It is terrible that in this day of modern safety equipment and regulation, these practices continue. We have the science to understand the problems. We have regulations, both domestic and international, to stop these practices. Still, thousands of miners each year come down with Green Lung.
You may be familiar with the Black Lung that afflicted miners in the coalmines of earlier centuries. The workers breathed the coal dust for long hours, gradually filling their lungs with the stuff. Green Lung is similar, though from mining a different material. These miners are digging up the powder that will become gelatin deserts.
Many people don't think about where their favorite gelatin deserts originate. They know that they get a powder, add water, and the solution hardens. This is similar to the process for cement, just not as hard. To make this wonder food, manufacturers dig the material out of the ground, like cement, and pulverize it into a fine powder. The factories then add colorings and flavorings and ship it off to the grocer.
Most of the gelatin powder is light grey in color. One variety is mostly green, and this saves money because the manufacturer does not have to add any color to it. This material easily takes the lime flavoring, the most common used for green, and that saves money too.
Many of the green mines are located in Africa and South East Asia, where worker protections are lax. To keep costs even lower, many less-reputable mining outfits cut corners and take safety shortcuts wherever they can. To make matters worse, green phlegm is not as noticeable as black phlegm, so the workers don't even realize they are getting sick.
You can help. Contact your legislators and demand action to protect the workers. Buy your gelatin only from reputable companies that assure miner safety. When possible, use synthetic gelatin made chemically, not mined out of Mother Earth. If we all pull together, we may be able to end the scourge of Green Lung.
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