Chemistry

Learning from history should keep us from repeating our mistakes. Yet when it comes to environmental politics, the opposite seems to be true. History and improved scientific understanding fail to inform, while alarmism and irrational fears drive policy.

BrainhurtsSo, if you take literally what Patricia Hunt, Ph.D. and colleagues reported in the new issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, you could only conclude that two chemically unrelated, so-called endocrine disruptors alone were costing the EU $1.63 billion in female reproductive disorders. That is, unless they neglected to add the VAT, in which case it will be more.

The rosy periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) is a plant that produces organic compounds used to treat cancer, arrhythmia, and other medical conditions and now the details of the metabolism process for these compounds on a cellular level has been reveaked. Their data suggests the existence of an unknown mechanism which regulates the creation, movement and distribution of compounds within plants. 


This was a poster I did for the 2012 Meeting of the Society of Toxicology in San Francisco.

Dead European honeybees have almost 57 different pesticides detected, according to a new paper in the Journal of Chromatography A.

Should that be a concern? Not really. The great thing about modern technology is that we can detect parts per trillion, orders of magnitude what can be harmful. Yet proponents of low-dose effect, like environmental groups and researchers enabling them, will want to claim that being able to detect something means it must be bad.


Each year, the farmers around the world who produce our food (fruits, vegetables, grains) get the equivalent of a “grade” on a giant “group project.”   For 2014 they got another A+ as they have for many years.  The “test” entails thousands of food samples, which the USDA collects from normal US food channels and then scrutinizes for pesticide residues using extremely sensitive laboratory testing methods.

Synthetic cathinones which produce effects similar to amphetamines and have been associated with numerous fatalities are derived from cathinone, which is present in the khat plant.

Only supplement makers and buyers think if it happens in nature it must be okay, but the U.S.  Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)  has a hard time keeping up. They can only ban specific  synthetic cathinones, and did in 2011, but change a molecule and new designer drugs continue to appear, and they aren't banned because they are different.


Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are a group of environmental contaminants that were banned in industrialized countries decades ago, but sut since they accumulate through the food chain and remain for a very long time in the human body, especially adipose tissue, they can still be found in a majority of people in most countries.

The most commonly known of these compounds is the pesticide DDT, which has gotten  a renewed look due to mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus.  Though DDT was banned in the US due to public concern, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows countries with mosquitoes related to malaria - which also carry Zika - how to effectively spray DDT inside homes.


Though wealthy elites and fad-chasing food activists have promoted the idea that salt is a killer, the science doesn't show that. Instead, links are correlational. Asia has always been held up as a standard for health but as their incidence of hypertension has risen, as many have blamed salt as they have a diet beyond what peasants could afford in the past.