Chasing Molecules Poisonous Products, Human Hromise of Green - download pdf or read online

By Elizabeth Grossman

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Legislation called the “Kid Safe Chemical Act” that works similarly but is limited to chemicals used in products designed for infants and children, was introduced in May 2008 by the House and Senate. The bill failed to pass, but it or similar legislation may be reintroduced. While it’s too soon to know the results of REACH or any comparable regulations, increasing consumer awareness is prompting changes as well. As I write, a groundswell of public concern over the health impacts of chemicals that comprise polycarbonate and polyvinyl chloride plastics is pushing manufacturers and retailers of baby bottles, pacifiers, toddlers’ sippy cups, other children’s products, and refillable water bottles to switch to alternative materials.

Each of these samples is a kind of snapshot in time, as researcher Jesse Carrie put it, and will provide data that help form one piece of the giant jigsaw puzzle from which a particular picture of the environment will emerge. Spending time with scientists doing this kind of field work, I came to think of their work as a pointillist painting in which each dot on the canvas represented a study that might be years in the planning and execution. It takes many such dots to create a panorama—a picture large enough to give a significant sense of what’s happening over time, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, for example.

Ice cores are drilled, sawed into lengths, and put into coolers while we’re on the ice. Some of the analysis will be done on the ship. Other samples will be sent to home labs where even more sophisticated equipment awaits. Each of these samples is a kind of snapshot in time, as researcher Jesse Carrie put it, and will provide data that help form one piece of the giant jigsaw puzzle from which a particular picture of the environment will emerge. Spending time with scientists doing this kind of field work, I came to think of their work as a pointillist painting in which each dot on the canvas represented a study that might be years in the planning and execution.

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Chasing Molecules Poisonous Products, Human Hromise of Green Chemistry - by Elizabeth Grossman


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