The Eiffel Tower’s latticed iron is a great many things. Architectural splendor and engineering masterpiece, a poem writ in metal and monument to man’s conquest of the vertical.
Potential food supplement.
Casting aside bothersome notions of efficiency and the fact that iron’s one of Earth’s most abundant elements, the ferrous content of the tower could be seen for its nutritional value. Formed from 7,300 metric tons of puddled iron, the Eiffel Tower would be a spectacular source should it be torn down and pulverized into powder and pills.
Puddled iron, like the type of wrought iron it is, contains a low level of carbon with a purity between 99% and 99.7%. I couldn’t find the precise content used for the Eiffel Tower, so using a safe 99% of 7,300 leaves us with 7,227 metric tons of pure iron. Or, more appropriate to the dietary purpose at hand, 7 trillion, 227 billion milligrams.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance* for iron differs for men and women, but averages 13 mg per person per day. 365 days @ 13 mg totals 4,745 milligrams per person per year.
7,227,000,000,000 mg /4,745 mg = 1,523,076,923
The Eiffel Tower contains enough iron to meet the needs of 1.5 billion people for an entire year, more than enough for the combined populations of Europe and North America.
But what of spinach? How much leafage would yield the same amount of iron? Only through tortured, ass-backwards math was I able to figure it out:
100 grams of spinach contain 2.7 mg of iron (0.0027%)
So I divided the tower's 7.227 trillion milligrams by 2.7 mg to get the number of 100 g units.
7,227,000,000,000 /2.7 = 2,676,666,666,666 units
2,676,666,666,666 x 100 g per unit = 267,666,666,666,600 grams.
That's 267,666,667 metric tons.
1 EIFFEL TOWER = 267.7 MILLION METRIC TONS OF SPINACH
And now, enjoy the wonders of magnetized breakfast cereal (via Sploid):
* as set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences