As scientists and engineers work to produce products that make people’s lives easier and safer, there is the possibility that these new products could have negative consequences on individuals and the environment. In this lab, you will select 1 of the chemicals listed below and learn about its role in improving lives, as well as the potential unintended consequences it may have.

Chemicals of concern (select only 1 to research):

  • Brominated flame retardants are added to plastics and fabrics to make them more flame-resistant. This chemical is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Cadmium is an element known as a heavy metal. It is used in batteries, paints, and plastics. It is regulated by the U.S. EPA.
  • Phthalates are chemicals added to plastics to make them more flexible and are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical that is added to plastics to harden them, while keeping them light. It is regulated by the U.S. FDA.

300–500 words that respond to the following questions with your research. Be substantive and clear, and use examples to reinforce your ideas.

  • What role does your chemical play in the modern world?
  • What are some possible detrimental health effects that are associated with the chemical you selected?
  • Explain the position of the U.S. FDA or EPA regarding your selected chemical. In the above list, you will see which of these two agencies regulates your selected chemical.
  • What is the position of your state government regarding your selected chemical?
  • Do you feel that your chemical should be more tightly regulated in the United States? Why or why not?
    • Would label requirements be enough?
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