"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]
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.
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]
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 Visual Image of Chemistry: Perspectives from the History of Art and Science. [Via homunculus (no relation)]
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.
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."