Chemicals & Chemistry

The New Republic claims "The meat industry is pumping livestock full of antibiotics." Like many other farm-bashing headlines, this one is greatly exaggerated.
Tort lawyers regularly bring litigation against pesticide companies, alleging that their products cause devastating diseases. Of course, our genetic makeup profoundly influences our risk for certain medical conditions, including those allegedly caused by pesticide exposure. Yet this reality rarely gets the attention it deserves in court. Let's take a closer look at the science the lawyers would rather ignore.
It's no secret that teens don't smell all that pleasant. But before you blame them, read this article. The unpleasant scents may serve several important purposes.
Microplastics are everywhere, including in your arteries, and they heighten your heart attack risk! So declared a slew of recent headlines reporting on a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Let's examine all the science reporters ignored in their rush to get hyperbolic stories out the door.
"Fool's gold" (pyrite) is nice to look at, but not especially useful. That could change if the findings of a small study hold up. Unexpectedly higher levels of lithium – an element that's in enormous demand – were found in pyrite. This could be both beneficial environmentally and economically. Plus, a gratuitous shot at crystal healers, just for yuks.
Batches of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer were recently recalled due to contamination by methanol, which is too toxic to be used for this purpose. How did the methanol get into batches of alcohol? A look at moonshining can answer this question.
A company called ZBiotic wants you to believe that its product – a microorganism that makes the enzyme that metabolizes acetaldehyde – will help prevent a hangover. Should we believe this?
A new month, a new chemical to fear. Such is the business plan of the Environmental Working Group, an organization that I've been saying unflattering things about for years. Why? Because it usually deserves it. Let's look at a just-released EWG video, which shows the kinds of tricks those guys have been using (and fooling us with) forever.
Pharma companies have taken to combining over-the-counter drugs into the same pill or bottle and charging higher prices. There's little evidence this marketing practice benefits anybody but said pharma companies. There's a new pesticide scare loose in the headlines: the weedkiller paraquat allegedly causes Parkinson's Disease. It's a phony scandal cooked up by activists and trial lawyers.
Environmental activists rely on several go-to tactics when fomenting fear of pesticides. One of their favorite methods is recruiting fake whistleblowers – often retired government scientists – who will spread conspiratorial nonsense about regulatory agencies and other researchers. Here's a real-world example of the "phony whistleblower gambit."
In a move that will significantly expand the restrictions on per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – more commonly known as the “forever chemicals” – the International Agency for Research on Cancer has reclassified perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) as “carcinogenic to humans.” It did so even though no valid studies show it increases the risk of causing cancer in people. How will this reclassification increase pressure in Europe and the U.S. for more action? Here's a look.
A teenager died recently after taking the "One Chip Challenge," eating Paqui's uber-spicy tortilla chip and going as long as possible without eating or drinking anything else. The cause of death remains unclear, but there's an interesting lesson here about the uselessness of "non-GMO" food labels. Meanwhile, actress Jessica Biel sells all-natural Tylenol — which is identical to plain ole' Tylenol. Another case of dubious health marketing? Yep.