Chemicals and Environment

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People buy organic food for many different reasons, most of which are factually incorrect. Quite possibly the biggest myth about organic food is that it is grown without pesticides. That is simply untrue. Others have been led to believe that organic food is...

We're all familiar with those shiny plastic films that keep our meats fresh, or at least fresher, and also enclose breads, cheeses and even fresh vegetables. But there are drawbacks to those films — they don't degrade and thus stay in our landfills forever. They're petroleum products — from non-renewable resources, and they're not really that good at preventing spoilage, since they're too permeable to oxygen, which can oxidize fats. Food scientists have come to the rescue, they...

California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, commonly called Proposition 65, was enacted by popular vote in 1986. It was initially sold as a way to prevent cancer and birth defects due to chemicals in drinking water and therefore got an overwhelmingly favorable response. Who isn’t in favor of clean water? (1)

Yet unmentioned by most at that time was that the voter referendum turned California science over to political appointees, who have final authority to make decisions on warning labels. In the last 30 years, despite a lot of strange listings and too many nuisance lawsuits to count, few decisions have been as bizarre as their desire to label BPA as a health hazard even though every national science organization has shown otherwise.

If...

Garlic powder. (Credit: Shutterstock) Garlic powder. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Cooking should be thought of as edible organic chemistry. For instance, what toasted bread, grilled steak, and crème brûlée all have in common is the Maillard reaction, a chemical process that combines sugars and amino acids into delectable, brown goodness.

Because such foods consist of a large variety of different molecules, it is largely unknown what compounds are...

There are not many chemistry labs that begin their experiments by first baking fresh bread. Yet, that is exactly what a lab headed by Yibin Li at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China does in its pursuit of cheap and effective carbon foam.

As its name suggests, carbon foam is a porous, light-weight material made mostly of carbon. Because it has low thermal conductivity (i.e., it does not transfer heat very well) and is largely fire resistant, it could be useful as an insulator in buildings.

Graphene, a layer of carbon that is a single-atom thick, could be used to make carbon foam, but manufacturing graphene is costly and complex. Other researchers have converted biomass, such as watermelons and banana peels, into carbon foam. This is cheap, but because there is no...

The language of science has been hijacked. Those who are looking to make a quick buck (or in the case of the organic industry, 43 billion bucks) have no qualms about twisting the definition of highly precise scientific terminology to suit their own profit-driven agendas. Misinterpreting scientists’ words is also a common tactic employed by fearmongering environmentalists and activists.

In fact, the problem of hijacked scientific terminology is so great that ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom wrote an entire book about it.

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Increased awareness about using a highly technical process called hydraulic fracturing to recover natural gas trapped deep within the Marcellus shale has created questions about related human-health and environmental impacts. Associated arguments, both pro and con, have often been subjective, emotional, and unscientific.

This publication by the American Council on Science and Health is written by Dr. Theodore Them, Chief of the Section of Occupational and Environmental Medicine with Guthrie Medical Group in Sayre, Pennsylvania and peer-reviewed by experts in the field. It is a systematic, objective review of documented types and rates of hydrofracturing-fluid- and chemical-related incidents affecting human health, to date, in the region of the Marcellus Shale...

Increased awareness about using a highly technical process called hydraulic fracturing to recover natural gas trapped deep within the Marcellus shale has created questions about related human-health and environmental impacts. Associated arguments, both pro and con, have often been subjective, emotional, and unscientific.

This publication by the American Council on Science and Health is written by Dr. Theodore Them,  Chief of the Section of Occupational and Environmental Medicine with Guthrie Medical Group in Sayre, Pennsylvania — and peer-reviewed by experts in the field.  It is a systematic, objective review of documented types and rates of hydrofracturing-fluid- and chemical-related incidents affecting human health, to date, in the region of the Marcellus...

 New York, NY -- January 14, 2008. When it comes to health issues, who should you trust to give you the truth: celebrities or scientists?

When celebrities weigh in on important health issues, the public takes notice. However, all too often their statements are incorrect. The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) weighs in on one celebrity-touted myth after another in the new publication Celebrities vs. Science.

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A class of brominated flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) are under assault from environmental activists and regulators both in the United States and overseas. Flame retardants give people more time to escape a fire by delaying flashover, the explosive-like eruption of flames responsible for most of the fatalities and property damage in residential fires. PBDEs are particularly effective flame retardants and have long been widely used in the manufacture of televisions and other electrical equipment, furniture, and mattresses.

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