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misunderstanding chemistry

In the Pipeline is a blog written by an organic chemist who works in pharmaceutical development. He writes with intelligent laypeople in mind.

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2013/06/21/eight_toxic_foods_a_little_chemical_education.php refutes some of the misinformation in a fearmongering Buzzfeed article called "8 foods we eat in the U.S. that are banned in other countries." (The article is actually about chemical additives, some of which are not actually banned in other countries.)

I have felt especially fed up by pseudoscience lately (possibly having something to do with the latest shenanigans of the AMA *cough*). So this post scratched a particularly irritating itch of mine. A couple of excerpts:
If we're going to play the "made from the same atoms" game, well, strychnine and heroin are derived from the same harmful chemicals as the essential amino acids and B vitamins. Those harmful chemicals, in case you're wondering, are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.
...
If you're having chicken and rice and you want to worry about arsenic, worry about the rice.
Read the comments if you like to see people named "Anonymous" questioning whether the blogger is a real scientist.

If you like that, I also recommend the posts with the tag "Things I Won't Work With." Some of them are laugh-out-loud hilarious. http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/things_i_wont_work_with/


None of this is intended to be an opinion about what anyone does or does not eat.

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/813976.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. I prefer that you comment on Dreamwidth, but it's also OK to comment here.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
elainegrey
Jun. 24th, 2013 01:29 pm (UTC)
I skipped the pseudoscience rant and went straight to "things i won't work with." Ha, and family worried about me working around accelerators and radioactive isotopes. Chemists make way scarier stuff.
redbird
Jun. 24th, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
"Things I won't work with" is wonderful. I first found his blog when someone linked to the article on dioxygen difluoride, a few years ago.
hitchhiker
Jun. 25th, 2013 08:25 am (UTC)
i do love that blog :)
cakmpls
Jun. 24th, 2013 08:00 pm (UTC)
Consumer Reports covered arsenic-in-rice a few issues back.
treecat
Jun. 25th, 2013 03:04 am (UTC)
http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2011/11/11/things_i_wont_work_with_hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane.php from the Things he won't work with has a particularly interesting molecular structure!

Many of the things on the '8 things' list are not really advisable to eat (at least not in large quantity), too bad the Buzzfeed author (and presumably the ) gives such stupid reasons why.

There's a direct sales company (forgetting what its name is now) that has scare brochures about toothpaste with a picture of a little girl with men in hazard suits standing behind her because one of the ingredients is used as an industrial degreaser !!! OMG! Yikes! -> I prefer to just use baking soda, and don't like that many toothpastes have warnings against swallowing them, but this degreaser argument is particularly stupid and in the vein of the article he's critiquing.
firecat
Jun. 25th, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
The stupid reasons are exactly why pseudoscience hurts people on all sides of the "should you eat that?" debate. Let's hear the real evidence and make up our own minds.
necturus
Jun. 25th, 2013 03:09 am (UTC)
Ban dihydrogen monoxide! http://dhmo.org
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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