NOTE: Thanks to our loyal commenter and now contributor Linda1 for this unique take on the autism epidemic.
Once upon a time in America, houses did not have indoor plumbing. Later, when plumbing was installed into homes, early pipes were not reliable and often would leak and need replacing. As the manufacturing process improved, so did pipe reliability and leaking was no longer a big problem. Americans were dry and enjoyed a good clean water supply for several decades.
Then one day, a plumber got the idea that if he could put a few microscopic holes in pipes, that those holes would prevent bigger holes from forming and would not only make those pipes last longer, but would also protect homes from flooding. He said it would work because of physics, which he explained was too complicated for the non plumber to understand. Some people remembered the leaking of the older type pipes and thought it was a good idea to have this protection from leaks and flooding. Now, there weren't really too many plumbers in those days. But that was about to change.
The American Academy of Plumbers (AAP) grabbed ahold of this idea and met with government officials. The officials were impressed and saw an opportunity to form lucrative partnerships. They didn't understand the physics, but they accepted the plumbers' explanation because they were the experts. Some master plumbers (MPs) were assigned to high level positions in the American government so that they could oversee this new partnership and make sure that homes across America and even the world would be protected from flooding by this new technological advancement. Called the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention (CDC for short), these top experts advised government and world leaders about the best way to prevent and treat pipe problems. The CDC had a lot of power and dictated to all the plumbers in the land how to do their job. The AAP went along with whatever decision the CDC made. A special committee made up of plumbing industry insiders was formed. The Advisory Committee on Interventional Pipeholing (ACIP) was tasked with ongoing evaluation and recommendations for the new Pipeholing Program.
It wasn't long before the government and the AAP went into production to manufacture all the necessary special drills and drill bits that would be needed to drill microscopic flood preventative holes in every pipe in every home across America. The equipment was expensive to produce, especially since the special drill bits had to be discarded after only one use. But these partners calculated that the money saved by preventing floods would be far greater than the millions spent on the Program. It was a good investment, they thought. They also knew that they would be able to sell the pipeholing treatments to Americans and planned to export the special drills and bits to all other countries. To guarantee the success of their scheme, they declared that untreated homes would devastate the country's economy, that pipeholing was a matter of national security, and that no pipehole preventable floods should be tolerated in a scientifically and ethically advanced society. They passed laws to make the service mandatory. No one could refuse.
At first, the plumbing treatment seemed to work. With one treatment, most people didn't notice anything wrong, at least not for a while (the holes were microscopic and the pipes were behind walls). But some people noticed that their pipes leaked right away. These people reported leaking to their plumbers and the plumbers almost never admitted that the treatment caused the leaking. They would say that the pipes leaked after treatment because the house was defective, that the pipes would have leaked anyway and that temporal association with pipeholing treatments was coincidental. Many people were ignored when they complained to the AAP and the CDC. The experts insisted that the pipeholing program was backed by solid indisputable science.
Hearing about all the leaking that was now occurring, the AAP, CDC and ACIP got together and declared that one treatment was not enough. They issued a proclamation stating that the occurrence of leaky pipes required more frequent drilling. They added more treatments to the plumbers' pipeholing schedule - every 2 to 3 months holes were to be drilled in all the pipes in homes across America. Now, friends, you can just imagine what happened next.
Houses started to really smell damp. Mold started to grow. Not all at the same rate. It depended on the size of the house, the location of the pipes and what kind of pipes people started out with (some types tolerated the drilling better than others), the climate that the home was located in, the skill of the plumber in using the special drill, and also, importantly, the more treatments a person's plumbing had, the more there seemed to be a swampy, damp, feel to the home. Some of the bits might have been defective and made bigger holes than others, too. It's a mystery because a proper investigation was never done. People called their plumbers to come fix this new problem that people never experienced before, at least not on this scale, at this rate, in America. That's when things got really bizarre.