Sciencegeist: Toxic Carnival: Day One

Originally posted May 21, 2012

Today is Day 1 of “Our Favorite Toxic Chemicals” blog carnival! Feel the excitement oozing over you!

I will aggregate the links here as they come in.

1. In The Pipeline Derek is up first with a post on selenophenol. Quoting Th’Gaussling’s description of this molecule: “The biggest stinker I have run across. . .Imagine 6 skunks wrapped in rubber innertubes and the whole thing is set ablaze. That might approach the metaphysical stench of this material.” High praise, that. Derek, for those of you who don’t follow him, has an entire series on “Things I won’t work with”. Check them out!

2. Carbon Based Curiosities Excimer has a hilarious post on TCNE (tetracyanoethylene). He starts off his post lampooning Andrew Liveris and musing that if 95% of products are made with chemicals, then the other 5% must be made from unicorns and rainbows. He goes on to describe in detail how TCNE is a potent unicorn killer, which makes it such a useful chemical. Figures included!!

3. Just Like Cooking See Arr Oh treats us to a description of some of the chemicals used in commercial sun screen formulations. See Arr Oh pays special attention to the molecule oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is very effective at blocking UV-A radiation and may help prevent DNA damage. But, there are studies showing that large amounts (more than we can apply to ourselves) can disrupt hormone regulation. There is already a good conversation going on in the comments thread!

4. The Safety Zone Russ shares his thoughts on OsO4. OsO4 has an OSHA exposure limit of 0.002 mg/m3 (500 times lower than mercury vapor). Yet this compound isn’t regulated as hazardous waste. Given the use of this compound in biological and medical imaging, this is quite surprising.