Category: May / 2017

How much pee is in the pool?

With the good weather finally here, we’ve been thinking of heading to the swimming pool.  And then we recalled the report earlier this year from the University of Alberta that detected a soft-drink sweetener in public pool water.  No – it was not just a spilled beverage.  Acesulfame K (ACE) passes unchanged into urine so finding ACE in public pools and hot tubs is a marker for how much peeing is going on.  A lot it turns out – they found ACE in all the pools and hot tubs they tested.  Not so sweet.
Or if you are thinking about heading to the river instead, there is ACE there too.  Not only does ACE pass though people, it passes through waste-water treatment plants.

Canadian Mineral Analysts Conference – September 10-14, 2017

The 2017 CMA Conference will be held in Kamloops, BC, on September 10th to the 14th at the Coast Hotel & Conference Centre. Workshops include the topics of traceability and method validation.  Conference tours include local laboratories and the New Afton underground gold mine.

Registration forms for the conference are now available.   Registrants that would like to present a technical paper, can download a submission form. Information about the CMA is on-line.


High school chemistry in the news

A class of Australian students has reinvented the synthesis of the drug Daraprim as a class project.  Daraprim is the HIV drug at the center of the drug pricing storm that blew up during the 2016 US election after Turing Pharmaceuticals increased the price fifty-fold.  Although the students’ sample is chemically identical to Daraprim, it has a new synthesis so would require full safety testing and regulatory approval to get to market. Sad.

Seven high school chemistry labs in the UK were recently visited by the bomb squad to deal with an incorrectly stored chemical used by students.  DNPH or dinitrophenyl hydrazine is usually stored with water because it is explosive when dried.  The schools involved uncovered the problem as part of a national review of chemical storage at schools.   DNPH is used for a color test to identify classes of chemicals in samples as part of chemists’ puzzle-solving training – a colorless DNPH solution makes a bright yellow solid when it contacts specific compounds.  Elementary.



Nanolytica 2017@SFU Thursday May 4, 2017

PerkinElmer and Simon Fraser University are providing a free symposium that brings together industrial, government, and academic researchers to discuss developments, challenges and future opportunities at the interface of the analytical sciences and nanotechnology.
Thursday, May 4th, 2017; 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM
Simon Fraser University Leslie & Gordon Diamond Family Auditorium, Burnaby Campus
8888 University Dr., Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6
Registration and further information: Nanolytica-2017@SFU