One of the axioms of science is that if you look hard enough, eventually you will find a bacteria that will eat almost anything.

We mention this point because of the news this week out of San Diego, Calif., where a firm called Bioremediation Inc. is said to be making exciting progress toward isolating a germ able to eat up everything from spilled oil to toxic chemicals and even radioactive waste.An encouraging breakthrough? Maybe. But it isn't too soon for science to start grappling with some possible implications of the research in San Diego.

For openers, how does one deal with proliferating colonies of a bug that can thrive on poisonous junk? By developing still another bug that eats the junk-eating bug? Fine. But then how does one deal with a bug tough enough to overpower the first one? Then how does one deal with still another bug tough enough to overpower the second one? Then how does one . . . Well, you get the idea.

Always keep in mind that the solution to one problem often breeds a whole new set of problems. Science marches on. But sometimes it just marches in circles.