908, 2017
  • Chemical Concerns – Fipronil and the contaminated egg scandal 11-08

Chemical Concerns – Fipronil and the egg contamination scandal

August 9th, 2017|

Over the past few weeks, concern has been growing regarding the contamination of eggs for sale in a number of EU countries with the chemical Fipronil. Currently seven different countries have discovered contaminated eggs, and it has led to large number of eggs being withdrawn from sale. So, what is Fipronil, how has it gotten into eggs, and should consumers be worried?


308, 2017
  • Giant Hogweed Skin Burns Chemistry

The chemistry of Giant Hogweed and how it causes skin burns

August 3rd, 2017|

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Brushing past a plant in the undergrowth whilst out walking might sound fairly innocuous. In the case of Giant Hogweed, however, it’s anything but. This plant’s sap can cause burns and blistering after contact, and there’ve been an increasing number of articles warning of the danger it poses over the past few months. Here, we take a look at the chemical compounds behind the sap’s unpleasant effects. […]

2706, 2017
  • The Smelly Chemistry of the Titan Arum Corpse Flower

The Smelly Chemistry of the Titan Arum ‘Corpse Flower’

June 27th, 2017|

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Usually, you’d want to stay as far away as possible from a smell described variously as like ‘dead rat’, ‘mouldy bath mat’, or ‘cabbages and death’. However, the residents of Cambridge, UK, have been flocking to the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens over the past two days to sample this unpleasant sounding aroma for themselves. The explanation lies in the source of the smell: the rare occurrence of a Titan Arum plant flowering.


2803, 2017
  • The New Pound Coin Composition

What’s the new 12-sided £1 coin made of?

March 28th, 2017|

Today the new £1 coin is released in the UK. I threw a quick graphic together to take a look at what’s known about its composition and why it’s being introduced. 


2401, 2017
  • Chemical Concerns – Does Acrylamide Cause Cancer-

Chemical Concerns – Does Acrylamide in Toast & Roast Potatoes Cause Cancer?

January 24th, 2017|

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Acrylamide has been in the news this week, with the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) warning that eating overcooked potatoes, crisps, or burnt toast could increase your risk of developing cancer. Does this mean you should be consigning your toaster to the trash and avoiding roast potatoes with your roast dinner? This graphic assesses the realities of the risks.


711, 2016
  • 2,4-DNPH and controlled explosions

What is 2,4-DNPH and Why Are Schools Carrying Out Controlled Explosions?

November 7th, 2016|

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In the UK, school chemistry departments found themselves unexpectedly hitting the headlines last week due to a chemical used in A level chemistry practicals. The chemical involved was 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (2,4-DNPH) – so what is it and why the sudden spate of concern? This post and graphic takes a look at the chemical facts behind the stories.