Here’s where I’m still a little fuzzy on the whole lead-in-the-water controversy that’s been in the news lately beause of the troubles in the city of Flint, Michigan: Whose genius idea was it to make water pipes out of lead in the first place? I’m no expert on the exact dates, but I’m pretty sure that the smart people have known for at least a few hundred years that lead is poison, isn’t that right? So when the guys who make pipe got the order to crank out a few thousand miles of it to supply the citizens of every city in the U.S. with drinkable water, why would any of them have thought, “Why not make it out of material that is literally poison? What could go wrong?” I’m sure there was a cost savings somewhere in that decision, but honestly, I can’t think of any conclusion more disastrous. Might as well put radium in toothpaste, or make clothes out of asbestos.

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