Alright students, class is in session and Professor NADS Blogman has taken the podium, so let’s begin. Today, we're going to talk about the reasons behind the introduction and increased prevalence of toxic chemicals in our environment. By the end of this, you should have a solid understanding of how our world came to be so riddled with these BS substances.
You’ve probably figured out by now: we’re trying to sell you something.
Duh. We sell underwear.
We’re a business, and we sell a product.
And that makes us capitalists.
All businesses are capitalist in nature. They produce products–ideally ones that increase the quality of your life–and then market those products to you at a price. The goal is to develop the economic system of our country, as well as to enrich the individual consumer’s life, creating an infinite feedback loop. But somewhere amidst the development of industry and capitalism in the Western world of the 20th century, a large swath of companies lost sight of that fundamental symbiotic ethic. And humanity suffered because of it.
It was the conflict between profit and quality that characterized the transition from organic to non-organic products. This shift resulted in the widespread use of synthetic chemical compounds in everyday items, ranging from food storage to clothing. Regrettably, the majority of companies prioritized profit over all else, choosing to maximize their earnings at the cost of human well-being in the competitive landscape of capitalism. Not to toot our own horn or anything, but the difference with NADS, and other companies like us, is that we believe in our product and we have proof that our product is going to help YOU live a better life, but I digress.
Let’s trace a couple key developments in this shift over the last century.
Humanity at large has always been interested in the processing and manufacturing of new chemical compounds. This timeline shows that such efforts of our species go back to at least 4,000 BC, and steadily develop all the way up to the modern age. It was during the wartime industrial demands of 1940s as well as the post-war industrial and economic boom that things really started to ramp up and launch us to the dire straits we find ourselves in today.
Let’s start with agriculture: there’s a chemical compound that you’ve never heard of (we hadn’t either until recently) called “dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane,” or DDT. While it was first synthesized in the 1800s, DDT was discovered in 1939 to have properties that would make it an effective pesticide. It was mass-produced during WWII because it eliminated insect vectors for typhus, malaria, and dengue fever. By 1945 it was used in worldwide agricultural operations, but in the 1950s it was discovered that the insects it was effective against were beginning to develop a resistance. Said resistance, paired with an emerging environmentalism movement in the 1960s, which shed light on the detrimental impacts of pesticides on the environment, contributed to the gradual decline of pesticide usage by the 1980s.
But as you know, once opened, Pandora’s box can’t be closed.
The inherent nature of a capitalist system is to maximize profits across all sectors of society, and pesticide use proved massively advantageous in that goal. The use of DDT may have declined, but numerous other pesticidal agents were continuously introduced into agricultural operations, leading to an agricultural system marked by widespread pollution via pesticides and fertilizers as well as little to no cycling of soil nutrients, increasing the reliance on fertilizers. Crops continued to develop resistance to these pesticides over time, exacerbating the issue. In the words of Ian Malcolm: “Life finds a way”.
The so-called “solution” (i.e. the method by which profit can be maintained at its current high levels) to crop-pesticide resistance actually led to the creation of an entirely new problem: GMOs, (genetically modified organisms.) Initially introduced in the 1990s, genetically modified crops were regarded as the future of agricultural profit-keeping because altering the genetic makeup of plants can help decrease crop loss. But research continues to highlight the harmful effects GMOs can have on the human body. Ultimately, the widespread use of GMOs leaves our children, and children’s children, to learn first hand their impact on the body. If you ask us, that doesn’t sound very responsible, at all.
Agriculture isn’t the only industry to get the short-end of the stick when it comes to safety and human longevity. Polyester resins were also first introduced in the WWII-era, and over the next couple of decades polyester gave cotton a run for its money because of its affordability and durability. It was only much later that the catastrophic damage that polyester wrecks on the male reproductive system came to light. You know how we feel about native polyester by now. And this is in addition to the greater capitalistic push to maximize profits in the fashion industry at large, which is responsible for a host of maladies that affect both the natural environment and the laborers who work in the apparel manufacturing process.
We’ve definitely started to feel the effects of these harmful substances in our environment–just look at declining testosterone levels, the unprecedented rise of various cancers, and more. While we in America have only relatively recently become aware of the disasters caused by utilizing chemical substances to drive capitalist profit, it’s the undeveloped world and the marginalized communities residing close to industrial zones that have suffered through these and other maladies (such as widespread effects on reproductive health) for the better part of a century.
At the end of the day, there is a link between higher levels of economic stability of a nation and that nation’s greater focus on conservation. Fortunately, these maladies have led to greater conservation efforts in the Western world to combat the degradation of the natural environment, and thus, the disaster said degradation brings to the individual human body (silver lining.) It’s hard to think about the amount of suffering endured in order for us to finally take action.
To summarize; the increase of industrialization surrounding WWII is a major culprit for the sudden saturation of toxic chemicals in our everyday environment.
We think that it’s high-time to restore some balance to our manufacturing processes and focus less on driving insane profits and more on health, well-being, and most importantly, longevity–for both ourselves and our future generations.
Class dismissed, NADS blogman, signing off.