"We all feel a profound connection with the natural world. E O Wilson called this sensation biophilia: ‘the urge to affiliate with other forms of life’. That sense of connection brings great emotional satisfaction. It can decrease levels of anger, anxiety and pain. It has undoubtedly helped our species to survive, since we are fundamentally dependent on our surrounding environment and ecosystem. But lately biophilia has spawned an extreme variant: chemophobia, a reflexive rejection of modern synthetic chemicals."
It has become conventional wisdom among chemists that “chemophobia” is the root of many people’s trepidation about chemicals. Framing the issue as an irrational fear may not be the best way to improve chemicals’ public image, however.[more inside]
We are glad you are here! This blog was created for us to address the many questions people have about farmers and modern day agriculture. We hope that our blog will be a source of answers for people who are searching for the truth! ... This blog will focus mainly on family farmers like us who live in the Midwest and grow typical Midwest crops and livestock (wheat, corn, soybeans, sorghum, cattle, etc). There are countless other farmers out there who grow all sorts of different things (fruits, veggies, nuts, etc.) and raise all sorts of different animals (swine, poultry, dairy, etc.), but since my expertise lies solely on Midwest USA farmers, that’s what I will generally be referencing! The point to take away here is that we need to appreciate all farmers, no matter what kind they are, and we should all do our best to thank those who help grow our food! [more inside]
"As a chemist, I can tell you that no chemical is 100 percent safe all the time, under all conditions. Even I occasionally do a double take when I hear about the ingredients in some of our foods. But our fear of chemicals – what is often called chemophobia – needs to be tempered. [more inside]
And now for my magic marketing trick! (I mean, illusion.) By simply conflating surfactants and their main use, soap, I will now proceed to warn you that soap is in absolutely everything, and we should all freak the hell out, NOW. -- Through a handy demonstration Michelle Wong explains why the danger of chemicals is often inflated for The Toast's Gal Science column.
Are you sick of all those icky chemicals in your food? Now you're safe, with the totally chemical-free, all-natural bananas, blueberries and eggs.
Previously, covering Part One (out of Six) of the Chicago Tribune investigation Chemical flame retardants are everywhere. Our furniture. Our homes. Our bodies. Yet they don’t seem to stop fires. They do, however, seem to make us sick. TOXIC HOT SEAT is a documentary which takes an in-depth look at a nexus of money, politics and power – and a courageous group of firefighters, mothers, journalists, scientists, politicians and activists as they fight to expose what they assert is a shadowy campaign of deception that has left a toxic legacy in America’s homes and bodies for nearly 40 years. Set against the backdrop of the award-winning 2012 Chicago Tribune investigative series “Playing with Fire,” TOXIC HOT SEAT tells an intricate story, detailing how chemical companies that produce flame retardants spend millions of dollars on lobbyists, publicists and influencers, and how Big Tobacco had a hand in convincing fire-safety officials to back a standard that, in effect, requires all furniture to be filled with toxic flame retardants. [more inside]
Dr Bruce Ames, a toxicologist and one of the world's most cited scientists, discusses the impact of his Ames test, "toxic chemicals," and scaremongering [more inside]
An article entitled '8 Foods We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries,' purporting to expose the rampant toxicity of American processed foods, was posted on Buzzfeed. Here's a response from research chemist Derek Lowe (of Things I Won't Work With fame, previously).
How a fire in a small German town threatens to cause a worldwide car shortage. "When a fire in the small town of Marl in the west of Germany closed down an obscure chemical plant on 31 March, it barely made headlines." Now according to a recent IHS Automotive report, "shortages of the obscure component are 'likely to be serious.'"
US Feds Reject Petition To Ban BPA In Food -- "...recent studies done by government researchers at the request of regulatory agencies suggest it's very unlikely that BPA poses a health risk to people." (NPR Audio) [more inside]
Philadelphia's Fox 29 News does an undercover investigation on the possible terrorist threat posed by unguarded chemicals in labs. Mistakes are made.
"The saddest part is the children... We’re seeing young children with extremely high levels of chemicals. We're altering our DNA and our bodies forever. We're a bunch of guinea pigs." (previously)
Waterlife — No matter where we live, the Great Lakes affect us all. And as species of fish disappear and rates of birth defects and cancer rise, it seems one thing is clear: the Great Lakes are changing and something's not quite right with the water. An interactive documentary film from the National Film Board of Canada. [more inside]
Corexit [Bing cache] is mostly what BP has used on the spill. There are a few things to know about Corexit. One is that is was banned in U.K. over ten years ago because it is so toxic, as in poisonous to humans and sea life. ... Corexit was also used on the Exxon Valdez spill. Now read carefully: Almost all the clean up workers who worked on the Exxon Valdez spill are dead. (previously)
Cocaine - how it's made, how it moves, and who might be cutting it with a deadly cattle-deworming drug, a follow up to the mystery of the tainted cocaine.
Three newly approved 'in vitro' toxicity tests using artificial human skin are reducing the need for animal testing of cosmetics and chemicals. [more inside]
Paper receipts - including receipts from McDonald’s, CVS, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, and the U.S. Postal Service - are a major source of endocrine-disrupting bisphenol-A. The total amount of BPA on tested receipts was 250 to 1,000 times greater than other, more widely discussed sources of BPA exposure, including canned foods, baby bottles and infant formula. BPA transfers readily from receipts to skin and can penetrate the skin to such a depth that it cannot be washed off.
There are many exciting chemicals. These are the ones that Derek Lowe won't work with. Derek Lowe authors the "In The Pipeline" blog on Corante, and writes primarily about the pharmaceutical industry. However, the subset of entries marked "Things I Won't Work With" delves entertainingly into the realm of substances like dioxygen difluoride (tl;dr: it explodes. A lot.)
The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported that military scientists tested hundreds of chemical and biological substances on them, including VX, tabun, soman, sarin, cyanide, LSD, PCP, and World War I-era blister agents like phosgene and mustard. The full scope of the tests, however, may never be known. As a CIA official explained to the GAO, referring to the agency's infamous MKULTRA mind-control experiments, "The names of those involved in the tests are not available because names were not recorded or the records were subsequently destroyed." Besides, said the official, some of the tests involving LSD and other psychochemical drugs "were administered to an undetermined number of people without their knowledge."
“The Disappearing Male” is a one-hour documentary about one of the most important, and least publicized, issues facing the human species: the toxic threat to the male reproductive system. The whole documentary is on Google Video.
The Visual Image of Chemistry: Perspectives from the History of Art and Science. [Via homunculus (no relation)]
DIY Food Sci: Mefites have discussed molecular gastronomy techniques such as sous-vide and famous practitioners such as El Bulli (photos) or Alinea (review), but apartment chemists are experimenting both with the chemical and the physical techniques of the pros. An anti-griddle cooktop may run you $1060, but cheaper tools of the trade can be found online or in your neighborhood health food store. Find perfect flavor and odor matches based on similar amines at Khymos.org, inspiration at Hungry in Hogtown, or learn about the common chemicals used, but don't let the Man keep you from your hot ice cream and kumquat caviar again.
Bisphenol A: this extremely common chemical leaches out of food packaging and plastics, and was long considered safe. But a number of recent studies link it to developmental problems and cancer in lab animals in doses far lower than the current regulatory limit. Canada and the United States both review the scientific data available in the coming months, but critics already worry the process will be corrupted by industry. Industry, of course, insists that BPA is safe.
The Next Attack. "Terrorists in Iraq are becoming proficient at blowing up oil refineries. Similar plants in a handful of American cities represent our greatest vulnerability. We could easily be making them less dangerous. But we’re not." And one of the key players in keeping things that way happens to be Dick Cheney’s son-in-law.
Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Minimize your chemical exposure in the produce aisle. PDFs : download a pocket version for your purse or wallet; en Español tambien.
They've found those WMDs! Well, not quite. Just chemicals that eventually could be turned into weapons. But what's interesting is that this chem lab dates from AFTER the US invasion.
Cancer, Chemicals and History. Some of the biggest chemical companies in the US have launched a campaign to discredit two historians who have written a book about the industry's efforts to conceal links between their products and cancer. Some of the internal documents referenced in the book can be found at the Chemical Industry Archives, a site dedicated to exposing the industry's attempts to conceal the dangers of their products. [Via Disinformation.]
Kodak gives more reason to convert to digital photography. Eastman Kodak's "Kodak Park facility" in Rochester, is #1 in New York for releases of suspected toxicants and neurotoxins to endocrine, gastrointestinal, liver, cardiovascular, kidney, respiratory, and reproductive health. Remember dioxin? The stuff of Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam war that caused so much grief to war vets and Vietnamese, well Kodak released more dioxin into New York's environment in 2000 than any other source. In 1996 they were dumping methylene chloride concentrations as high as 3,600,000 parts per billion into area rivers, when the legal level is five parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found Kodak guilty of illegal disposal of hazardous wastes, illegal use of incinerators and waste piles, failing to notify the EPA of groundwater contaminations, making undocumented shipments of hazardous wastes, and for 20 years having leaky underground pipes, among other violations.
BodyBurden: the pollution in people. "Researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 91 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in the blood and urine of nine volunteers, with a total of 167 chemicals found in the group. Like most of us, the people tested do not work with chemicals on the job and do not live near an industrial facility. Scientists refer to this contamination as a person’s body burden. Of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause cancer in humans or animals, 94 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 cause birth defects or abnormal development. The dangers of exposure to these chemicals in combination has never been studied." This was also the subject of a PBS program by Bill Moyers, Trade Secrets. Moyers himself was found to have 84 chemicals in his blood and urine. [Via This Modern World.]
Chinese sold Iraq 'dual-use' chemical And France helped broker the deal. Now do we boycott not only French bread and wine but all Chinese food too?
The State of the Nation's Ecosystems - According to a report commissioned five years ago by President Clinton and finally completed and released, the United States may have no streams left that are free from chemical contamination, and about one-fifth of animal species and one-sixth of plant types are at risk of extinction.
Funeral Home Murders Drug-Induced? A mortician and his assistant found dead by coroner seeking death certificate
. Motive unclear. Says local police sergeant: "We have received reports from some agencies in the city that [criminals] might be involved in taking chemicals from funeral homes and using them to soak their marijuana cigarettes or regular cigarettes in, but we have not been able to prove a robbery or anything like that."
Monsanto's "New Agent Orange" used in Columbia "The herbicide glyphosate has been blamed for destroying acres of trees and contaminating wells, streams and ponds. . . long term ecological effects could be severe."