Chemistry

 Bisphenol A (BPA) is a component of some plastics and is found in food containers, plastic water bottles, dental sealants, and thermal receipt paper. In the body, BPA is a mild synthetic estrogen, one of the gigantic class of chemicals called "endocrine disruptors", even if they are 1/20,000th able to bind as well as the actual estrogen.

Environmentalists claim that despite the FDA doing an exhaustive four-year study and finding no effects, even in pregnant mice, despite feeding them 1,000 times as much BPA as a human can get, and affirming that humans process and excrete BPA far more efficiently than rodents, that a magical hormesis effect is still causing problems.


Electronic cigarettes have grown in popularity as an alternative to traditional cigarette smoking - the idea is that since they are just nicotine vapor, users will not be placed in peril by the 200 toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke.

Still, they are controversial. The government does not allow them to be marketed for smoking cessation because no company is large enough to survive regulatory approval - except tobacco or pharmaceutical companies, which many e-cigarette users regard as the problem.


It is commonly perceived that natural chemicals are safe while manmade substances may be harmful.  These perceptions, however, if not supported by scientific evidence, can result in risk perception gaps that can cause us to worry more than warranted by the evidence.

Jessica Alba's "Honest" company has been criticized for being frauds but it's not alone. Though the variation in cost for sunscreen protection averages well over 3,000, the variation is protection is not very much.

Like with organic food, you don't get what you pay for - unless what you are paying for is self-identification. But no matter what you pay or why you buy, you may not be getting a product that meets the American Academy of Dermatology's guidelines for sunscreens. This was largely due to a lack of water or sweat resistance, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.


In the lead up to the World Barista Championships, University of Bath scientists say brewing more flavorsome coffee could be as simple as chilling the beans before grinding.

A team from the University working with renowned Bath coffee shop Colonna&Smalls found that chilling roasted beans before grinding resulted in narrower distribution of small particles, which during the brewing process allows access to more flavor from the same amount of coffee.

Coffee is among the most valuable traded commodities globally, worth $17.9T USD to the US economy in 2015 alone. This discovery could have big implications for the coffee industry and might even allow domestic coffee connoisseurs to brew tastier beverages.


While Greenpeace is using black hat tactics to take out companies that don't submit to their efforts at racketeering, the pro-science community recognizes that renewable wood could be used to replace oil.

Much of te present-day chemical industry is based on oil; products from plastics to detergents and to medication have their origins in oil and its constituents. Yet oil reserves are finite, so scientists have been looking for ways to manufacture these products from sustainable materials, such as wood.


Technological advances have made it rather easy to detect food fraud. The seafood industry, in particular, is rife with dishonesty. In 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that 93 percent of fish samples labeled "red snapper" were actually some other species, like tilapia.

Hot molecules, which are found in extreme environments such as the edges of fusion reactors, are much more reactive than those used to understand reaction studies at ambient temperature.

Detailed knowledge of their reactions is relevant for modeling nuclear fusion devices and simulating the reaction that takes place on a spacecraft's heat shield at the moment when it re-enters Earth's atmosphere. In a new in EPJ D paper, Masamitsu Hoshino from Sophia University, Tokyo, and colleagues reveal a method for controlling the likelihood that these reactions between electrons and hot molecules occur, by altering the degree of bending the linear molecules, modulated by reaching precisely defined temperatures.


Thanks to science and technology, food is no longer a luxury, it is a commodity. If anti-science groups spent less time scaring uneducated people and more time caring about humanity, there would be enough food to feed 10 billion people right now, just by reducing food waste.

Right now, almost 50 percent of the world's fruit and vegetable crops are lost, much of it due to perishable foods, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. A new study has one interesting solution - an odorless, biocompatible silk solution so thin as to be virtually invisible that keeps fruit fresh for more than a week without refrigeration. 


This month, the International Agency for Research on Cancer will issue another paper suggesting a chemical causes cancer - probably one of the compounds in coffee - and journalists will read what IARC actually claims about calculating risk and assume IARC calculates risk. Then, after blowback from scientists who do not consult for Environmental Defense Fund or were not hand-picked to be on the IARC committee, IARC will state they don't talk about risk.

There is a difference between hazard and risk, of course. Caffeine is far more hazardous than BPA, glyphosate or aspartame but, like with those three compounds, you'd have to drink 7,000 cups of something containing them per day to get a toxic effect.