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100 Chemical Myths

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1. Misconceptions in general.- 1.1. Fear of the Unknown: Chemicals.- 1.2. Life as a Risky Business.- 1.3. Natural Products: a Delusion of Safety.- 1.4. Man-Made Commodities and Safety Issues.- 1.5. The Cholera Pandemonium: the Blind Leading the Blind.- 1.6. Regulating Chemicals: Maybe or Maybe Not.- 1.7. Biowaste: Biotechnology in Perspective.- 1.8. Ice Skating and the Science of Sliding.- 1.9. So What's Happening to the Ozone Hole?.- 1.10. Predicting the Elements: Success and Failure.- 1.11. Vedic Wisdom: Lead and Ayurveda.- 1.12. Manipulating Weather: Ocean Fertilization.- CHAPTER 2 - Food.- 2.1. Test Your Cranberry Pie: Vitamin C and Benzoates.- 2.2. Food Dyes: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.- 2.3. The Organic Vegetable Hype.- 2.4. "You're the One for Me, Fatty": Concocted Fats.- 2.5. Fat Matters: Margarine vs. Butter.- 2.6. Fake Food and Kidney Stones.- 2.7. The Coming Shortage: Vanilla and Menthol.- 2.8. Red Alert: Meat Colors.- 2.9. Moldy Business: Whole-Grain Cereals.- 2.10. Red Wine and the Vineyard Blues.- 2.11. Popeye's Spinach and the Search for Iron.- 2.12. The Perplexing Spice: Curry.- 2.13. Bigger the Better? The Alpha and Omega of Fatty Acids.- 2.14. Sweet as Birch: Xylitol.- 2.15. Bittersweet Effects: Grapefruit Seeds.- 2.16. Sweet Dreams without Sugar: Artificial Sweeteners.- 2.17. An Ointment for your Throat: The Secrets of Olive Oil.- 2.18. To Add or Not to Add? Food Additives.- 2.19. There's Salt, and then There's Salt.- 2.20. Sugar for Your Tea? White or Brown?.- 2.21. The Thickening Stuff: Guar Gum Gumbo.- 2.22. Is Caffeine Free of Risk?.- 2.23. The Biofuel Dilemma.- 2.24. Perfect Timing: Egg Cooking.- 2.25. Food Fraud: Then and Now.- CHAPTER 3 - Medicines.- 3.1. Are Generic Medicines the Same as the Original?.- 3.2. The Vitamin that Never was: B17.- 3.3. Joint Efforts: Glucosamine and Chondroitin.- 3.4. A Man's Drug of Choice: Testosterone.- 3.5. Doped Up and Ready to Win. Maybe.- 3.6. Can Placebos Heal?.- 3.7. Synthetic Drugs vs. Natural Herbs.- 3.8. Bitter, Stronger: Herbal Tea Sweeteners.- 3.9. Homeopathy: No Active Ingredient? No Side Effect?.- 3.10. Aromatherapy: Nice but Useless?.- 3.11. Innocent or Guilty? Chamomile.- 3.12. Depressed: Antidepressant Side Effects.- 3.13. Pre-Emptive Action: Vitamin C.- 3.14. Vitamin Megadosing: the Real Truth.- 3.15. Detox Hoax: Poison Removal from Your Body.- 3.16. Cloudy Dreams in Green: Absinthe.- 3.17. Is Green Tea Caffeine-Free?.- 3.18. Red Rice Remedy: Cholesterol Relief?.- 3.19. What Exactly Does Aloe Cure?.- 3.20. Island Pleasure for Businessmen: Noni.- 3.21. Castor Oil: a Painful Story.- 3.22. The Oldest Sugar-Free Candy: Licorice.- 3.23. Cannon Balls for Your Health: Antibiotics.- 3.24. Hearty Soybeans: Phytoestrogens.- 3.25. Willow Fever: Aspirin.- 3.26. Pill Secrets: the Efficiency of Drugs.- 3.27. In Quest of Active Ingredients: Herbs.- 3.28. Getting Rid of Acids: Alkaline Cures.- 3.29. "...upon the Face of the Waters": Mineral and Tap Water.- 3.30. The Illusive Qualities of Plant Preparations.- 3.31. The Antioxidant Story.- 3.32. Stomach Ache: Baking Soda.- 3.33. Does Hot Pepper Cause Ulcer?.- 3.34. Cocaine - Drug, Narcotic, or What?.- CHAPTER 4 - Catastrophes, Poisons, Chemicals.- 4.1. Is the Use of Cyanogen Bromide Forbidden in Hospitals?.- 4.2. Poison in Groundwater: Arsenic.- 4.3. Don't Touch the Spilled Mercury!.- 4.4. Was DDT of More Harm Than Use?.- 4.5. Could Dioxin be the Most Toxic Substance?.- 4.6. Was Napoleon Murdered with Arsenic?.- 4.7. The Resin Wars: Formaldehyde.- 4.8. The Great Hungarian Red Mud Deluge.- 4.9. Death in a Single Grain.- 4.10. A Closer Look at Acids.- 4.11. O, the Fresh Smell of Ozone.- 4.12. The Diamond Thermometer.- 4.13. Everlasting Love: Diamonds.- 4.14. Is pH 5.5 Neutral?.- 4.15. Sorrel Soup Scare: Oxalic Acid.- 4.16. The Mysteries of Magnetism.- 4.17. Water: the Extravagant Liquid.- 4.18. Fire in Space.- 4.19. Is Natural Gas Toxic?.- 4.20. Respiratory Affairs: Carbon Dioxide.- 4.21. The True Death Toll of Chernobyl.- 4.22. Were There Nuclear Explosions in Chernobyl or Fukushima?.- 4.23. What Was the Gulf War Syndrome?.- 4.24. The Strange Case of Bisphenol A.- 4.25. Death in the Danube: Cyanide Spills.- 4.26. Sparkling Cyanide: the Ultimate Poison?.- 4.27. Poly... What? Plastics vs. Natural Materials.- 4.28. The Difference between a Rose and a Cornflower.- 4.29. The Erin Brockovich Mystery: Chromium Salts.- Glossary of terms.- Sources and further reading.- Picture and figure credits.- Subject index.

About the Author

Dr. Lajos Kovacs University of Szeged Department of Medicinal Chemistry Dom ter 8 6720 Szeged Hungary Dr. Dezso Csupor University of Szeged Institute of Pharmacognosy Eoetvoes u. 6 6720 Szeged Hungary Dr. Gabor Lente University of Debrecen Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry Egyetem ter 1 4010 Debrecen Hungary Prof. Tamas Gunda University of Debrecen Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Egyetem ter 1 4010 Debrecen Hungary


Selected by Choice magazine as an "Outstanding Academic Title" for 2015 "100 Chemical Myths ... entertainingly explains in spirited stories the misconceptions and misunderstandings embalmed within the discipline of chemistry, which have so often made it little more than alchemy. ... the authors have thoughtfully compiled a 30-page annotated bibliography to accompany their 100 myths, giving voice and validity to their stories. ... Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." (L. W. Fine, Choice, Vol. 52 (8), April, 2015) "100 Chemical Myths - Misconceptions, Misunderstandings, Explanations will come in handy for most of the commonly-asked questions. ... Over approximately 400 pages, the authors ... tackled a huge variety of such myths, debunking some of them and explaining others. ... for a life scientist it makes a delightful, satisfying read ... ." (Julia Eckhoff, Lab Times, Issue 4, August, 2016) "It provides a comprehensive collection of explanations for occurrences all around us. It is a valuable resource for updating our background knowledge on day-to-day subjects. This book can be recommended both for the bookshelf of every scientist and as an attractive gift for everybody with common sense and some scientific interest." (Reiner Salzer, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Vol. 407 (13), May, 2015) "In their book, first published in Hungarian in 2011 and now available in English, Lajos Kovacs and colleagues set out to debunk 100 such myths and misconceptions. ... many of the chapters come across as collections of scientific facts on vaguely consumer-relevant topics such as food additives or medicines. ... the book is handy as a reference for those who have doubts concerning a particular viral factoid or who want to cure others of specific misconceptions." (Michael Gross, Chemistry World, rsc.org, January, 2015) "This excellent book indeed covers 100 `myths' in chemistry and related sciences. ... Organized by chapter, source references as well as references for further reading are shown at the end of the book. ... Highly recommended for a wide variety of audiences." (Robert E. (Bob) Buntrock, Chemical Information Bulletin, Vol. 67 (3), 2015)

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