The Sceptical Chymist | Blogroll: Friends and foes

Published in Chemistry

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Editor’s note: As we continue to invite bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column, Justin Brower penned the January 2015 column.


Battling pseudoscience and chemophobia with knowledge and education.

When there are concerns about chemicals and the foods we eat, chemophobia usually runs rampant. More information about what we eat is a good thing. Pushing an agenda using pseudoscience, dubious sources and a fear of chemicals is not. Fortunately, analytical chemist Yvette Guinevere, writing as Science Babe, has taken it upon herself to address a popular series of unscientific food claims by “using science to rip them to shreds”.

A more sensible way of looking at the chemicals in the foods that we eat would be to learn from those who actually understand and practice the science behind them. We call these people scientists, and a group of them from UCLA have banded together to write the blog Science & Food. Topics range from how proteins denature to achieve the perfect soft-boiled egg, to the chemicals and mechanisms responsible for the flavours of fresh, cooked and dried ginger.

Science isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, however, and any complete education should include the deleterious effects that may arise from ingesting certain chemicals. ForensicToxGuy — unsurprisingly a forensic toxicologist — blogs at The Dose Makes the Poison and tackles the chemistry and toxicology surrounding the newest waves of designer drugs. Of particular interest to him are synthetic cannabinoids, which thanks to their ‘alphabet-soup’ nomenclature, confound doctors, scientists and legislatures alike. If you’ve ever wondered what ADB-CHMINACA is, here’s your chance to find out.

Both friends and foes, chemicals simply exist. Everywhere. But discerning between the good and the bad requires education by those skilled in the field, and these blogs are not a bad place to start.

Written by Justin Brower, who blogs at


[As mentioned in this post, we’re posting the monthly blogroll column here on the Sceptical Chymist. This is the January 2015 article]

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