Last week, scientists and regulators from more than 20 countries gathered in San Francisco to discuss the latest research on flame retardants. The conference lasted four days, but the theme of the meeting was clear from just a few talks: Do we need toxic chemicals to achieve fire safety?
The Supreme Court is hearing a case on a key question: can you patent a human gene?
The building blocks of life on Earth may have originated in space.
You should discuss with your doctor or pharmacist whether ingesting grapefruit could cause an unintentional drug overdose. Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice affects how the body metabolizes certain drugs, and the number of drugs that adversely interact with grapefruit has increased according to new research results.
From the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to killer whales, bicycles to cheese — it's been another year of diverse storytelling from the KQED Science and Environment team. Here's a round-up of the top 10 stories shared on our website (based on page views) that you've enjoyed in 2012.
Last June, Gov. Jerry Brown directed state agencies to change California's flammability standard to ensure fire safety without dousing furniture and other foam products with toxic chemicals. Now activists are focusing on an even bigger market for flame retardants: foam insulation in buildings.
Countless consumer products sold in California contain a flame retardant flagged as a possible carcinogen nearly 35 years ago. As of this week, finally, they must carry a warning that the chemical causes cancer. But is it enough when manufacturers simply replace one toxic chemical with another?
Chemists want to reengineer metabolic proteins and pathways in microbes so they can convert sugar into commodity chemicals. Now a mutant protein found in cancer cells provides clues to help scientists improve a protein that could help microbes create a precursor to nylon. In science, as in so much of life, inspiration can come from unusual places.
Scientists say the waters off the West Coast could be hit hard by ocean acidification, but thanks to the natural conditions, it's a good place to study how ocean species might adapt.
Superhydrophobic surfaces enable simple water-based data storage and logic.
Most of our plastics come from petroleum-based chemicals. Now, thanks to engineered microbes, similar materials might be made using food waste from Starbucks.
Scientists are looking for elements and molecules that signify life as we know it. But even if they don’t find those molecules, minerals contain important information about the Martian environment. That could help scientists determine if life could have survived on the planet.
A new ordinance in Alameda County requires the pharmaceutical industry to pay for disposal of extra medicine. The regulation is part of a larger movement to shift responsibility for waste disposal from local governments to companies that make products like paint, medicine and batteries.
The source of the stench in crushed “stinkspar” is a 200-year old mystery. Solving this puzzle took a mixture of old-fashioned chemical analysis and modern instruments.
Conserving delicate artwork requires knowing what paints and techniques were used to create a piece. A new imaging technique helps restorers look at the pigments in frescos even while visitors are enjoying the works in a gallery.