The Chemical Structure of the Anti-Fungal Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

Chemistry, Health
Ever purchased wipes or some other product that was labeled hypoallergenic? Why did the label say that? Hypoallergenic is defined as: relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. So all the ingredients in such a product must have a well-established safety record. Even if a few individuals experience difficulty, it would be mild, perhaps superficial. There is a compound that, despite being hypoallergenic, fights mold successfully. Its name? Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate. The achieved objective requires only a very slight amount of IPBC. Effective at minimal concentrations and water-soluble, IPBC is a cost-effective anti-fungal preservative. A Closer Look at IPBC Notice the chemical structure of iodopropynyl butylcarbamate in the illustration. The portion of the molecule encircled by green is the carbamate portion of the molecule. It is a derivative of carbamic acid…
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Perfluorooctanesulfonates – Beneficial, Yet Pervasive, Problematic

Health, Technology
Perflurooctanesulfonates or PFOs are simple compounds, not found in nature. They are derivatives of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. Their chemical structure includes atoms of carbon, fluorine, sulfur, and oxygen. Various ways of writing the acid's formula are seen in the illustration, top to bottom – the simplest to the most complex, followed by a ball-and-stick model. Commercial Sales Search for the acid online, and you will find it. It can be purchased as the free acid. However, it is also sold in compound form, such as the tetramethylammonium or tetraethylammonium salts. Useful? There's no question these substances are useful. Consider this... The structure of this acid is not unlike the chemical structure of Teflon®. Teflon is slippery stuff. Teflon, however, is a solid. What if a similar, only soluble, substance could be…
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Xylitol – A Natural Artificial Sweetener

Food, Health
Most of us are familiar with xylitol because the label on our chewing gum boasts it is sugar-free¹, using xylitol in its place. This so-called artificial sweetener is prepared industrially by the catalytic hydrogenation of xylose. Xylose itself is a sugar. It may be isolated from wood. Xylitol is not decomposed in the mouth by bacteria. It is not well-absorbed in the small intestine. Hence, it is less of a threat to the diabetic and does not add to the dentist's paycheck. In the Mouth [caption id="attachment_26073" align="alignright" width="238"] Streptococcus mutans[/caption] In a person's mouth, Streptococcus mutans bacteria consumes reactive sugar (usually sucrose or table sugar), releasing in its place, carboxylic acids. Over time, the acid environment damages teeth. Xylitol is not a reactive sugar, meaning the acids are not…
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Algae, Seafood and Domoic Acid: Should You Be Concerned?

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_24898" align="alignright" width="480"] Steamed mussels - yum![/caption] You are aware that an asp is a poisonous serpent or snake. Cleopatra died from the poison of an asp. But there is another kind of "asp". This kind is an acronym for Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. What's that? Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning As its name implies, amnesic shellfish poisoning is a marine-related illness. It results from consuming domoic acid, an organic acid neurotoxin produced by algae. The algae is eaten by such marine creatures as shellfish, sardines and anchovies. It is theorized a major factor in the increase of such poisonings due to a corresponding increase in algal blooms, apparently fueled by climate change. One recently discovered important source of toxic algal blooms is the phytoplankton pseudo-nitzschia. How Serious a Problem? The algae…
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Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream: What’s the Difference?

Food, Health
You shop often at your local grocery store, and you're pretty well acquainted with what they carry. Even if it threw you for a loop at first, you learned the difference between baking soda and baking powder. In time, you even learned what gefilte fish was! Your grocery list today includes cream for use in a dessert topping. You head to the dairy section and see assorted cartons of milk, half and half, light cream, and... heavy cream and whipping cream. Hmm. Which one do you buy What's the difference between them? Both Work Generally speaking, both whipping cream and heavy cream will achieve the desired result. In fact, some brands have taken to more specific labeling to better identify what they are. Some companies have chosen to say their…
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Manufacturing Polyurethane Involves Diisocyanates: How Dangerous?

Chemistry, Health
You almost can't escape from it. In one form or other, it is nearly everywhere. What is that? Polyurethane. We will focus on polyurethane in furniture refinishing. Then we will discuss its manufacture, and how its manufacture is so dangerous. Furniture Refinishing Before Polyurethane When I was young, I assisted my father in refinishing furniture. First, we'd strip the old finish off. Then, we'd rub the piece with fine very sandpaper. But that wasn't good enough. So we followed that up by polishing the surface with clean, dry, soap-less steel wool. Next, we'd apply a choice stain with a cotton rag such as an old torn T-shirt. Once that dried, we'd apply a coating of shellac. Once that was completely dry, we varnished. However, a coating of varnish produced to…
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Better Living through Chemistry? Organophosphates

Chemistry, Health
[caption id="attachment_24277" align="alignright" width="590"] Organic chemistry: esterification of carboxylic acids.[/caption] As the world became more sophisticated, a philosophy sprouted declaring the problems plaguing mankind would one day be resolved via education. A popular slogan developed by one manufacturing giant suggested their products could assist one to better living through chemistry. But what of organophosphates – potentially dangerous pesticides? Better Living through Chemistry In some ways, the world is a better place due to the aid of chemists. Perhaps, though, the opposite could be said with equal fervor. Chemistry has also degraded quality of life in some respects. You don’t have to think long to find an illustration of this – consider the use of phosgene and mustard gas during times of war. In peaceful times as well, chemists unwittingly caused…
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Store-Bought Potatoes Treated with Eye-Growth Inhibitor

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_23951" align="alignright" width="480"] Would you purchase potatoes full of eyes? Image by ostephy[/caption] Probably, you pick up a can of food to read the label. You may wish to see what the ingredients are. You are either satisfied or not, so you either put the can in your cart, or back on the shelf. Sometimes though, there is no list of ingredients. Like when you buy an apple. If the apple is very shiny, you probably suspect the apple has been waxed. But there are times when you cannot visibly determine what has been applied to a food item. Such is the case when you purchase a potato. Are you aware that after harvesting, the potatoes were given a chemical spray? After all, the potatoes may be in storage…
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Giant Hogweed: The Truly Horrible Plant with Redeeming Qualities?

Health, Medicine
[caption id="attachment_23846" align="alignright" width="480"] Attractive, after a fashion, the Giant Hogweed. Image MabelAmber[/caption] The Giant Hogweed is a hot topic in the United Kingdom, and now also in the United States. Have you personally “experienced” the Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum? We’re not speaking of Heracleum sphondylium, the Common Hogweed, no. Giant Hogweed has a horrific reputation, and is widely considered a noxious weed. Its reputation has taken it from the hospital and the laboratory to detective TV. For instance, Giant Hogweed is the weapon of choice in the Rosemary & Thyme pilot episode entitled, “And No Birds Sing.” Giant Hogweed Toxins The chemicals in Giant Hogweed that provide its sordid reputation are furanocoumarins – or (for short) furocoumarins. This name is derived from the characteristic two ring portions they share…
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Is Eating Beef Liver Bad for You? Or is That an “Old Scientist’s” Tale?

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_23806" align="alignright" width="480"] Fried beef liver. Image courtesy of Lani Cooks, all rights reserved, used with permission.[/caption] “And in this corner…” so starts the boxing match. But, what does that have to do with liver? It illustrates people’s feelings about fried liver. They migrate to one corner or the other in a food boxing match. They love it or they hate it. What’s the chemistry of liver – and how does it impact your health? For liver to have any effect at all, you have to actually take a bite – so let’s first consider some of the typical statements people make about this food. First, let's consider those people who stick up their nose at the mere mention of fried beef liver. Those Who Stick Up Their Nose…
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