What really happens if you swallow chewing gum? Will it wind round your heart, block your bowel or lurk in your intestines for seven years? Little wonder that chewing gum (which is harmless but indigestible) is rarely swallowed, but disposed of as people see fit, often meaning it is simply dropped on the floor.
In fact chewing gum has always been a contentious subject, some parents allow their children to chew it when they reach a certain age, others always forbid it, schools ban it, so it is chewed secretly and disposed of surreptitiously under desks or tables or just spat on the floor, only to become attached to someones clothing or shoes and causing much anguish.
In the USA President Obama has been criticised for chewing gum during the G8 and G20 conferences, lets hope he didnt stick it under the table or even on the bedpost afterwards!
More close to home, chewing gum has been in the news recently, thanks to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. He stated that it costs £10 million to clear the streets of London every year, between 50p to £2 per piece of gum! Wanting to rid the streets of chewing gum litter in time for the Olympic Games, he recently arranged a chewing gum summit meeting with representatives from organisations like Wrigley, Cadbury, Keep Britain Tidy and the Chewing Gum Action Group. It was even attended by Anna Bullus, a designer who invented Gumdrop bins made from recycled gum to collect used chewing gum.
One company who could have made an interesting contribution to the discussion is Ronacrete, the producer of a product which could potentially have saved some of the £10 million pounds.
Ronacrete, a manufacturer of materials for the construction industry produce RonaStreet Eaze by Gum a revolutionary water based solution, designed to aid the resistance of surfaces to chewing gum by making it stick less, so it is easier and quicker to remove. Surfaces treated with RonaStreet Eaze by Gum actually resist the stickiness of chewed chewing gum and can reduce the amount that sticks to pavements and other surfaces. This makes gum removal quicker, easier and less expensive.
Eaze by Gum can be applied to concrete, brick paving, stone, terracotta, tiles and granite. It is therefore ideal for use in town centres, shopping centres, bus and train stations and depots, airports, cinemas, offices, and petrol forecourts.
So while it has to be a good thing to encourage people to dispose of chewing gum responsibly, there is little incentive to keep clean a pavement already covered in the unsightly black patches and it is all too easy to drop a piece of chewing gum on the floor and not be seen.
So after having the streets of London freed of gum the long and laborious way, it may be worth Mr Johnsons and his team considering reducing the next £10 million pounds worth of cleaning by applying a coating of Eaze by Gum, making the cleaning quicker (and therefore cheaper) next time round.
Of course he could follow Singapores lead and try banning chewing gum altogether, but after the ban on smoking in public places, many people would think that was a step too far, particularly ex-smokers chewing nicotine gum. It certainly wouldnt receive President Obamas approval!