Chemicals & Chemistry

Will Tylenol alleviate severe pain? It will not, yet patients are routinely given the drug after major surgery. Thank your congressman for such insanity. Meanwhile, the drug store conglomerate CVS displays real pain relievers right next to useless homeopathic "remedies." A lawsuit could put an end to that dubious marketing practice.
It is astounding (although not surprising) how badly the media botched its reporting on "deadly vinyl chloride," as if residents of Ohio didn't have enough to worry about. My opinion piece in Reason Magazine addresses just this. Scare, not science.
Peer-review is supposed to keep sloppy and fraudulent research out of academic journals. Sadly, the process fails all too frequently. What can we do to prevent further corruption of our science publications? Consumers often avoid supposedly harmful chemicals to reduce their cancer risk—then they drink alcohol, a well-known carcinogen, without a second thought. Why?
News coverage of the East Palestine train derailment has ranged from hysteria to hysteria. One would think that one of the most dangerous chemicals in the world is being discharged from the train. Has anyone bothered to actually examine how toxic vinyl chloride is? You may be surprised.
Vinyl chloride is a dangerous chemical, so the recent derailment and fire of a train carrying a large quantity of it is bad news. Long-time ACSH friend Dr. Joe Schwarcz gives us a lesson on the history and toxicity of the chemical.
Now that the political drama around gas stoves has waned, it's time to discuss the science. Here's what all the talking heads got wrong. Does secondhand weed smoke cause asthma? Maybe, though the most recent study cited as evidence isn't all that rigorous.
Thanks largely to the press and some radical environmental groups most people are terrified of chemicals because they can give us cancer. Almost all of these scares are bogus, but one that isn't is a beloved chemical – alcohol. Unlike a diet soda, a glass of alcohol poses a legitimate risk.
4-ANPP is not a term that most of you know but it's hugely important. It is the chemical that is the precursor to fentanyl. Although 4-ANPP is not an opioid, there is not a single thing anyone would do with it except convert it to fentanyl. And there is plenty of 4-ANPP to be had now the bad guys use synthetic organic chemistry to make it.
Heavy metals in baby food do not cause autism. Listen in as we discuss the evidence. Dropping an F-bomb now and again might confer an important health benefit, according to recent research. Do we finally have a scientific justification for the use of colorful language?
Dreary, despondent headlines about pollution and climate change are the norm. But they are not painting an accurate picture. Many countries are making serious efforts to protect the environment. Human ingenuity is the ultimate resource. My latest over at BigThink.
What does formaldehyde in baby shampoo have to do with a recent recall of a specialized laundry detergent? The failure to appreciate the need for preservatives in consumer products.  
Glycated hemoglobin, aka, Hb1Ac, is an important measure of diabetes risk. The name sounds daunting, but the chemistry that forms it is quite simple. Even ACSH scientists might be able to understand this Dreaded Chemistry Lesson From Hell. At least on a good day.