From filling soda bottles to sizing breast implants, the metric system has had a quiet presence in America. Are you unknowingly already metric?

When it comes to the metric system and its discombobulated use in the United States, one would be safe to describe the overall situation as a bit of a hot mess. How hot? Well, that might be measured in degrees fahrenheit, at least by the average American looking at their household thermometer. If the heat in question was being analyzed in an American lab, you’d see degrees celsius as the temperature gauge of choice. And if the mess itself could be physically weighed, you’d see it in kilograms, not pounds.

The metric system has made its mark in America, but it’s one that largely goes unnoticed or is simply ignored. The Food and Drug Administration requires all information labels on products that fall under its jurisdiction have both Imperial and metric units. Basically, that means anytime you walk through a grocery story or pharmacy in the United States you’re surrounded by the metric system. As soon as you hit the road, you’re back to miles. Unless you happen to be in Arizona, where you can find the “Metric Highway” that is measured in kilometers. Will America ever ‘officially’ be metric? Probably not. But it’s a system that is widely in use, but just in a rather discreet way.

Story by Jay Moon