Tag Archives | Scientific American

Dangerous Chemicals Found in Thousands of Products for Children

Pic: Muu-Karhu (CC)

Pic: Muu-Karhu (CC)

Troubling news for the parents among us: Toys and other children’s products contain low levels of a wide range of “chemicals of concern”:

Via Scientific American:

Cobalt in plastic building blocks and baby bibs. Ethylene glycol in dolls. Methyl ethyl ketone in clothing. Antimony in high chairs and booster seats. Parabens in baby wipes. D4 in baby creams.

An Environmental Health News analysis of thousands of reports from America’s largest companies shows that toys and other children’s products contain low levels of dozens of industrial chemicals, including some unexpected ingredients that will surprise a public concerned about exposure.

The reports were filed by 59 large companies, including Gap Inc., Mattel Inc., Gymboree Corp., Nike Inc., H&M and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., to comply with an unprecedented state law.

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SciAm Looks at the First Issue of ‘The Journal of Cryptozoology’

Scientific American’s Darren Naish reviews the first issue of The Journal of Cryptozoology, along the way offering a fascinating history of periodicals devoted to the topic:

If research on ‘mystery animals’ overlaps entirely with other areas of research – either in the biological or cultural sciences – then maybe technical papers relevant to cryptozoology should be able to stand on their own in the ‘mainstream’ scientific literature. But, given that there is undeniably a community of researchers specially interested in cryptozoological research, and a need for discussion, review and critique of issues relevant to the field, a good argument can be made that cryptozoology needs a dedicated peer-reviewed journal. And that’s why we’re here, for November 2012 saw the publication of Volume One of a new peer-reviewed publication devoted to cryptozoology: The Journal of Cryptozoology.

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Thalidomide’s Nazi Connection

Picture: Konstantinos Soulkanis (CC)

Via Scientific American:

Thalidomide was introduced to pregnant mothers in 1957 as a supposedly safe medication for morning sickness. Sadly, this harmless medication was anything but: Many of the mothers who took thalidomide gave birth to babies with “flippers” for limbs. By the time a link between the drug and the birth defects was established, it was too late: Over 210,000 children were born with phocomelia – the medical term for the array of birth defects caused by thalidomide. Grunenthal, the German pharmaceutical firm that produced thalidomide didn’t issue any kind of apology to its victims until this past September. No financial compensation has ever been issued.

The thalidomide tragedy was the consequence of epic mismanagement and criminal neglect, but now, another wrinkle in the story has emerged: Some of the scientists employed by Grunenthal were Nazis:

One of the most chilling aspects of this sordid tale is the assertion that “in the immediate postwar years, a rogues’ gallery of wanted and convicted Nazis, mass murderers who had practiced their science in notorious death camps, ended up working at Grünenthal, some of them directly involved in the development of thalidomide.” One of the most reprehensible was Otto Ambros, an inventor of sarin (the nerve gas), who had been convicted of mass murder at the Nuremburg trials but was subsequently freed.

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