Friday, May 29, 2009

part of a carcinogenic Hansel and Gretel Story

Over the last month, upon arriving at work early, I have found the steps to our fifth floor office awash in cigarette butts.  In comparing notes with a coworker, he used the phrase in the title to describe the scene.

The New York Times has an article about the toxicity of cigarette butts. An excerpt:

For many environmentalists, the problem is not just the litter, but the toxicity. Thomas Novotny, a professor of global health at San Diego State University who supports the San Francisco proposal and beach bans elsewhere, said recent experiments had shown that one butt has enough poisons to kill half the minnows in a liter of water — a standard laboratory test for toxins — in 96 hours.

“Butts are full of poisonous substances, including nicotine, which is a pesticide,” Professor Novotny said.

Part of the article describes butts at the beach.  In my youth, after feeding gulls bits from a slice of bread, I would switch to butts found in the sand to trick them for another ten minutes or so.  Clearly, the problem isn't a new one.

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