Throughout our lives, chemistry plays a key role in keeping us healthy. Today we’re living healthier and longer lives—more than 30 years longer over the past century—thanks in large part to innovations made possible by the business of chemistry.
And the future holds new breakthroughs, from shelf stable “plastic” blood that mimics hemoglobin...to artificial skin that lets prosthetic wearers sense touch and temperature...to nanotechnologies that deliver custom designed drugs based on a patient's DNA. All made possible by chemistry.
Chemistry and Health Care:
- Chemotherapy and other drugs now are delivered more accurately on plastic patches and dissolving discs, and nanotechnology can deliver drugs to specific cells.
- Premature babies are kept safe and warm in plastic incubators.
- Vaccines have eradicated once crippling diseases.
- Medical devices such as pacemakers and blood bags save lives every day.
- Lifesaving medicines help us combat disease and live longer.
- Diabetics readily test their blood sugar levels with a simple chemical test.
Chemistry and Safe, Abundant Food and Water:
- Food growers use chemistry to apply fertilizers that deliver essential nutrients to soil, resulting in a wholesome, abundant food supply—without fertilizers, the world food supply would shrink by one-third!
- Food growers also use chemical compounds to eradicate a plethora of disease-carrying pests that compete for our food supply.
- The World Health Organization estimates that diseases associated with dirty water kill at least 6,000 people every day. Chlorine chemistry is the most effective weapon against waterborne bacteria and viruses—that’s why water treatment facilities across the world rely on this basic element to clean and disinfect drinking water.
Chemistry and Active, Healthier Lives:
- The gear and equipment we use today at the gym, on the playing field and on the trail are predominately products of chemistry.
- Football, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, skateboarding—nearly every popular sport relies on plastic pads, helmets and other protection.
- Plastic fibers make our workout clothing breathe and wick away sweat.
- Modern swimsuits help athletes glide through the water.
- Cyclists, skiers, hikers, mountain climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts all rely on carbon fiber-reinforced plastic gear, safety equipment and clothing, from skis to helmets to goggles to ropes to insulating fibers.
Policies to Advance Knowledge and Improve Health
Promoting the safe use of the essential products of chemistry is a shared responsibility of manufacturers, the government and those who use or sell chemical products. Manufacturers and government must work together to:
Develop, implement and comply with sound regulations so chemicals are safe for intended use.
Enhance scientific understanding of chemical safety.
Produce publicly accessible safety information.
Americans must feel confident that the federal regulatory system is keeping pace with the applications of chemistry. Our nation’s primary chemicals management law must be updated to adapt to scientific advancements and to promote that chemical products are safe for intended use—while also encouraging innovation and protecting American jobs.
Learn more about policies that can help American chemistry continue innovating, creating jobs and enhancing safety.