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  • Writer's pictureFiona McNeill

Why You Should Listen to Annoying Experts

Several years ago, I needed a small and complicated piece of shielding made for a radioactive source. I was hoping to have it cast out of lead. I went to our lab technician and explained what I wanted.

He immediately told me he couldn't do it. I was confused. He had made others for me before.

He explained that new health and safety regulations meant he couldn't melt or cast lead anymore, because lead was apparently bad for people. There wasn't much I could say. I was one of the scientists whose research showed lead was bad for people.

Coward that I am, I stood silently nodding my head in agreement as he talked about annoying rules from bloody experts.

Sometimes the outcome of science is advice that is frustrating, costly or uncomfortable: exercise more, cut out sugar, remove lead from gasoline, wear a mask. However, researchers don't do this to be annoying. I and my colleagues in science are sincere in our desire to help people. I am very proud that I have contributed to our better health by investigating long term lead exposure.

I am especially proud of my work on the health consequences of lead on women. Women’s health issues are often ignored and I saw this was the case with lead. You can read more on this subject on the website. A page has been added which explains what happens when women are exposed to lead.

I have had to live with the frustrating consequences of my own research. I would not have it any other way. It protected our technician’s health. Please follow the advice agreed upon by the scientific community. Even if we are really annoying.

You can find a new page called Lead & Women's Health on the website under the menu tab 'The Science'

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