowering of thinking and memory skills, slight headaches and drowsiness and rare occasional diarrhea. In the same way, it was little known until now that the nose and remaining breathing passages are being compromised in the form of a runny nose and sinusitis. But exactly these symptoms brought me and the physicians who treated me on the wrong track, and have been misleading in other cases that I have come to know about. Thus one of my assistants was treated for a long time for a sinus infection before the true cause came to light. By the way, balanced judgment of the bad situation becomes impaired in those who are affected exactly because of the existing drowsiness: "Quem Mercurius perdere vult, dementat prius!" [Whom Mercury wants to destroy, he first robs of his mind!]
At this time I would like to warn about a little known source of insidious mercury poisoning: It is amalgam tooth fillings. Professor Lewin suggested to me at once, when he noticed mercury poisoning in me, to replace all amalgam fillings--of which I had a considerable number in my mouth since early youth--with other fillings. Telling me this, he recalled a case of a university colleague who was at the edge of mental and physical collapse when the cause was found just in time. It was found in the numerous amalgam fillings stemming from the time when he was young. After their removal slow recovery followed.14)
Dentists used to prefer copper and cadmium amalgams and now often use the so-called silver amalgams for tooth fillings because these amalgams are easy to work with and fill out the cavities well. Silver amalgam is superior to the earlier named amalgams, which corode and rot over time. However it, too, releases mercury at room temperature as the following assays15) proved to us:
We enclosed silver amalgam samples in an evacuated glass tube, which was bent [in the middle] at a ninety-degree angle with the ends melted shut. The horizontal tube shank with the amalgam piece was kept warm at 30-35 degrees C; the other shank serving as a recepticle, was cooled with ice or liquid air. We then measured the mercury that had sublimated in the receptacle in all cases.
  • I. Amalgam piece carefully made for this purpose by dentist in the state-of-the-art method from metal powder and mercury: .801 g. Enclosed by melting into glass tube 24 hours after manufacture. Warmed [30-35 degrees] for 23 days. Receptacle in ice. Distilled mercury = 11.2 mg


  • II. Same as above: .810 g. Kept for three weeks to make hardening as complete as possible. Only after that period of time was it enclosed by melting into glass tube. Warmed [30-35 degrees] for 12 days. Receptacle in liquid air. Distilled mercury = 15.3 mg


  • III. Amalgam piece made by taking care using as little mercury as possible: 1.000 g. As in II. was kept in the open for three weeks. Warmed [30-35 degrees] for 9 days. Receptacle in ice. Distilled mercury = 8.2 mg


  • IV. Amalgam filling, which had been in a tooth for years and had fallen out: .894 g. Warmed [30-35 degrees] for 14 days. Receptacle in liquid air. Distilled mercury = 29.4 mg
Without doubt, the fillings that were used here in the laboratory would have allowed mercury to evaporate from the mouth as well and supplied the inhaled air with a small amount of mercury, which, in the long run, has to be harmful. The old copper and cadmium amalgams are likely to be even more harmful.
For some time, one of my faculty colleagues had been suffering from occasional headaches and drowsiness the cause of which he couldn't explain. After he had an old amalgam filling removed, which had caused a slight infection near the tooth in question, his symptoms disappeared gradually. After its removal the filling showed itself as crumbly and laced with mercury droplets, throughout.
Dental medicine should do without the application of amalgam as means for filling teeth altogether or, at least, wherever at all possible. There is no doubt that many complaints such as fatigue, memory weakness, oral inflammation, diarrhea, lack of appetite, chronic runny nose and sinusitis are sometimes caused by mercury that has been directed to the body from amalgam fillings, maybe only in small quantities, but constantly. The physicians should give this fact the most serious attention. Then it will probably become apparent that the frivolous introduction of amalgams as tooth filling device was a nasty sin against humanity.
Insidious mercury poisonings are certainly much more common than ordinarily thought. This is true particularly for chemists and physicists who so often have to work with it. The great danger here is being noted much too little, and the true cause of symptoms and illness is often not recognized. In literature you find almost nothing about this.16) Since the discovery of our misfortune I have found out about a dozen certain cases of insidious mercury poisoning, just in the circle of my acquaintances. They almost always have the same symptoms. Often the correct cause was missed and therefore the correct treatment was missed as well. An important example is that of a foreign colleague who had been working with mercury apparatus' for a long time. When he visited me and I asked him whether he had ever felt any mercury poisoning, he decidedly said that he had not. Upon further questioning about his health he then admitted: "I am in bad shape. For years I have been suffering from neurasthenia and had to stay away from the laboratory from time to time." The doctors had tried all kinds of things with him. They had treated him for stomach, intestinal, and ribcage disease with a special diet etc. In reality what he had been dealing with was full-blown mercury poisoning without doubt.
One unknowing victim of mercury poisoning has probably been Faraday. In the last two to three decades of his life, which came to an end in his late seventies, he was bothered increasingly by health problems, which made his scientific work more and more difficult, and which played a significant role in his letters and descriptions of his life. They were diagnosed by physicians as neurasthenia and early onset arteriosclerosis. They consisted of, at times, strong mental and physical fatigue, "irritable weakness," headaches, vertigo, "rheumatism" and, more than anything else, constant increasing memory loss.17)
Faraday, being spared serious "bodily" illnesses, was even in old age a strong hiker and swimmer. But he avoided people for the last third of his life. Scientific work, including his lectures, were continued with long interruptions into the last decade of his life. It is heart rending to read in the great researcher's letters that he went to see his physician friend so often to complain to him about vertigo and headache, that he couldn't remember names, that he was losing the connections with his colleagues, that he was forgetting his own work and notes, that he was forgetting his letter writing, and that he didn't know any more how to write words. "The affected organ is my head. The result is loss of memory and clarity and vertigo." All these symptoms make it most likely that Faraday suffered from an insidious mercury poisoning from the vapors used in the laboratory. It makes you shudder to think how, in all likelihood, this rich intellect could have been freed from this suffering, and what gifts he could have given to science if the cause of his illness could have been recognized and remedied.
Maybe--Professor Jaensch (Marburg) brings this to my attention--the mysterious sickness the mathematician, physicist, and philosopher, Blaise Pascal (1623-1661), succumbed to when he was still young was mercury poisoning. Pascal worked with mercury in his well-known barometer research. His suffering from sustained headaches, vertigo, toothache, loss of appetite, and lasting bad colic complete the picture of advanced slow mercury poisoning.
No doubt mercury, the use of which sadly cannot be done away with in research, has done heavy damage to science in the past as it still does today in the way it curtailed the output of many a researcher. May this present-day warning help us pay better attention and avoid the dangers of this insidious metal.
Please view the bibliography in the original article: Die Gefaehrlichkeit des Quecksilberdampfes, von Alfred Stock (1926)

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Swastika on Arizona and Peruvian Pottery


Someone sent in a comment about an ancient Moche vase he had seen in a picture on display at a Peruvian museum. I thought it not only interesting, but yet another example of someone drawing a conclusion based on modern knowledge without looking into the ancient meaning of his view. His comment was:  “How do you explain the Nazi swastika showing up on pottery in Peru, as well as in Arizona? This hardly seems like a connection between the ancient Jews and your Book of Mormon people. Looks like another proof of the hoax Joseph Smith laid on you!”
The answer is simpler than it might seem. First of all, the two pottery vessels he mentioned, interestingly enough, are actually another proof of the Jewish-South American connection, not the opposite as he supposes.
The first vessel was found in a pyramid along the north coast of Peru and dates to the early Moche-Sican-Lambayeque period, beginning around 100 B.C., and currently on display in the Huaca Rajada Site Museum.
Left: The remains of the Moche-Sican mud-brick pyramid in Lambayeque; Right: The swastika-adorned pottery vessel found in the pyramid
The second, a Hohokam pottery vessel, now on display at the Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, was found in the Hohokam village ruins dating to about 400 A.D. The Hohokam once inhabited a large area from southern Utah-Colorado far into northwestern Mexico to the Durango border.
Left: 1500 year-old Hohokam village ruins near Phoenix, Arizona; Right: The Hohokam vessel found in the ruins with a swastika. Note the outside lines are angled
The Swastika, contrary to his inference and most people’s opinion, did not originate with the Nazi movement in Germany. The so-called “swastika” is actually an adaptation from the early Hebrew symbol meaning “eternity in motion.” It was also found on American plains Indians of the U.S., specifically drawn on teepees, etc. In fact, the word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit words su, meaning "well," and asti, meaning “to be.”
An ancient symbol, the swastika was used in various forms by many civilizations all over the world. It was the sign of Thor's hammer for Scandinavians, used by early Christians as an alternative cross to avoid persecution, and by later Christians as a decorative emblem. It was used extensively by the Hittites, Celts and Greeks, and was a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It was widespread among Native American peoples, and appeared in ancient Oriental, Egyptian, and Irish cultures. India associates the swastika with good luck and protection from wrath, and mark it on doors, walls, shrines, and their own bodies. It can represent the sun, the god Vishnu, or the 'world-wheel.' It is one of the 24 auspicious marks in Jainism.
Top: Left: An Iranian necklace excavated from Kalunaz, Guilan, first millennium B.C.; Center: Ancient Roman tile design; Right: Pre-Christian Polish symbol of Slavic diety Svarog; Bottom: Left: Children light lamps in the shape of a swastika on the Diwali, eve of Hindu new year; Center: Ancient Buddhist temple in Korea; Right: 1920 Arizona highway marker
The swastika was the Indian sun symbol conferring good luck and the Sanskrit word meaning “fortunate” or “well-being,” and to the Romans it meant “peace,” while to the Hindus it meant “good fortune,” and to the plains Indians it meant “good luck.” To the Windsor, Nova Scotia, team in the early days of hockey, it meant both “power and good fortune,” and to the fans it meant a high-scoring top-notch hockey team whose players proudly displayed the symbol on their jerseys and who were almost impossible to beat by other teams in the area.
Left: The 1912 Windsor, Nova Scotia, hockey team in their uniforms with the swastika on their jerseys; Right: The women’s 1916 Edmonton Swastikas Hockey Team
Since the early Middle Ages the sign of the swastika was well-established among all Slavic lands, where it was known as swarzyca, and primarily associated with one of their gods named Swarog. With time the significance of the symbol faded, but it was preserved in numerous cases as a personal symbol of various personalities, as was the case of the Boreyko Coat of Arms. It was also preserved in the folk culture of the region of Podhale, where it was used as a talisman well into the 20th century. As a solar symbol, it was painted or carved on various parts of houses in the Tatra Mountains and was thought to save the household from evil.
In America, the 45th Infantry Division of the United States Army used a yellow swastika on a red background as a unit symbol until the 1930s, when it was switched to a thunderbird, and the U.S. Navy base at Coronado, California, has a swastika-shaped building, which predates World War II. In 1925, Coca-Cola made a lucky watch formed in the shape of a swastika with the slogan, "Drink Coca Cola five cents in bottles." The Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building at Indiana University, which was built in the 1920s before the Nazis came to power in Germany, contains decorative Native American-inspired reverse swastika tilework on the walls of the foyer and stairwells on the southeast side of the building, which now creates enormous controversy.
Left: 45thInfantry Division Patch; Center: Coronado U.S. Navy Building; Right: Coca-Cola lucky watch charm
Shortly after the beginning of World War II, the Native American tribes Navajo, Apache, Tohono O’odham, and Hopi, published a decree stating that they would no longer use the swastika in their artwork, because it had come to symbolize evil to them. The decree states: ”Because the above ornament which has been a symbol of friendship among our forefathers for many centuries has been desecrated recently by another nation of peoples. Therefore it is resolved that henceforth from this date on and forever more our tribes renounce the use of the emblem commonly known today as the swastika or fylfot on our blankets, baskets, art objects, sandpainting, and clothing.”
In the late nineteenth century, the swastika symbolized a movement celebrating Germanic culture, heritage, and nationalism, however, by 1920 this movement began to take on anti-Semitic undertones. Later, Adolph Hitler chose the swastika to be the symbol of the Nazi Party.
There are many other historically documented uses of the swastika as a totem, a decoration, or a good luck "charm" in ancient civilizations including the Mesopotamians, Hindu, Native Americans (both North and South) and Scandinavians. To the Hopi’s, the swastika symbol represents the path of the migrations of the clans. The center of the cross represents Tuwanasavi or the Center of the Universe, which lay in what is now the Hopi country in the southwestern part of the US. Tuwanasavi was not the geographic center of North America, but the magnetic or spiritual center formed by the junction of the North-South and the East-West axes along which the Twins sent their vibratory messages and controlled the rotation of the planet. Three directions (pasos) for most of the clans were the same: the ice locked back door to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Only 7 clans—the Bear, Eagle, Sun, Kachina, Parrot, Flute and Coyote clans—migrated to South America to the southern paso at it's tip. The rest of some 40 clans, having started from somewhere in South America, regarded this as their southern paso, their migration thus forming a balanced symbol. Upon arriving at each paso all the leading clans turned right before retracing their routes.
The symbol itself, probably originating anciently in the Hebrew geometric symbols, where a vertical line represented the spiritual realm, a horizontal line represented man and his existence or the temporal sphere, and the circle represented eternity with no beginning and no end. When you put those together you have a circle with a cross inside. By removing parts of the circle, you have eternity in motion, which looks somewhat like a swastika.
This is just another example and proof of how the ancient Hebrew or Jewish culture of Lehi’s time can be seen in many ways within the Western Hemisphere.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

What do Guinea Pigs, Apes, some Fruit Bats and Humans have in common?

Guinea Pigs, Apes, Fruit Bats and Humans

guinea-pigs-etc9
What do Guinea Pigs, Apes, some Fruit Bats and Humans have in common?

They all share the inability to produce their ownAscorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
All other animals produce Vitamin C endogenously, or inside their own bodies.
Scientists believe they have evidence suggesting that humans used to produce their own ascorbic acid from an enzyme produced in the liver. But something happened and humans now depend on dietary sources of vitamin C.
Guinea pigs, apes, some fruit bats and humans share another trait: The tendency to develop coronary heart disease. The development of heart disease only occurs in animals and humans that lack adequate intake of ascorbates through dietary sources.
It has also been observed that zoo animals, such as gorillas fed processed “gorilla chow” readily develop heart disease unless they are supplied with adequate amounts of ascorbates.
By comparing the amount of vitamin C produced endogenously in animals that do not develop heart disease, we can get a good idea of how much vitamin C is essential to maintain cardiovascular health in humans.
Goats, cows, dogs, cats, squirrels and rabbits manufacture ascorbic acid at a rate of about 10 g per 70 kg (154 pounds) of body weight. In other words, to achieve the levels of ascorbic acid produced by animals that do not develop coronary heart disease, a 154-pound human would need to ingest 10 g of dietary or supplemental vitamin C daily.
Noting that 1,000 mg = 1 g, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has established the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C at 35 mg for infants; 45-50 mg for children and 60 mg for adults. According to the FDA, humans require about 200 times less vitamin C than animals to maintain optimal health!
The late Dr. Fred Klenner was one of the world’s foremost authorities on vitamin C. He believed that the government’s concept of daily minimal intakes should be abolished because, “The physiological requirements [for ascorbic acid] in man are no different than other mammals capable of carrying out this synthesis.”
Judging from the numbers of people being stricken by and succumbing to heart disease in the U.S., it would appear that Dr. Klenner (and doctors Pauling, Irwin Stone, Glenn Dettman and Archie Kalokerinos) are correct about the levels of ascorbic acid necessary to maintain optimal cardiovascular health.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Hydration for the Apocalypse: How to Store Water for Long-Term Emergencies

April 1, 2014
Manly SkillsSelf-RelianceSurvival


Your community in action - moving food, water, medicines into shelters.
A big storm and earthquake hits your town. It’s a certifiable quakenado.
Your house is spared structural damage, but the power and water are out. According to news reports, the grid is down in your area and several water mains are broken. Conservative estimates are that it will take crews at least a week to get water service back on.
Would you have enough water in your home for you and your family to last until the water came back? Or if you live in the southwest, would you have enough in a situation where your city just plain runs out of water?

How Much Water Do I Need?

Vintage drinking water barrel.
Water…because ducking and covering works up a mighty thirst.
The general rule of thumb is that you’ll need one gallon of water per person per day. Half a gallon is used for drinking and the other half is used for hygiene. That number will go up depending on a whole host of factors. If you live in a hot climate or have pregnant or nursing women in your group, you’ll want to store more water.
Alright, so a gallon a day per person is the general rule.
So the question becomes, how many days without water should you prep for?
Well that depends on how prepared you want to be for varying degrees of disaster.
FEMA recommends that everyone have enough water to last three days should your regular water source be disrupted. Three days of water should be enough to get you through the periods of water shut-off or contamination that can happen during natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and ice storms.
Three days is a good starting point, but even during run-of-the-mill disasters, water access can be down for much longer than that.
After spending hours reading prepper blogs and forums, it seems the general consensus is that you should have at least two weeks worth of water on hand. So for a single person, that’s 14 gallons of water. For a family of four, that would mean you’d need 56 gallons of water.
Whether you decide to go above and beyond the two-week minimum is up to you. For lots of people, finding space in their home or apartment to store enough water for two weeks is a stretch, so trying to find room for a month might not be in the cards (though with a bit of creativity, you’d be surprised how you can arrange things in your house to make room for large amounts of water and food storage). Even if space isn’t an issue, the upfront costs for long-term water storage can be prohibitively expensive.
My recommendation would be to start off with the two-week supply and slowly build up to larger amounts as space and money become available. Right now I have about a month’s worth of water for my family. The funny/scary thing about prepping is that it can become a weird obsession. Once I filled my two 55-gallon barrels with water, I immediately wanted more. Now I’m shooting for a year supply. Have I turned into a crazy SHTF (Sh*t Hits The Fan) prepper? Just a touch. I better get busy burying 42 school buses underground….

Long-Term Water Storage Solutions

So you’ve decided to start building your emergency water supply. You’ll need a safe container in which to store it. The general guideline is to use food-grade plastic bottles. You can also use glass bottles so long as they haven’t stored non-food items. Stainless steel is another option, but you won’t be able to treat your stored water with chlorine, as it corrodes steel. Finally, no matter what you store your water in, make sure you can seal it. You don’t want any bacteria or other contamination mucking up your drinking water. Below, we highlight several water storage options.

Two-Week Water Storage Options

Storing bottled water for an emergency supply
Store-Bought Bottled Water. The easiest (but slightly more expensive) way to reach your water storage quota is to simply buy pre-packaged bottled water. It’s clean, well-sealed, and comes in food-grade plastic bottles. Moreover, bottled water is highly portable, which comes in handy ifyou need to bug out. This is a great option if you have limited space in your home or apartment. Just buy a bunch of packages and store them under beds. For example, one 35-count package of Poland Spring waterprovides about 4.6 gallons. That’s enough water to last one person four days. If you want two weeks of water, you just need four packages.
Empty Soda/Water/Gatorade Bottles. If you’re a cheap bastard, you can just refill empty soda/water/Gatorade bottles with water from your tap. Just make sure to thoroughly clean the bottles first, using this process.
5-7-Gallon Water Jugs. If you’re a regular camper, you might already have a few of these in your garage. They’re made from sturdy, food-grade plastic. The plastic is usually a dark blue which restricts light and helps prevent algae growth. I think the blue is also to remind you that “Hey! This is for water only!” The jugs are typically stackable, so they make for easy storage, even in the tightest of spaces. Their smallish size also makes for easy transport in case you need to leave your home base.

One Month or More Water Storage Options

waterBOBIf you’ve read The Roadyou’ll likely remember the scene where our protagonist begins to fill up a bathtub immediately after seeing flashes that signal an impending apocalypse outside his window. He knew the city water would be shutting off soon, and he wanted to store as much as he could before that happened. This is actually in my emergency plan if we ever encounter a SHTF moment here in Tulsa. While filling up a tub will give you 100 gallons of water, the problem is that it’s not very sanitary for a couple of reasons. First, when was the last time you cleaned your tub? And if you did clean it recently, did you use harsh chemicals to do so? Either way, you probably don’t want to drink water straight from it. Second, water in your tub has no covering so it’s susceptible to all sorts of contamination.
waterBOB system for emergency water.
In times of crisis, a waterBOB is quite handy. Be sure to have fresh towels and some scented candles on hand as well, as seen above. Even during the apocalypse, everyone needs some “me time.”
That’s where the waterBOB comes in. It’s a giant, heavy-duty plastic bag that holds up to 100 gallons of water. Just place it in your bathtub and fill with water from your tub faucet. Boom! Instant sanitary water storage.
This is a good option for folks with limited space. Just bust it out whenever you think you’ll need to use it. The downside is that when you think you need it, there might not be any water to fill it up.
Water Barrels. If you have the space and you’re looking to have at least one month of water storage on hand, you can’t go wrong with 55-gallon water barrels. They’re made from sturdy food-grade plastic and have bungs at the top that can be sealed super tight in order to protect your water from contamination. The plastic is also BPA-free and UV-resistant. Two of these babies will give a family of four about 27 days worth of water. This is what I have right now for my water storage solution.
There are a few downsides. The first one is space. If you live in an apartment, you probably won’t have room for a 55-gallon water barrel. The second is price. Each barrel will set you back about $90. You’ll also need to buy a pump and a specialty drinking water hose to fill them up. Finally, they’re not very portable. A full barrel weighs in at 440 lbs. You’ll definitely want a more portable option available in case you need to bug out.
If you’re looking to store more than a month of water, you might consider getting one (or more!) of these 320-gallon water storage systems. I’m looking to add one to our garage later this year.

How to Store Water in 55-Gallon Barrels

55-gallon drinking water barrels
I’ve got two 55-gallon barrels in my garage.
water barrels on a wood pallet
While probably not necessary, I placed my barrels on a wooden pallet to avoid a possible chemical reaction between the barrels and the cement.
specialty drinking water hose
Experts recommend that you avoid using a regular old garden hose when filling up your water barrels and instead use a speciality drinking water hose.
filled water barrels
Filled them up. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would.
chlorine drops for pre-treating water
Many prepper sites recommend pre-treating your water with chlorine to help prevent algae and bacteria growth. However, several sites claim that this isn’t even necessary because tap water is already treated with chlorine. I treated one barrel and not the other. It will be interesting to see if there’s any difference between the two in a year.
Tightening the water barrels
After filling your barrels, make sure to seal the bung as tight as you can. Remember, water doesn’t spoil. What causes water to go bad is contamination.
smaller water storage jug
Even though you might have giant barrels full of water, it’s a good idea to have smaller storage jugs in case you need to bug out of your house.
Rain BarrelsIn addition to storing tap water, you might consider adding some rain barrels into your system. Simply place a rain barrel at the bottom of your gutter pipe, and whenever it rains your barrel collects the water. Rainwater harvesting is an eco and budget friendly way to create a long-term water storage reserve. Because it comes from the heavens, and it’s sitting in a barely-protected barrel outside, you’ll want to filter and sanitize rainwater before drinking it. Some preppers just use rainwater for hygiene and save their stored tap water for drinking. Although it’s a myth that some states have made rainwater collection illegal, some drought-prone states have regulations on methods and require permits, and some states (like Texas) actually give a tax credit for buying rain collection equipment. Be sure to check the regulations for your state.
Water Cistern SystemWater cisterns are a big step up from rain barrels. They’re basically giant holding containers that you use to capture rain water. Water cistern systems can hold  anywhere from 1,400 gallons to 12,000 gallons of water. If you’re planning for end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it events, water cisterns are where it’s at. You’ll need space where you can place a giant water tank and you’ll need to develop a system of pipes to deliver rainwater to the cistern. Also, the tanks used in cistern systems usually aren’t food friendly. You’ll want to treat the water before drinking it or use cistern water primarily for hygiene purposes.

Back-up Water Solutions

In addition to having stored water, you’ll want to have options to filter and purify water in case you need to use water from rivers, streams, or lakes to supplement your supply. Creek Stewart recommends having three options on hand to produce clean drinking water: filter, chemical, and boiling.
  • Water filter. I have a Katadyn Hiker Pro Filtration System in my bug-out bag. You can produce about 1 liter of clean water per minute with it. You definitely can’t rely on it for your primary source of clean water. It’s just a supplement.
  • Purification tabletsI have some iodine and sodium chlorite tablets for purification as well.
  • Fuel and stove to boil water. Finally, I have a small stove and fuel in my bug-out bag so I can boil water to purify it.
paper bag trick for heating water
If you find yourself in a scenario where you have a paper bag but not a pot in which to boil water in…I present to you a life hack from a 1950s issue of Modern Mechanix magazine.

Common Questions About Water Storage

Do I need to rotate my water every year? This is probably the most common question and the most common answer is, yes, you need to change your water out at least once a year. But after looking into it, I found that this isn’t necessarily true. First, it’s important to understand that water doesn’t have an expiration date. If properly stored, water doesn’t spoil. What makes water go bad is contamination that gets into it. If you take proper precautions in sealing and storing your water so that bacteria or other contaminants don’t get into it, your water could theoretically stay good forever. In fact, I’ve read lots of blog posts from folks who’ve imbibed five-year-old stored water without any problems. So, as long as you take proper precautions, no, you don’t need to change your water out every year. However, if you’re worried about contamination, then go ahead and do it.
Do I need to treat my water with chlorine before I store it? A few prepper sites recommend that you treat your water with chlorine before you seal its storage container. But if you’re using tap water from your city to fill your water storage, it’s unnecessary. Tap water has already been treated with chlorine. If you properly seal your bottle or drum, you shouldn’t have to worry about bacteria or algae growth. If the day comes that you have to crack open your water source and you’re worried about contamination, feel free to add chlorine. The proper amount is 1/8 teaspoon of chlorine per gallon of water. To make it easier, just buy somewater treatment drops. They tell you exactly what you need to add.
Do I need to boil my stored water before I drink it? If you have reason to believe that your water has been contaminated, then boil it. If not, don’t. It’s a waste of fuel.
Why does my stored water taste funny? Is it contaminated? Stored water will often taste flat and weird because there’s no oxygen in it. To get rid of that weird stored water taste, simply swish your water around your cup a few times before drinking.
Do I need to store my water off the cement? If you plan on storing water in 55-gallon barrels, you’ll likely come across recommendations to not store the barrels on your garage’s cement floor and to instead place them on wooden pallets. The reason given is that chemicals in the cement can cause a chemical reaction with the plastic storage container and possibly contaminate the water. Looking into this a bit more, this seems to be more of an old prepper wives’ tale. I couldn’t find any scientific research to back up this claim. A few prepper sites claimed that storing your water on cement only became a problem when your cement got really hot.
To be on the safe side, I went ahead and put my water barrels on a pallet. Didn’t cost me much more and didn’t take up much more space. You can also use carpet or flattened cardboard boxes too.
I have a swimming pool. Can’t I just use that for my emergency water? If you have an average size swimming pool out back, you have around 20,000 gallons of water at your disposal in case of an emergency. It’s certainly drinkable. You just have to be smart about it. Because of the chlorine and pump/filter, pool water is typically free of contaminants like algae and bacteria. Don’t be freaked out about drinking chlorinated pool water. The recommended chlorine levels for pools is 2 parts per million.Water with chlorine levels below 4 parts per million is safe for humans to drink.
The problem with relying on pool water for a long-term water solution is that in a grid-down situation in which water and electricity are out for more than a week, that pool water is going to go bad. First, chlorine levels will drop in a few days unless you keep adding chlorine to the pool. If you don’t have enough chlorine on hand, that means the water will become an algae and bacteria breeding ground in a short while. Second, without electricity, your pool’s pump and filter can’t clean out the gunk. So after a week, your pristine drinkable pool water will start to “spoil.” With that in mind, you might consider having several collapsible water carriers on hand and filling them up with pool water if you think the power will be down for more than a week. Fill as many as you can and put them in your garage. You should  boil or chemically treat any pool water before drinking it just to be safe.
What about saltwater pools? Well, that’s a bit trickier. There’s a lot of mixed info out there on the topic. A few people make the case that salt levels in saltwater pools aren’t as high as you’d think they’d be, and are arguably in the safe range for drinking. On the other hand, their levels are still pretty high and too much salt consumption in a survival situation can be detrimental to your overall well-being, so you’re better off not swigging the stuff. It’s better to play it safe by avoiding drinking the saltwater from your pool. If you do have a saltwater pool and would like to use the water, consider using it only for hygiene purposes. If you want to use it for drinking, use a solar desalination device like this one. Just be warned, it takes a long time to produce drinkable water.