Mercy Mercy Me


Recently, I had my six month dental visit. I do not have an aversion to the dentist, thanks to my mom locating a gentle pediatric dentist during my childhood.   Sadly, my mom did have horrifying childhood dental experiences including extractions without the benefit of Novocain. Thank heavens, I only learned of her tragic visits well into my adulthood, otherwise I might have had a different outlook or experience.

As an adult, I have encountered some dentist who I wondered were undercover sadist. Still over all my experiences have been positive. Today’s visit there was evidence of me rushing in the mornings in the form of some tartar build up but happily, I am cavity free. However, there was something completely unexpected, little blue speck found by my keen eyed dental hygienist.

Micro BeadThe unexpected blue speck was evidence that I used Crest Pro-Health. It turns out that my hygienist had heard what she thought was an urban legend regarding the little blue specks on patients teeth. No bigger than a grain of sand, the specks are plastic micro beads, most likely included to assist with stain removal.

Unbeknownst to me I was exfoliating my teeth! I expect that mint might be in my toothpaste and other edible additives but not bits of plastic equivalent to micro beads contained in my facial wash. After getting over my surprise, I must say I am angry. Angry that hidden in labeling is this ingredient that I believe should not be in toothpaste nor mouthwash.

Earlier this summer, I heard a story via regarding Illinois banning the manufacture and sells of products containing micro beads.  This was due in large part to the increase of micro beads in the Great Lakes that are becoming part of Illinoisan’s tap water.  The story was interesting and I loving this planet became very concerned. Today’s dental visit was an additional wake up call to the impact of vanity on the ecology. No matter what we think teeth whiting or skin exfoliation is a form of vanity. Basic dental hygiene and cleanliness doesn’t require ecologically dangerous ingredients in order to be effective.

My favorite album of all time is Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” released in 1971; and one of my favorite songs from the album is “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)”*. The lyrics are as follows:

Woo ah, mercy mercy me
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Where did all the blue skies go?

Poison is in the wind that blows
From the north and south and east

Woo, mercy, mercy me, mercy

Ah, things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Oil washed on the ocean and upon our sees
Fish full of mercury

Ah, oh mercy, mercy me
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Radiation underground and the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land

How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Oh, na na
My sweet Lord, no, no, no, na na

My lord, my sweet Lord.

Songwriter: Marvin P. Gaye
Publisher: Lyrics (c) EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

Sadly the conditions listed in Marvin Gaye’s song are still present over 40 years later. During the late 1980’s it began to be evident that the ozone was being depleted with the increased use of aerosols. We also see and feel the impacts of climate change with unstable weather patterns and increase in severe weather like tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes.  Looking to the future with the advancement of technology the ecological system will continue to be negatively impacted.

Planet Earth is speaking to us and letting us know that a change is mandatory. We have to work together as a nation and planet to stop the impact of industrial and technological growth that’s occurred over the last 150 years. Finally, I am not against progress but humankind must be kinder to the planet.

What is your opinion on what we can each do to reduce negative impacts on the ecology?

Sources: and


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