Bloomingcamp Ranch vs the State of California, Part 2

There is a whiff of bullshit and boot polish in the air.

Politics, as opposed to science, does not reward the correction of mistakes, given that correcting a mistake also entails admitting to having made one. Worse, the bigger the mistake, the greater the political urgency of defending it at all costs. novelist Lionel Shriver

Source:“This is not a natural disaster, but a manmade one,” SPECTATOR magazine issue: 16 May 2020

As mentioned in the previous post, the state of California is hassling Bloomingcamp Ranch (See short video here: https://www.modbee.com/news/business/agriculture/article229379199.html) over its water system being higher than the regulated limit on nitrate in the water (They had 23.9 and the limit is 10). The Darrin Polhemus, deputy director of the state water board, claims the state is vigilant about nitrates because they can cause [note the weasel wording] harm to infants with limited exposure. According to the health authorities, nitrates [Na+NO3-] are a cause of “blue baby” syndrome (methemoglobinemia).

I am skeptical of the science that the bureaucrats of Stanislaus county and now the state of California are citing. As Lionel Shriver notes above, politicians are not eager to be proven wrong. As J. D. Tuccille writes here,

You want a society taxed and regulated toward you

r vision of perfection? It’s going to need enforcers. Those enforcers are going to interact on a daily basis with people who don’t share that vision of perfection, and who resent the constant enforcement attempts.

J.D. Tuccille

He adds later, “Government, at its core, is force. The more it does to shape the world around it, the more it needs enforcers to make sure officials’ wills are done.”

Inquisitions were held for the best of intentions. If people disobeyed the rules, society was at risk. Those who disregarded or flaunted society’s rules required punishment.

Pedro Berruguete, Saint Dominic Guzmán presiding over an Auto da fe (c. 1495).[36] Many artistic representations depict torture and burning at the stake during the auto-da-fé (Portuguese for “Act of Faith”).

So the enforcement of the nitrate rule does not need to make sense for the enforcers. Their job is to enforce the rule. What about the worry of nitrates causing “Blue baby syndrome” (methemoglobinemia)? Tht is not as clear cut as the enforcers wish you to believe.

I’ll end with a bit of the science. I’d like to write more but this seems to be about right.

Methemoglobinemia is believed to be caused by bacteria in the mouth and gut converting nitrate into nitrite. Nitrite then reacts with hemoglobin to produce methemoglobin, which can no longer carry oxygen. (Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 90, Issue 1, July 2009, Pages 11–12)

To be continued…

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