“What’s in a name

“What’s in a name’?” Shakespeare asked the world centuries ago. In chemistry, one could argue, everything is in the name. The name tells you the components of a chemical and its structure. Those two aspects will also tell you how something will react, what it will react with, and its toxicity.
The name of something will often influence our perception of it. For example, the medical screening technology known as MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, was originally called NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance. Both names mean the same thing but “nuclear” has a negative connotation and therefore, was removed from the name.[1]
[1] Steve Goldberg, “MRIs and the Perception of Risk” 33 Am. J.L. & Med. 229-23
Research a common household chemical, a cosmetic compound, a medical drug, or something else that is commonly known and find out what its chemical name is. Is there anything about the real name that would give people a negative perception? Or a positive perception? Does it sound like anything? There are some chemicals that are commonly known as toxic or pose some sort of risk. Occasionally, such chemicals are reported about in the media. Research one such chemical, or group of similar compounds, and describe the harm it poses. What about its chemical structure or components make it harmful? What is its IUPAC name? What are the sources? Is it found in nature? Or is it made from a manufacturing process? How did you first learn about it? What is the public perception of risk for this compound? Is it regulated? Make sure to provide all references used along with proper citations.





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