There are two kettles at work, one is plastic and the other stainless steel. Given the choice I would rather drink water from the latter...
My CHE reasoning on this issue goes something like this:
1) There are no claims or evidence that boiling pure water in stainless steel leeches anything into to that water. (Stainless steel has been around over a hundred years, ergo, we should probably know the truth of 1 by now. (Boiling acidic foods in stainless steel might have metals leaching in, as I understand it.)
2) There are claims and evidence that plastics leach into water, especially hot water.
3) I would like to reduce the amount of plastics I drink.
4) Therefore, ideally, I should choose stainless steel kettles over plastic kettles.
This, to me, seems obvious, sound and valid. It is a simple principle of CHE reasoning and one that I rationally apply to my life.
But where do I draw the line?
Q:”I have an awesome nylon spork that I got for Christmas, should I use it?”
A: “Yes I should, and do. Though not every meal, for ergonomic rather than material reasons.”
Q: ”Should I be worried about the scented loom bands that my kids are constantly playing with?
A: “Yes I should, they are now in the Das Ist Verboten cupboard, along with caustic soda and plasma grenades.”
Q: “Should I get into a tizzy-wizzy if I find that last night, whilst tipsy, I sipped from a plastic beaker that may contain unregulated and untested chemicals made by Chinese industrial slaves?”
A: “I just don’t know! Whose house is this?“
These kinds of dichotomies between risk and utility are quite common in my life, outwardly they might seem paranoid and kookie, but to me they are just prudent exercises in wellbeing optimisation, MMH. But, rather than get bogged down in investigating these things continuously I just take a reasonable shortcut and, as a general principle, I try to personally avoid internalising unnatural things.
The reasoning goes a little something like this:
Consider a new molecule that has been out a few years, new enough not to be able to conclude on its long term human and environmental potentials (This molecule could be anything that gets used in our environment, products, food, etc).
I think with CHI that there are three possibilities I need to consider if interested in my wellbeing:
1) The new molecule will positivise me if internalised. (By “positivise” I mean bring about an enhanced state of health, focus, energy, lifespan, appearance, driving skills or any other positive contribution to one’s wellbeing at some point in the future from the point(s) of internalisation.) (By “internalised” I mean to be taken from outside me to inside me, via eating, drinking, breathing, absorbing and even the “No doctor no!” route of entry into yours truly.)
2) The new molecule will negitavise if internalised.
3 The new molecule is biologically inert to to me at all concentrations. (I say all “concentrations” because if some new molecule is damaging at 100 parts then, even if it seemed safe at 1 part, then, call me “old fashioned”, but I would rather not have 1 part. (This is one of the many reasons I would rather not have saccharine and aspartame.... ))
But how can I apply CHE to a new molecule when there isn’t going to be the evidence (Is Reddit classed as peer review?) available in order to make the decision? The answer, I think, is to look at past examples and see where they come out on the above three possibilities and then hedge my prudence with going with that as the most probable and plausible. One cannot expect certainty.
What I have found in my long years of such investigations (I really do find it fun!) is that, overwhelmingly, 1 and 3 are not realistic probabilities, whereas 2, generally, is well evidenced; it does seem that if x is a new chemical in our lives then x is very probably going to do more harm than good. This is not scaremongering, woo or just being neggy, ‘most anyone would come to that conclusion in a short amount of home investigating time.
Life is short. Risk is everywhere. These two nobrainers that have a tension between them that can either be ignored or confronted. In my opinion, when confronted with reason and prudence the reward is good, balance can be achieved. Sporks can be used. I could get run over by a bus tomorrow, and if I do I would rather leave no BPA on the tarmac. Steel kettle on. High-5!