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Need Chemical Information for the Public?

For those of us that work in the chemical enterprise, we are usually faced with skepticism when discussing chemical related  information.  Think about it - have you ever tried to explain what goes into the prices of a gallon of gasoline?  Or, why  solar energy is not being used at the level that the general public thinks it should be?  

For those who are not engaged in the chemical enterprise, there is always the underlying suspicion that "the oil companies are hiding these great ideas because it won't make them any money", or "they aren't telling us the truth because it would hurt profits", or "you are just saying that because you work for so-and-so company." 

Now of course, it is not just the oil companies or the mining companies that are coming under fire.  The large agribusinesses, pharmaceuticals, and any large corporation.  There are pushes for no "GMO", or specific labeling.  (Even though all the food we eat is to some degree GMO - just the old fashioned way.)

The issue is primarily about understanding the complexities of the science, the technology, the politics, and the economics.  People need information.  Even credible information is perceived with a bias.  This requires those of us who work and teach about these issues to be well versed about the information that is available, where perceived unbiased sources of information can be found, and be prepared to address misinformation.

The internet is a blessing and a curse.  It makes information readily accessible to a large number of people, the question is that information based in fact, is it skewed, or is it an opinion based on hearsay or faulty science?  Thus, it is important for each of us to be well informed, patient and have a tool box of information sources. 

Here is a great piece from Sense about Science which receives funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry (the UK's counterpart to the American Chemical Society) on "Making Sense of Chemical Stories".  Something for your bag of perceived unbiased information.

2 Comments to Need Chemical Information for the Public?:

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tuxedos on Thursday, October 09, 2014 8:43 PM
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