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New 'chemical radar' among national security innovations in ACS podcast
Date:9/4/2008

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2008 As the anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaches, the American Chemical Society (ACS) has issued a new podcast describing an array of technologies to help assure personal safety and national security. The podcast is the sixth episode in ACS's acclaimed Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions)series.

With new episodes posted twice monthly, Global Challenges examines daunting problems facing society in the 21st Century, and explains how chemists and other scientists are making strides toward solutions.

The podcast, entitled Promoting Personal Safety & National Security, describes 2008 scientific advances toward protecting society from future terrorist attacks, and individuals from common everyday threats such as disease-causing bacteria on keyboards, kitchen countertops, and other environmental surfaces.

One segment, for instance, focuses on scientific advances toward early detection of bioterrorism attacks with biological threats that the National Institutes of Health calls Category A agents. Those materials include biological agents such as botulism toxin and infectious agents such as anthrax and smallpox.

Global Challenges recalls the introduction of radar, which gave 20th century society its first method for early detection of incoming enemy ships and planes. "Today, researchers are developing what might be called chemical radar," the podcast notes. "Instead of using radio waves to see distant bombers and battleships, these new technologies use laser beams to detect atmospheric chemical weapons." The technology could be useful for detecting nerve agents drifting into an area in a suspicious-looking cloud and distinguishing them from chemically similar but harmless pesticides that might have been sprayed on a farm field, the podcast notes.

Other research featured in this episode
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Contact: Charmayne Marsh
c_marsh@acs.org
202-872-4445
American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert

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