Remedial Chemistry

Sorry, I got interested in some citizens blogs dealing with chemistry which got me to thinking about chemistry. A say “sorry” because I know that for many, chemistry is not the greatest topic; on top of that, some of my thoughts are not very great.  However, we do know that there is a lot of chemistry in our lives and we are usually aware that their effects on us are bad and good, and a lot in between.

As I thought of chemistry, I remembered how I had mixed “ingredients” in lots of little bottles I had collected when not much more than a toddler.

Next, I thought about my experiments with alcohol when I was about eight, and much older.

After that, I remembered a rather nice chemistry-set which my parents got for me when I was about eleven. My younger brothers got deeply into it before I had explored it much. My little brothers ate much of their “experiments.” I might have had hopes that those experiments of theirs might lead to really terrible stomachaches.

Then came to mind a time that I was looking for a classroom in a high school new to me. In the course of this process, I walked into and saw on the wall there a chart which I made no sense of. Next, I saw a teacher sitting at his desk and asked him about the chart. He told me it was the periodic tables. I asked, “Of what?” He said “Chemical elements.” I thanked him and as I walked out I thought “No chemistry for me.” I had forgotten to ask for the class was looking for.

But …….. chemistry effects all of us and we do have some responsibility for our own well-being.

As I glanced through an article on, on I guess, the ecology of chemistry, I began to think “toxic,” toxic chemicals. Sorry.

Then the questions began to come:

  • How toxic?
  • How do I find out which chemicals and compounds are toxic?
  • How can I find out about the toxicity of the chemicals in my life? Our lives?
  • Why does it seem difficult to find out how chemicals are affecting me?
  • Who can help me to get the facts straight?
  • New chemical compounds come on the market every year. Who has the vital info about them?
  • How can I find out how new compounds are interacting with other chemicals in my environment?
  • Which of the chemicals my fellow men have put around me are damaging my health
  • How will we find out how toxic a give chemical is? What is the nature of the toxicity?
  • What happens to toxicity when one toxic compound is added to another such compound?
  • Who wants to confuse us about the facts?
  • Who wants to keep us from the facts, or the facts from us?
  • What do we want? Need? Deserve?
  • What are the symptoms of chemical toxicities?
  • What are the available antidotes?
  • How can we find out how a chemical concoction is best used?
  • Is there an effective and less toxic substitute?
  • How are we determining sound environmental practices?


I bet you have questions about concocted compounds in our environment. I know I have more. I bet others have questions too. I bet others have found some easy ways to get some useful answers. I bet some are willing to share the answers and information they have gathered. Is there an organization we can join that will help us to get the information we need to keep our families, our fellow citizens, and our selves healthy?

We have a lot to learn together.

We could organize some useful information here beginning in our comments section.

Should I write on this subject again I will try to provide more answers and fewer questions. Still, the right question can be a powerful aid.


by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill



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