BBC World Service

Calcium: Not so good in high doses

Justin Rowlatt Mar 5, 2014
HTML EMBED:
COPY
BBC World Service

Calcium: Not so good in high doses

Justin Rowlatt Mar 5, 2014
HTML EMBED:
COPY

There are basically two ways to look at the economy – macro-economically and micro-economically. The BBC has taken that one step further – they’re looking at the economy micro-scopically, if you will.

The series is called “Elementary Business” and the element du jour is calcium. And while you’re probably familiar with why you need calcium to keep your body healthy, you might not be familiar with what a vital role it plays in building modern life.

“We use it for the most widely used man-made material on earth and in fact, this material is second only to water in terms of its use by man” says the BBC’s Justin Rowlatt. He’s talking about concrete.

Calcium is the base of cement – cement is used to hold the aggregates of sand together to make concrete.

Rowlatt finds this a bit bizarre because if you think about calcium as this “key structural material in nature, we’ve found uses for to be the key structural uses of mankind as well.”

But there’s a downside to the widespread use of concrete and therefore calcium. Calcium comes from limestone – the limestone is heated in a kilm which releases carbon dioxide into the environment. “When you learn how much cement we produce…you realize the scale of this in terms of a pollutant.”

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.