Category Archives: Chemistry and Toxicology

A Chemist looks at a major activist study about the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project and finds a hot mess

It is construction time again on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) and the activists are out in force. Interestingly, I saw that Dr. Tim Takaro was back in the news. This time he is up in a tree to try … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry and Toxicology, Pipelines, Trans Mountain, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Why public health officials advise against masks to protect from the Coronavirus – my thoughts using lessons learned from asbestos exposure

A heated debate has arisen about wearing masks in public to help protect against the Coronavirus. Our health authorities have been advising against general mask use but have not been very effective at explaining why general mask use is not … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry and Toxicology, Uncategorized | 14 Comments

I debunk yet another misleading CAPE article about fracking and BC LNG

As someone who specializes in evidence-based environmental decision-making, I am regularly disappointed by the dismal level of discourse in the environmental field. Organizations and individuals you would expect to provide useful insight end up doing exactly the opposite. No group … Continue reading

Posted in Canadian Politics, Chemistry and Toxicology, LNG, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

How understanding Type I and Type II errors and p-values helps in assessing the conclusions of the Ramazzini Institute 13-week pilot study on Glyphosate

As regular followers of this blog know, my graduate research involved developing systems to allow data collected by researchers to be evaluated for reliability and made available for subsequent re-use by other researchers. I carried out my research in an … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry and Toxicology, Risk, Risk Assessment Methodologies, Risk Communication, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A layman’s guide to the behaviour of diluted bitumen in a marine spill

Having listened to the arguments for and against the Energy East and the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) projects one of the things that really struck me was the low quality of the scientific knowledge used in the debates. In particular, … Continue reading

Posted in Canadian Politics, Chemistry and Toxicology, Energy East, Oil Sands, Pipelines, Trans Mountain, Uncategorized | 26 Comments

On Carbon Dioxide Toxicity

The other evening I became engaged in a fascinating discussion (for me) with a climate skeptic on the topic of carbon dioxide, specifically whether it was “toxic” or not. After that discussion I committed to do a write-up on the … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry and Toxicology, Risk, Uncategorized | 18 Comments

On chemical scare-mongering and science communication, it’s BPA’s turn this time

I have written numerous blog posts describing the miscommunication of human health risks posed by chemistry and chemicals; covering topics from gypsy-moth spray to synthetic soccer fields. Frankly the fact that I have an entire section of this blog dedicated … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry and Toxicology, Risk, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A cautionary tale about disconnecting theory from data in data analyses

In the modern era a new breed of scientist has emerged on the scene: data analysis specialists. Similarly there is a new breed of journalist called “data journalists” with my favourite being Chad Skelton, formerly of the Vancouver Sun. These … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry and Toxicology, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

On poor science communication in the media: a case study on the flu vaccine

This morning I was directed to a blog post by Bill Tieleman in The Tyee. The post dealt with the flu vaccine and was titled Time to End Expensive, Ineffective Forced Flu Shots. This is the latest of his, now … Continue reading

Posted in Canadian Politics, Chemistry and Toxicology, Risk, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Don’t fear the soccer pitch – on synthetic turf fields and risk communication

So my twitter feed exploded again. This time it was about the risks of synthetic turf fields to the kids in our soccer organization. The basis for this furor was a series of reports in The Province, CBC etc…. apparently … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry and Toxicology | 6 Comments