The push to disinfect and reuse disposable PPE

CHEMISTRY FOR HEALTH

The toll of pandemic-related plastic waste from discarded PPE is mounting at an alarming rate. Health Canada estimates that between June 2020 and June 2021, 63,000 tons of COVID-19 related PPE will end up as landfill waste. Researchers are investigating possibilities for disinfecting and reusing single-use PPE, including medical gloves and hospital gowns.

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New anti-psychotic nasal spray could ease side effects

CHEMISTRY FOR HEALTH

Sneaking medications past our bodies’ blood-brain barrier has always been tricky. McMaster University chemical engineer Todd Hoare recently teamed up with a group of neuroscientist colleagues to make an antipsychotic nasal spray that does just that. The spray could reduce the drug’s often nasty side effects, including weight gain, diabetes, movement disorders and organ damage.

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“Buttergate” puts palm oil supplements on the stand

LEARN

When Calgary-based food writer Julie Van Rosendaal asked followers in a social media post last month whether they too were finding butter was no longer soft at room temperature, her “buttergate” musings went viral. But the questions she raised about butter’s chemistry were perhaps just as intriguing as the media storm she unleashed.

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Connecting the dots between sex, gender, and chemicals

CHEMISTRY FOR HEALTH

Environmental contaminants can have different effects on women and men. The International Pollutants Elimination Network recently connected the dots between sex, gender, and chemicals with its report about the distinct effects of chemicals on women. It found women are disproportionally impacted by exposure to chemicals and have less access to participation in decision making.

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New life-saving medical isotopes

CHEMISTRY FOR HEALTH

In 1971, U.S. researchers published a proof-of-concept showing how a cyclotron could produce the world’s most commonly used medical isotope. For the next four decades, the paper sat on a shelf. In 2009, University of British Columbia radiologist Dr. François Bénard dusted it off and thought, ‘Why not try to develop that technology?’

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Raising a stink

CHEMISTRY FOR ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

When something fails to pass the ‘sniff test’ – whether it’s a plan of action or the milk in the back of the fridge – it’s often best to leave it be. But when it comes to unpleasant odours in the air, we don’t have much choice. We have to breathe.

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Science-based decision-making

ENVIRONMENT

Chemist partners with City of Kitchener on innovative air pollution study It’s not every day a chemist gets to directly affect government policy. So Wilfrid Laurier University chemistry Professor Hind Al-Abadleh, MCIC, is understandably excited about her school-based air pollution study in Kitchener. Al-Abadleh launched a pilot air-quality monitoring project earlier in 2020 in partnership with...

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Medical masks that kill the COVID-19 virus

CHEMISTRY FOR HEALTH

Researchers put anti-microbial mask coatings to the test. Triiodide, salt, and graphene-nano silver take their turn on the lab bench. Face masks with COVID-fighting coatings may be the next frontier in PPE. At least one such mask is available commercially in Canada – using a triiodide coating – and researchers are investigating the virus-busting powers...

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Meeting a viral challenge

Laboratories around the world are racing to understand COVID-19, the potentially lethal virus that has upended everything from our personal lifestyles to the underpinnings of the global economy. Such work is also taking place in David Evans’ lab at the University of Alberta, where he contrasts the public perception of it with research he conducted...

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Innovating along a linear path

It has been a decade since the world grappled with the challenge posed by Canada’s aging nuclear reactor, the NRU, which at one point was producing almost half of the global supply of Molybdenum 99, an isotope used in millions of medical scans every year. The reactor was finally retired in 2018, but a concerted...

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