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ACS in the News - January 12, 2010

ACS in the News - January 12, 2010

'ACS in the News' publishes daily articles from newspapers, blogs and magazines about the American Chemical Society and its 38 peer-reviewed journals. Full-text links to the articles below can also be found in the attached document.

New York Times (New York, N.Y.: daily circulation 928,000)
“Coal Is Linked to Cancer in China Province”
January 11, 2010

Nonsmoking women in an area of China’s Yunnan province die of lung cancer at a rate 20 times that of their counterparts in other regions of the country — and higher than anywhere else in the world. A group of scientists now say they have a possible explanation: the burning of coal formed during volcanic eruptions hundreds of millions of years ago. Coal in that part of China contains high concentrations of silica, a suspected carcinogen, the scientists reported in a recent edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Like others in rural China, the families of Xuanwei County use coal for heat and for cooking. As the coal burns, particles of silica are released with the vapor and inhaled. Women, who do the cooking, face the greatest exposure.

CBC News Now (Toronto, Canada: daily audience 10 million)
“Eyeliner staved off diseases?”
January 8, 2010, click thumbnail in attached document to play video

A new study published in the journal Analytical Chemistry today suggests that thick black liner made famous by Cleopatra herself, of course Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 film “Cleopatra,” may have actually helped prevent against eye disease. Lead salt in the eye liner apparently helped prevent eye disease. What they did was they used a tiny electrode, 1/10th of the width of a human hair, to see what effect the lead chloride salt had on a single cell. What they found out is that it stimulated an immune response in the cell, and from that they were able to determine that the Egyptians probably did this on purpose, put the lead in the make-up to stimulate this immune response which helped fend off eye disease.

MSNBC (New York, N.Y.: 3.1 million monthly unique users)
“Toxic goo tracked from parking lots into homes”
January 11, 2010

Chemicals in a cancer-causing substance used to seal pavement, parking lots and driveways across the U.S. are showing up at alarming levels in dust in homes, prompting concerns about the potential health effects of long-term exposure, a new study shows. The substance is coal tar sealant, a waste product of steel manufacturing that is used to protect pavement and asphalt against cracking and water damage, and to impart a nice dark sheen. It is applied most heavily east of the Rockies but is used in all 50 states. The scientists’ published their research Monday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The research, which examined both parking lot dust and dust tracked into homes, focused on a class of chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which are a significant component of coal tar.

Science360 News Service (Arlington, Va.: 119,800 monthly unique users)
“Egyptian Eyeliner May Have Warded Off Disease”
January 12, 2010, ‘New in the Journals & Magazines: Science’ section

Clearly, ancient Egyptians didn't get the memo about lead poisoning. Their eye makeup was full of the stuff. Although today we know that lead can cause brain damage and miscarriages, the Egyptians believed that lead-based cosmetics protected against eye diseases. Now, new research suggests that they may have been on to something. Previous work indicates that the Egyptians added lead to their cosmetics on purpose… The researchers hypothesized that the lead would stress the cells and cause them to make hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, and other compounds involved in the body's immune response. And indeed, cells treated with lead began pumping out more nitric oxide than did control cells, the team reports online in Analytical Chemistry.

Science360 News Service (Arlington, Va.: 119,800 monthly unique users)
“Science Elements: How Food Aromas Could Combat the Battle of the Bulge”
January 12, 2010, ‘New today on Science360 radio’ section

A real possibility does exist for developing a new generation of foods that make people feel full by releasing anti-hunger aromas during chewing, scientists in the Netherlands are reporting after a review of research on that topic. Such foods would fight the global epidemic of obesity with aromas that quench hunger and prevent people from overeating. Their article appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Reuters (New York, N.Y.: “viewed by more than 1 billion monthly”)
“Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society Selects Richard N. Zare for the Theodore William Richards Medal Recipient for 2010”
January 11, 2010

Richard N. Zare, the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford University has been selected to receive the 2010 Theodore William Richards (TWR) Medal for Conspicuous Achievement in Chemistry from the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society (NESACS). The Richards Medal, named for the first Nobel laureate in Chemistry from the United States, is the Section`s oldest and most prestigious award. Professor Zare is being honored for his development of sensitive optical techniques for chemical analysis. According to Dr. Roy Gordon, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University and Chair of the Richards Medal Selection Committee, the Selection Committee recognized that Zare`s techniques "have been applied to many different disciplines, from studies of fundamental chemical reactions, to chemical analysis of compartments within a cell, to the chemical analysis of heterogeneous features in particulates and meteorites; spanning the disciplines of chemistry, biology, and astrophysics.

Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio: daily circulation 206,320)
“ACS National Chemistry Week Poster Winner”
January 11, 2010

Congratulations to Julia Dean, 3rd grader at The Summit Country Day School in Mrs. Stacey Remke’s class for her first place win at the 2009 National Chemistry Week Poster Competition. The first place winners along with their teachers and parents will be honored as guests of the local section at the Awards Banquet dinner /meeting on April 14, 2010, at the Northern Kentucky University.

… From the Blogs
“Nanodragsters hit the street”
January 11, 2010

Chemists are building better and better nanomachines, the latest of which is a nanodragster—named for its characteristic hot-rod shape—with small wheels on a short axle in the front and large wheels on a long axle in the back… The nanodragster design is the latest in a series of molecular machines built by Rice University scientists. Their recent work, reported in the American Chemical Society journal Organic Letters, is another step toward functional nanomachines that can be custom-built and set to work in microelectronics and other applications.

“Market watchers predict more mega-M&A”
January 11, 2010

Think the pharma megamerger is done ... over ... finito? Think again. Some analysts and money men are saying that the drug industry is still ripe for consolidation. After all, no one company has more than 8 percent of the global market for prescription drugs. And given that market shares are in the single digits, says noted venture capitalist G. Steven Burrill of Burrill & Co., "That would generally indicate that we have a ways to go on consolidation." Yep, says Simon King, a senior analyst at Datamonitor. He told Chemical & Engineering News, "There's definitely a couple of large M&A events left in Big Pharma."