Rio Olympic official on green pools: ‘Chemistry is not an exact science’

So far, nobody has died from the contaminated waters hosting Olympic events in Rio, but at least one athlete has fallen seriously ill.  A few hundred million people, including me, have now scratched off from our bucket lists the idea of bathing at Copacabana now that we know that feces, animal carcasses, and garbage would be our companions in the Bay.  I have to wonder if the anticipated payoff for Brazilian tourism from hosting the Olympics will ever develop now that the world understands the shortcomings of Brazilian public sanitation.

Faced with this kind of embarrassment, officials are hastening to cover their posteriors, resulting in comic relief.  At Legal Insurrection, Leslie Eastman reports that the green swimming pool water (that also smells like farts – imagine diving into that!) has elicited a comical excuse from a spokesman for the Rio local organizing committee:

 Mario Andrada, chief spokesman for the local organizing committee, stressed that the pool was safe for competition, clearing the way for the preliminaries of women’s 3-meter springboard.

He conceded that some athletes had been bothered by the water, but said that was a result of efforts to clean the pool.

“We reiterate what we have been saying all along — the water does not offer any threat to the health of the athletes,” he said. “In the first day of this water situation, one or two athletes complained about their eyes being itchy. This was a result that the first reaction when we saw the water turning green was to use one of the chemicals — chlorine — that is very common in swimming pools. We reduced immediately the quantity. We retested the water and it was totally within the parameters.”

Andrada said officials were caught off guard by the pool’s deteriorating condition.

“Chemistry is not an exact science,” he said. “Some things, as you can see, went longer than expected.”

Eastman’s response is priceless:

As a chemist, I assert that when properly done, chemistry is an exact science. But, I digress.

Which led to this comment from a reader:

Comment; “As a chemist, I assert that when properly done, chemistry is an exact science. But, I digress.”

But that’s evil, imperialist First World chemistry, Ms. Eastman. Third World chemistry is more inclusive and open to different results.

Eastman's reply:

ROFL! I guess I am suffering from scientific privilege.

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