Chemicals and Environment

The American Council on Science and Health, since 1978 America's premiere pro-science consumer advocacy non-profit, is pleased to announce our new book, "Natural and Artificial Flavors: What's the Difference?", in order to combat growing confusion about health issues related to food.

During the last decade, it has become increasingly fashionable to tout "natural" on product labels. It isn't just fringe companies that prey on the chemophobia evident among less-informed members of the public, larger brands have also been exploiting consumers in this fashion.

Yet the distinction between artificial and natural flavors is entirely manufactured. Aside from subjective taste differences, the only way to know the difference is the lack of additional chemicals natural...

Anyone who searches long enough can find that pretty much everything has been linked to cancer. Bacon. Cell phones. Wi-fi. Looking at Ana Dolaskie. At some point the insanity has to stop. Unfortunately, we have yet to reach that point.

Variations of the headline "Nutella may cause cancer" are going viral. As usual, there is almost no support for such hysteria. According to Reuters:

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in May that palm oil generated more of a potentially carcinogenic contaminant...

The much-anticipated intelligence report which concluded that Russia tried to influence the recent presidential election had another startling, yet widely ignored, conclusion: The Russian government promotes anti-fracking propaganda in the United States.

Russia accomplishes this through its "news" network, RT, which promotes the Kremlin's interests around the world. The report, issued by the Director of National Intelligence, states bluntly:

RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government's concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global...

We routinely write about phony chemical scares. Thanks to know-nothings, groups with agendas, and the press, the mere mention of BPA, which is about as close to harmless as chemicals get, sends people into a frenzy. Some will go to great lengths to avoid it, such as refusing to touch cash register receipts.

But, there is nothing phony about phosphine—the gas that recently killed four children in Texas. Phosphine is a real poison and a very potent one at that. Most chemists will go their entire careers without ever using it.

This accident provides an unfortunate opportunity to examine the chemistry of what happened.

Tragically, and inadvertently, a father, who had spread aluminum phosphide under his home to kill insects,  caused the accident by...

I am lucky enough to spend the holidays in one of the most beautiful places in the United States - the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Surrounded by stunning natural beauty on all sides - it is incredibly cold, the roads are covered in ice, and the living is uncomplicated. But, when something does happen - such as 50-year-old toxic waste from the ivy league institution down the road creeping into people's backyards - it is big (BIG) news up here.

And, that is exactly the story that the neighbors of Dartmouth College are trying to bring everyone's attention.

My first experience in a lab was also at an ivy league institution, and stories were commonly shared by senior faculty about the 'good old days' in the 60s and 70s when they would smoke cigars in the lab. But,...

A new report dredges up some environmental myths about flame retardants and then says poor people are most at risk - but it could really mean poor people aren't scaremongered by epidemiologists in academia as easily as everyone else, even if it's due to economic necessity that government-funded university employees only witness in the abstract.

In 2016, there is no reason to defend the brominated flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) - they are already banned in various states, like California. Which makes it even stranger that a paper in Environmental Science & Technology invokes them as a possible...well, no one knows if they are a possible anything, the authors just...

By Jeanna Bryner, Live Science

Four new chemical elements now have official names and symbols, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) announced this week.

After a five-month review, IUPAC chemists have approved the four names for superheavy elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 proposed by the elements' discoverers. Such superheavy elements, whose atomic numbers indicate how many protons reside in each nucleus, don't occur naturally in nature, so they must be created in labs.

Following tradition, the names needed to honor a place, geographic region or scientist, with the name endings following specific protocols related to each element's placement on the ...

Hand sanitizers are ubiquitous. They are used by staff in hospitals, and many people keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in their bags or purses. The active ingredient is often some kind of alcohol, such as isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol (the drinkable kind).

New research published in the American Journal of Infection Control suggests that professionals who administer breath alcohol tests should stay away from sanitizers that contain ethanol, as they can cause breathalyzers to produce a false positive result.

The research team performed a series of breathalyzer tests on ten volunteers with an Alco-Sensor III, a device approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation and law...

There isn't a fringe movement that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr doesn't like. He appears to subscribe to conspiracy theories involving the assassination of his uncle, JFK. Along with Bill Maher, he is one of the most prominent anti-vaxxers in America. He went so far as to compare vaccine manufacturers to Big Tobacco. Now, Mr Kennedy is...

It is well documented that cigarette smoke causes lung cancer, but giving up nicotine still proves to be the most challenging part of quitting cigarettes. 

Of all the available smoking cessation aides, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have gained the most popularity - likely because they are designed to simulate the cigarette-smoking experience.  E-cigarettes are battery operated wands that contain liquid nicotine, which when heated, emit an aerosol that can be inhaled (vaped). 

Due to the relatively short history of e-cigarettes, there are some unanswered questions about their long-term health safety.  Studies up to this point have suggested that vaping is safer than smoking because it does not expose a person to the inhaled toxins found in cigarette smoke that can...