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The who will pay question is perhaps the key and goes back to Wayne's observation that cost-benefit is hard to judge. I asked my own question in an effort to determine whether there might be sufficient evidence to convince a town or city council to cough up - especially if there was a pay-back, for example, in reduced fertilizer and watering costs for municipal lawns, gardens and playing fields. At issue, of course, is the issue of how serious the perceived threat of low-level lead contamination is - or that of any other heavy metal/pesticide/industrial chemical. In general, Americans seem to believe that they are safe or at least that that which doesn't kill you immediately shouldn't worry you. We may feel sorry for the one kid who gets cancer, but it takes a great deal to move us to giving serious consideration to a cancer cluster or, beyond that, to action. And with lead, the issue isn't so dramatic. After all, what's a few IQ points lost? Measuring the might have been is tricky.
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Dr. D. Michael Shafer
Founder and Director, Warm Heart
On Thu, Sep 24, 2020 at 9:50 PM Nando Breiter <nando@...
I am sure that there are preferred feedstocks, pyrolysis temps, etc. for each contaminate type, but my question is more general. It is really, "Is there any point? Anything to gain?" or would such an exercise be a total waste of money and frivolous?
In practice, I don't think there is a general answer. For projects like this, a large scale producer or promoter will need to find funding. Funds for such projects do not come easily. Those providing them almost certainly must believe there is a point, there is something to gain. In my experience, most people with control over substantial amounts of money in the private sector have a pretty good head on their shoulders and a very good nose for BS, prevarication, or a thinly researched case. So if the project promoters think it may be frivolous, it is very unlikely they will be able to convince financial backers that it is not.
That said, the real world is complex and not easy to understand, but I do not think putting our best effort into understanding it and sharing the slivers of knowledge we gain is frivolous, even when the results are certain to be impartial truths.
So even if the char sorbs only some of a toxin, and does not retain it forever, and "only" one case of cancer in a young child is prevented as a result, and we learn something useful along the way to improve our approach, would that be a total waste of money?