Three poisons, three useful aids

A Topeka food processing plant has been fined $13,000 for failing to alert authorities immediately when a leak developed in an anhydrous ammonia tank a couple of years ago.
When it spills, ammonia turns into a gas that burns eyes, lungs and human skin. It is, in short, a poison. Chlorine gas can be even more deadly.
Ammonia is also an ingredient in many household cleansers. It cuts grease and is a disinfectant. Chlorine is used almost universally in municipal water plants and swimming pools to kill bacteria and stop the spread of many diseases.
Both chemicals can be used to help or to harm human life. Whether either acts as a poison or a helpful tool depends primarily on dose. Spill a tankful of ammonia or chlorine on a city street and thousands may have to be evacuated. Some could be seriously injured or even killed.
Used as directed in the kitchen, bathroom, city water plant or swimming pool and those poisons help people live better, safer lives.
Flouride is a poison, too. It also is a chemical that hardens the enamel on people’s teeth as they develop and substantially reduces the incidence of tooth decay and the necessity for dental re-pair. It takes a very small amount of flouride in a city’s water supply to accomplish that purpose. Well-engineered equipment in water treatment plants — Iola’s is state-of-the-art — introduces just the right amount to help youngsters here grow up with sounder teeth and avoid any negative effect.
Too much flouride hurts; just the right amount helps.
Flouride, ammonia, chlorine, three deadly poisons; three helpful chemicals. It’s all a matter of dose; of following directions.
Iola’s water supply has been flouridated for more than 50 years without a single incidence of any negative effect and a clear demonstration of benefit to area youngsters. That single fact is all the people of Humboldt really have to know when they decide if their town will take advantage of flouride’s potential to help Humboldt’s youngsters develop stronger teeth.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.