Should We Breathe That?

smog covered landscape with smoke plumes, trees closer

Too often, we do. The soup of industrial emissions, chemicals, agricultural runoff, auto exhaust, pharmaceuticals and other man-made ingredients in our surroundings is all around us. We are literally in that toxic soup full of amazing, hard to pronounce stuff with the power to get on and in us and make changes we did not ask for.

Are you happy with the drug residues and PCBs in the water you shower with? Should you be comfortable with sulfur and nitrogen compounds in the air you breathe? Is it cool Earth viewed from spacethat hormones and toxic byproducts are in the food you eat?  Do you know what chemicals are building up in your blood, organs and tissues?

Kind of tough to escape from all the “stuff” that the billions of other folks and their cars and industries add to our ecosystem and to us. For decades the answer to any kind of toxic or irritating “stuff” in work processes or transportation was this simple rule:

the solution to pollution is dilution”

In other words, if it bothers us here, flush it away into the sewer, the ocean, the landfill or the sky. That worked great for a prehistoric tribe in a big forest, and it was effective for  Edison’s light bulb experiments in the 1870s, but today there are consequences. And yet, our laws, standards, technology and industry still follow that same old “flush it away” rule, so the situation is not getting better any time soon.

What can WE do?


Isolation, A Better Strategy

One approach with better potential than “dilution” is isolation. If we place barriers between the pollution and whatever we want to protect,Girl in a large plastic bubble we aren’t dependent on dilution. By isolating or sequestering toxins or heavy metals we can avoid them without sharing this mess with the rest of the planet. If we isolate our food, our water, our homes and our families from microbes and toxins, we can avoid damage to our health and lifestyle without imposing that damage on our neighbors.

This blog and content on this website focus on effective isolation as a strategy for dealing with a messy world.

We welcome your questions and wisdom, as we showcase ways that isolation can help

Female tech in lab coat works in clear dome glove box

with work, home, health and progress in what we do and how we live. This is not just an interesting option, it is a key survival strategy for twenty-first century living.

From the mess of industrial, automotive, scientific and agricultural pollution to the mess of political and social dysfunction, isolation strategies can offer relief.

Our posts and reference pages here address the potential of isolation methodology for navigating the toxic soup around us. Our mission is to help you to harness the power of isolation for your own good and for all of us.

Please join us as we explore isolation options and methods and look at ways to avoid problems and improve lives.


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10 thoughts on “Surviving the Toxic Soup

  • By fernglow - Reply

    This is really an interesting article on pollution and the various ways of solving it. I have learnt tons of things from this article along alone and the idea of isolation is very new to me! Also, I have never thought of the rule, solution to pollution is dilution and this article really brought a whole new perspective in my life! Will check your other articles out too!

    • By SteveT - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it, Kai. I think it is critical for people today to understand isolation, especially if they care about the environment. Dilution is the way we expect pollution problems to be handled, and we must change that. I hope we hear more from you.

  • By arlene - Reply

    It is however a very good option to isolate ourselves from these harmful elements that humans have been caused to this planet – I never encountered a topic such this and it is quite hard to share an opinion – interstingly it catches me to read the page which is very related to scientifiic method…If this is a readiness for a predictable/unpredictable catastrope might happen and it is true we never know from time to time how are we gonna defend ourselves from all of these political mess and industrial malfunctions which poisons every seconds of our air we breathe … and even so some group of people are now getting themselves isolated from building those bunkers for preparedness for some reasons preserving a type of food that will lasts for 25years or more; but by learning what and how purge method can helps us understand to saves us in an unpredictable situations this content is undeniably brillant …

    • By SteveT - Reply

      Thanks for wading into the conversation, Arlene. I’m glad the article touched a nerve. The whole idea is that we are better off if we are fully aware of the toxic, infectious and negative stuff around us, and what our options are to protect ourselves. I hope we helped, and I hope you join the conversation again.

  • By Jessica - Reply

    Hi Steve,

    This is very interesting for me. I grew up in the mountain valleys of Alaska in the middle of the largest National Park in the country. We had LOTS of open space and probably the cleanest air and water you can get. Our water came from a spring right out of the ground. No other people or industries around, no chlorine, fluoride, PCBs, or pesticides. We could have bad air but only if we caused it ourselves from wood smoke, or exhaust from small engines. My Dad built a solar and wind power system so it was mostly clean.

    When I moved into the city I didn’t pay too much attention at first but in the last few years I realized that even here in Alaska, being in largest city in the state and within a mile of an international airport which is also the busiest cargo airport in the country, our air quality was bad. We could smell the jet fuel sometimes! So even here in the most isolated state in the country we are affected. In smaller cities air inversions make winter air horrible as fumes from cars etc. all get trapped near the ground forming a haze. Even in the most remote parts of Alaska we should not melt snow for water as the snow holds all the air pollutants from around the world including some from industry in Asia! Heavy metals fall out in the cold air even in the Arctic and are bio accumulating up the food chain making wild game contaminated! Our city water here is treated just like any other city and has chlorine, flouride etc. I am pretty sure my thyroid tumors are from the flouride in the city water which I have been drinking for 20 years.

    We recently moved to a smaller community 20 miles away and now have a well so no more city water! Yay! That is a relief. The air is cleaner as well. I will try to stay out of the city from now on and live as far out as possible.

    Your site is a great wake up call for people that are just taking this all for granted because it is all they have ever known! You don’t know how dirty your air is if you have never breathed clean air. You don’t taste the chemicals in the water if you have always had it!

    Are you an affiliate of certain isolation products or sell them?


    • By SteveT - Reply

      Thanks for your outsider/insider perspective on the toxic soup most of us smell and taste always. Your story helps me to better appreciate the geographic range over which our chemicals change the atmosphere and water. I know the soup-pot is the whole world, but an Alaskan perspective really drives that home.

      As for the relationship of Fail-Safe Isolation to products and services, it varies. Most of our sponsors distribute the isolation, privacy and related products and services of others. Our original sponsor, Banthrax Corporation is the manufacturer of isolation glove box products used in health care, Research & Development, Security and several other industries. Other than a couple of Safe-T-Dome units sold to the military, I don’t think any Banthrax products are in Alaska, but there are Safe-T-Dome workstations used across Canada for chemotherapy prep, and some of those may be the closest ones in civilian control. Thanks for asking about our sponsors; they pay the rent!
      Thanks again for joining the conversation, Jessica. Your perspective adds a lot to the discussion of this topic.

      • By Jessica - Reply

        Thanks Steve. I am finishing my Master’s Degree in Ocean and Coastal Studies. It includes many pollution issues and I took a course in Environmental Risk Assessment a few years ago. I prefer the climate, geology, biology and oceanography topics but the pollution issues are terrifying for me and I know they are very, very important.

        I am also very interested in the toxins in our food and effects of pesticides, herbicides and PCBs which we don’t even know are there. Of course most of our food in Alaska is shipped up so we get all the same junk as everyone else. At my home growing up we grew huge organic gardens and greenhouses and I really miss all the fresh produce!

        • By SteveT - Reply

          Now, Jessica I can better understand your appreciation of this topic. Climate, geology, biology, oceanography and pollution issues are totally interdependent. You are clearly among the rare few in a good position to understand that dynamic.
          We are very lucky to have your perspective. I hope our discussion of opportunities for addressing some of the painful problems with the help of an isolation approach will help you find some optimism. We need your positive energy.
          Thanks again.

  • By MoniReneC - Reply

    Great Article on waste, pollution, and potential options for isolating it all. The options for isolation would remain quite good as long as the waste and pollution damage in relation to its area are not too large. For instance, oil spills like the BP spill off the coast of Texas in the Gulf was quite a large waste hazard to contain, or isolate, very easily before damage took place that affected the area, climate, biology, etc..
    Thank you for your article ! – Monique

    • By SteveT - Reply

      Good point, Monique. Big spills are now big news, and we shouldn’t forget them. Still, it is important to keep high profile releases like the BP spill in perspective.

      That spill released nearly 800,000 tons of oil into the gulf, and the cleanup was expensive both in dollars and environmental damage. That said, it was actually possible to contain and isolate most of the oil. If it weren’t spilled, that oil would have made it’s way to refineries, cars, trucks and power plants and We would have turned it into air pollution and water pollution that is nearly impossible to contain.

      You and I each generate over 10 million tons of greenhouse gasses alone, not to mention the sewage, garbage and other waste we produce. We may be greener than most people in North America, but still, between the two of us WE generate over 30 times the amount of carbon pollution than the BP oil spill could have if it were refined and sent to Americans. Instead of getting into our hands it was spilled, scraped up, then mostly isolated in petrochemical waste dumps.

      Isolating spills is expensive, but possible. Isolating Atmospheric and Ocean pollution is not possible using current technology, and spills are a fraction of a percent of the magnitude of THAT problem.

      Thanks for your input, Monique. It is specific observations like yours that move the conversation to the most productive places.

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