Monday, July 8, 2013

This week's C&EN

Lots of interesting stuff in this week's C&EN:
"Information not claimed as confidential can be made available to interested parties in a number of ways, including through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Most FOIA requests to EPA are made by companies, many of which are overseas, not curious members of the public, Newton points out. “In many cases, the confidentiality of chemical identity is all a specialty chemical producer has to remain in business,” he remarks. “The highly specialized nature of the chemistry performed by our sector makes our members particularly vulnerable.”
Count me a little skeptical (if the company wants to find out what's in your stuff, getting a sample and doing some testing seems to be more straightforward, no?). That said, an interesting point.


  1. For certain types of chemicals, such as specialty surfactants or chemicals used in electronics manufacturing, there is only one source of the chemical - the company that developed it. They don't sell on the open market; they only sell to their industrial customers. So, a competitor is unable to (legally) buy the chemical in question.
    That being said, the purpose of FOIA requests is not to aid a company in their efforts to uncover their competitors' trade secrets. FOIA requests are meant to benefit the public in some way.

  2. Perhaps it's as simple as that Dow has only killed one-eleventh of a human being, which would make them 11x safer than UCLA.