Chemicals & Chemistry

A new report out of the European Union confirms what scientists have known for decades: the weed killer glyphosate poses minimal risk to human health and the environment.
Thanks to excess alcohol consumption, July 4th, which is right around the corner, is the most deadly driving day of the year. If you find yourself inebriated at a DUI checkpoint blowing into a breathalyzer, you can thank Sir Ewart Ray Herbert Jones for the invention he published 75 years ago. Yep, you've been caught by organic chemistry, specifically, the Jones Oxidation.
As we’re in the midst of a reevaluation of whether the Virology Laboratory in Wuhan, China was the true source of the Covid-19 virus that caused the pandemic, a theory which the World Health Organization (WHO), many U.S. scientists, and the media rejected for over a year’s time, there is another issue that warrants a complete reexamination: The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC’s) assessment of glyphosate. 
Benzene, a known carcinogen, was detected by a new company called Valisure, in hand sanitizer this past winter. Now, the company has detected it at various concentrations in sunscreen. Are the risks the same? Probably not.
A little chemistry anyone? Here's everything you never wanted to know about iodine. But it's not as dreadful as you'd think. Iodine and its compounds disinfect surgical sites, seed clouds, and can protect you from certain nuclear fallout. And it's great for blowing up stuff, too! And there's a quiz with a very special prize for the winner!
Extracts from the Ginko Biloba tree have long been used as naturopathic remedies for issues like memory loss and cognitive impairment. But is there any scientific evidence to support their use?
It's spring, and, among other nuisances, poison ivy is sprouting from the ground in its neverending quest to make your life miserable. Much of what you "know" about poison ivy is a myth, but an interesting column in the NY Times takes care of this. Even better, some of the reader's comments are hilarious. Watch me make fun of them!
A seemingly simple, seemingly non-controversial story from a local news outlet in New York talks about efforts to ban glyphosate (aka Roundup) from the city's parks and public places. But if you dig a little, the facts change. Plenty.
A vanilla-obsessed lawyer is suing 110 companies because they claimed "vanilla" on labels while using ... "vanilla." Also, HuffPost needs a chemistry lesson. And anal glands from beavers. Let's not kid ourselves: You know you're going to read this. Why fight it?
ACSH friend, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, who is the director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society, makes one short video every week in his "The Right Chemistry" series. This week we learn about "leaded coffee." Fascinating and entertaining. Treat yourself.
Foam insulation is an important material used in houses and buildings. A wide variety of components are used to make insulation in various forms; some are flammable, some require toxic chemicals. However, in Germany, two groups using chemistry we learned in high school have devised an effective, recoverable, insulating foam that won't burn. It’s a simple, elegant solution using, of all things, calcium carbonate, otherwise known as chalk.
Dr. Joe Schwarcz, the director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society, (somehow) churns out one video per week in his "The Right Chemistry" series. "Dr. Joe" manages to make all of them fascinating. This one is about polyurethane, a substance that should NOT be used in place of hair spray.