• To See a Molecule

    Molecules are pretty small. If one could see them, it might be easier to diagnose some problems. When someone develops liver cancer, the disease introduces a very subtle difference to their bloodstream, increasing the concentration of a particular molecule by just 10 parts per billion. That small shift is difficult to detect without sophisticated lab equipment – but perhaps not for long. A new "lab on a chip" designed by Brigham Young University professor Adam Woolley and his students reveals the presence of ultra-low concentrations of a target molecule. As the BYU researchers report in the journal Analytical Chemistry, their experiments detected as little as a single nanogram – one billionth of a gram – of the target molecule from a drop of liquid. And instead of sending the sample to a lab for chemical analysis, the chip allows them to measure with such precision using their own eyes. >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers Emphasize the Need to Monitor Rivers for Triclosan

    Ever heard of triclosan? As an antibacterial and antifungal agent, it is used in everything from toothpaste, to soaps, socks and trash bags. While the US Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the European Union all regulate triclosan, the chemical is not monitored and often gets absorbed into sewage sludge after wastewater treatment. Researchers from Germany and Slovakia are claiming that triclosan is harmful to the ecology of rivers and are calling for further monitoring of the chemical. After monitoring the Elbe river basin, concentrations of the chemical at various test sites were found to exceed the predicted no-effect concentration for algal communities. From the 500 river basin-specific pollutants investigated, triclosan ranked sixth as one of the most particularly harmful substances in Europe. >> Read the Full Article
  • Study Reveals High Levels of Formaldehyde in Child Day Care Centers

    In a comprehensive survey conducted by University of California (UC), Berkeley, researchers analyzed the indoor environmental quality of day care centers. In general, the results were similar to most indoor environments except for formaldehyde. This and several other contaminants were found to exceed California state health guidelines. The source is believed to be the cleaning and sanitizing products and furniture coatings. >> Read the Full Article