Human knowledge of the impacts of chemical use is constantly evolving. The impacts of some chemicals are often not broadly known until years later, and constant appraisal and monitoring must be a part of our use of chemicals in order to ensure safety. Hence, the importance of proper usage of your chemical spill kit.
One of the more remarkable cases of this scientific rigour creating public awareness, and cementing some public good, occurred when gasoline refineries began adding lead to their end product. It was used to provide a good anti-knock agent to the cars of the purchasers, and as an octane booster, allowing for higher compression. However, a growing body of research, championed by Clair Cameron Patterson, began to compile research that this additive was creating a serious public health hazard. While this was not popular knowledge at the time, with the auto industry lobbying hard against his efforts, the additive was eventually proven to be neurotoxic, causing learning disabilities and cognitive problems for much of a generation.
Prior to such knowledge, chemical spill kits were not nearly as ubiquitous around workplaces in the western world. The impacts of our treatment of the natural world was not as widely know as it is now, and it continues to evolve as our body of knowledge grows wider. New discoveries are being made each year, and coping methods are being developed, to allow us to live longer, happier lives. In the meantime, chemical spill kits can ensure we don’t unknowingly pass a poor legacy down to our children.