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about dioxin, heart disease, exercise, diet, cigerettes and few beers.

updated sat 21 oct 00


Jim Sydnor on fri 20 oct 00

First I would like to say that I am just writing this because I find the =
health concerns of many potters very interesting. I have worked all may =
adult political life for environmental concerns, so I am not ignorant of =
these types of concerns, nor do I just blow them off.

What I do find interesting is that so many potters seem to be so =
concerned about all these different contaminants or potential =
contaminates in the studios around them. Don't get me wrong I think we =
should take every precaution we can to avoid contamination from =
avoidable environmental source contaminates (gloves, masks, recipes =
changes if necessary, replacement of chemicals if needed), but I am not =
sure we can avoid everything and not live a fear driven life.

I believe I am correct in assuming that many more people in this country =
die from stroke and heart disease than die from dioxin contamination (I =
realize the more you increase you exposure the more damage you may be =
doing but I am trying to make a point). Yet I see a lot of potters that =
are over weight, eat terribly, have 2 pots of coffee in the morning and =
a couple of beers at night to take the edge off of the coffee. I can't =
tell you how many potters I know that have back trouble and still throw =
sitting down because they don't have the time to get use to the new =
posture (me included and my wife is an Occupational therapist). Some of =
my first visions of potters (besides them sitting at the wheel) is =
lighting their cigarette or cigar off the flame coming from the spy =
hole. I know potters who's only form of exercise is wedging clay scraps =
and lifting kiln shelves.=20

To sum up this rather ridiculous tirade, I just find it interesting that =
potters (actually humans) will often focus on fighting the most =
difficult battles that will maybe effect them in the long run, but will =
avoid attending to the most pressing issues. We sometimes ignore our =
most immediate health needs, our backs, our hands, our eyes, our lungs, =
our hearts, to focus on something that is mystical and fear full. We =
understand what not eating right and exercising will do, we have no real =
perception of what dioxin will do (just what it might do). Sometimes I =
wonder do many of us ignore the pressing health issues by focusing on =
the abstract (I realize dioxin is a real health issue, but I am more =
than positive that more potters will die from poor eating habits and =
lack of exercise this year than will die from dioxin).=20

All professions have their inherent dangers. My wife is in the medical =
field, between disease laden needles, her tremendous driving time, =
exposure to airborne disease, exposure to poorly ventilated hospital =
air, she is surely a goner.=20

Maybe what we need to do first is focus on our health, so that these =
contaminates may have less of an effect on us, so that we are more able =
to fight of and repair damages. Maybe we should be proactive in our =

By the way with all this being said I appreciate the information on =
dioxin. I will certainly take all the precautions I can. I would also be =
glad to help with any political action that we may feel needs to be =
taken, I just can't lead right now. I am to busy learning to throw =
standing up, I have to go jogging this afternoon, I am throwing out all =
the beer from the fridge and I have a terrible caffeine head ache.

Jim Sydnor