Chemicals & Chemistry

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.
"If you dust off a turd, it's still a turd." Even by my (admittedly) low standards, this is rather crude. But, what does it mean? I take aim at Genexa, a company that advertises "real medicine, made clean." A clever marketing scheme, but I don't know what it even means.
On Feb. 20, a large headline from CNN crosses my screen: ‘’Chemicals in plastics damage babies’ brains and must be banned immediately, expert group says”. A shocking, scary headline based on cherry-picked data that misleads the public. What are these chemicals that must be banned immediately?
Why do books smell? Dr. Joe Schwarcz, a professor of chemistry at McGill University's Office for Science and Society explains in his own unique way in one of his own unique (and wonderful) videos from "The Right Chemistry" series. (And a way to poison readers that may or may not work.) Enjoy.
Can you use a Dreaded Chemistry Lesson from Hell (TM) to take your mind off your woes? If so, dive right in.
What is perchlorate? And is it dangerous?
The anti-chemical Environmental Defense Fund claims that there are 10,000 chemicals in food that should be tested and regulated. It's a silly idea. Here's why.