Many of our so called "improvements" just turn out to be terrible, to say the least! The reason I bring this up now is that gardening season is right around the corner. Watch out when buying the seeds, ya know? Hey...just saying!
One of the largest public health crises and mass food poisoning events occurred in 1971 when seed grain, meant to be planted and used as seeds, was instead used as food. The seed grain had been treated with a fungicide, highly toxic methyl mercury.
The seed grain was shipped to Iraq late in the growing season of 1971 from suppliers in Mexico and the USA. The mercury-treated seed was dyed red as a warming not to eat it, but the Iraqi’s did not know this. In addition, the red dye would wash off, but not the mercury. The bags containing the seeds were labeled in Spanish and English the rural inhabitants of Iraq could not read. The Iraqi’s either did not understand or chose to ignore the skull and crossbones warnings on the bags. The confusion led some to believe it was food, and not seed.
Those who ate the seed suffered muscle paralysis, numbness, loss of vision, and other symptoms typical of mercury poisoning. People were exposed to the mercury when they used the seed in making bread, when they ground the seed and breathed in the dust, and when they fed the seed to animals and then ate the animals. People began to fall ill and die in late 1971 and into 1972. All total it is estimated that at least 650 died from eating or being exposed to the mercury-contaminated seed, but some believe the true number could be ten times that. An estimated 10,000 people suffered permanent brain damage from the mercury.
Guess we can be thankful that the grain wasn't released here in the states, right? I mean, this could never happen here, what with all the testing and government controls. I do have to wonder why this report sounds like all the folks handling this grain and ignoring the "skull and crossbones" were so stupid! Had to be all their fault, right?
That is some scary stuff there, folks! Scary stuff!
Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'm thinking homemade rolls for a snack are in order!