retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

It always worth noting when things that we’ve always counted on as being part of our daily lives - even if we didn’t think about them very much - become obsolete.

The latest example...the Baltimore Sun reports that “the still-common mercury thermometer appears headed for extinction.

“While many people probably have them in their medicine cabinets, or on their walls, the retail sale of mercury thermometers has been banned or restricted in at least 18 states ... with more such legislation pending, according to the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse.

“Mercury thermometers also are on their way out in a wide variety of industries, along with a long list of other measuring devices, thermostats and switches that rely on mercury components.”

It isn’t like the mercury thermometer hasn’t had a good run; it was invented in 1714 by - go figure! - Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit.

And now, the Sun goes on, “the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in Gaithersburg, Md., no longer will provide calibration services for manufacturers and users of mercury-in-glass thermometers — a critical service it had provided to American industry since 1901.”

The reason: “Exposure to high levels of metallic mercury vapors can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys and a developing fetus. Brain damage can result in irritability, behavioral changes, tremors, changes in vision, hearing and memory problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

Wait a minute. Did they say that mercury can cause brain damage, irritability, behavioral changes, tremors, changes in vision, hearing and memory problems?

This explains something. Because yesterday, Charlie Sheen told Piers Morgan on CNN that his situation has created “a tsunami of media and I've been riding it on a mercury surfboard.”

Coincidence? I think not.

So this story becomes an Eye-Opener on a whole variety of levels.
KC's View: