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There is a fear of nerve gas and mustard gas endemic in the local population that should be set straight.

Poisons are a common, everyday thing. The food we eat generally has some poisons in it. They are generally present in harmless amounts but in special circumstances can cause a belly ache or worse.The commercial pesticides are quite like the natural ones in how poisonous they are to man, and about the same proportion of them are found to be carcinogenic in unrealistically high doses.

The effect of a poison depends on the dose. Most of the complaints and concern about contamination of the atmosphere with nerve agent and mustard gas and food with pesticides and chemical additives is of contaminations at levels that have no effect on man.

Dugway has released hundreds of pounds, perhaps even tons, of nerve gas into the air in its tests. The bomb burst had to be close in to the goats to kill them. The nerve gas diminished to undetectable a few hundred yards downwind. The release of nerve gas in a Japanese subway had no effect in the suburbs of the city. Safety at Tooele is a matter of the safety of the workers at the plant.

In developing war gases, the war department has simply improved on nature a little. There are nerve agents in nature and materials with the same effect as mustard gas. Poisons in low dosage are innocuous. In dealing with poisonous contaminants in the air, we should beware of the tyranny of words.

Volney Wallace