Monday, November 19, 2007

Bombs in the Bakery

The so-called "War on Terror" has created such a level of paranoia that just about any action now can be seen as a terrorist plot by the suspicious-minded.

A news report from The Philippines headed "Sacks of explosive chemicals seized at Manila port" announces that Philippine authorities have seized 120 sacks of sodium bicarbonate. This chemical, says the report, "is used in the manufacture of pyrotechnics and explosives".

Maybe so; but sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is a common household chemical available from any supermarket or pharmacy. It is used as a raising agent in baking, for other culinary applications, in medicine (to treat acid indigestion, for example), in toothpaste, as a deodoriser, and as a cleansing agent.

If every common substance is going to be treated as a danger, why not stop people refuelling their cars in case they use the petrol to make Molotov cocktails?

1 comment:

Manila said...

Living in the Philippines, I feel obliged to say that a lot of things do have a habit of blowing up here. About a month ago it was a shopping mall. This was at first blamed on terrorists, then on the Government, then, finally, on a build up of methane gas due to a fault in the system dealing with waste from the lavatories. No one has yet suggested that terrorists (or indeed the government) blocked the system on purpose, but anyone arriving at Manila airport with a full bladder or bowels should expect to be detained.

Love the blog, by the way.