Sunlight converts household anti-bacterial agent to dioxin

Sunlight can convert triclosan, a common disinfectant used in anti-bacterial soaps, into a form of dioxin, and this process may produce some of the dioxin found in the environment, according to research at the University of Minnesota. The researchers said that although the dioxin was a relatively benign form, treating wastewater with chlorine could possibly lead to the production of a much more toxic species of dioxin.

Pulsar Bursts Coming From Beachball-Sized Structures

In a major breakthrough for understanding what one of them calls “the most exotic environment in the Universe,” a team of astronomers has discovered that powerful radio bursts in pulsars are generated by structures as small as a beach ball. “These are by far the smallest objects ever detected outside our solar system,” said Tim Hankins, leader of the research team, which studied the pulsar at the center of the Crab Nebula, more than 6,000 light-years from Earth. “The small size of these regions is inconsistent with all but one proposed theory for how the radio emission is generated,” he added.

Tapeworm trick could make drugs more effective

To survive and thrive in a decidedly hostile environment, the lowly tapeworm uses a chemical trick to evade the propulsive nature of its intestinal home. Capitalizing on that tapeworm chemistry, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison believe they may have found a way to slow the transit of drugs through the intestine, making them more effective in their delivery and holding out the promise not only of more effective treatment, but also of lowering dosage and cost, and eliminating wasted medicine.

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