With summer comes mosquitoes and our desire to keep them away from us. The most common repellents are based on the chemical DEET, which unfortunately has been found to have several health and safety problems. Up to 15% of DEET is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream. Diethyl-meta-toluamide, the chemical name for DEET, has been shown to have a variety of toxic effects. Fortunately, it turns out that there are some natural alternatives which may be as effective as DEET, or possibly even more effective than DEET in keeping mosquitoes away from us.
A newly released report by the United Nations takes a strong stance against the use of industrial agrochemicals, saying that they are not necessary for feeding the world. The continued use of pesticides at the rate the world currently does in fact can have very detrimental consequences.
Much has been made of the dangers of eating fast food. Certainly, its high fat, sodium, and calorie content calls for moderating its role in our diets. But a recent study has found that even the packaging that the food comes in might present health hazards.
Spider silk – the protein fiber spun by spiders to make webs, nests, cocoons, and wrapping for prey that they stash away – is a remarkable substance. Its mechanical properties combine high tensile strength and high extensibility or ductility. This allows spider silk to absorb a lot of energy before breaking. It is stronger than steel, but not as strong as Kevlar, for example. On the other hand, it is tougher than either.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process in which water, chemicals and sand are injected at high pressure to split apart rock thousands of feet below Earth’s surface and release oil or natural gas. And it’s a controversial practice.
Globally, 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies, are facing extinction. And since approximately three-quarters of the world’s food crops depend on pollination, the decline of these pollinators could pose a threat to food security around the globe.
Many of us like to have houseplants. They add a bit of nature to our homes and they look nice. It turns out that they have health advantages as well.