Johann Hari in Slate:
Every day, you handle the deadliest substance on earth. It is a weapon of mass destruction festering beneath your fingernails. In the past 10 years, it has killed more people than all the wars since Adolf Hitler rolled into one; in the next four hours, it will kill the equivalent of two jumbo jets full of kids. It is not anthrax or plutonium or uranium. Its name is shit—and we are in the middle of a shit storm. In the West, our ways of discreetly whisking this weapon away are in danger of breaking down, and one-quarter of humanity hasn’t ever used a functioning toilet yet.
The story of civilization has been the story of separating you from your waste. British investigative journalist Rose George’s stunning—and nauseating—new book opens by explaining that a single gram of feces can contain “ten million viruses, one million bacteria, one thousand parasite cysts, and one hundred worm eggs.” Accidentally ingesting this cocktail causes 80 percent of all the sickness on earth.