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Questioning Siloxanes’ Impact On Antarctica

June 29, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 26

June 15, page 16: The Business Concentrate “Product Fragrances Divulged” should have indicated that SC Johnson has committed to reveal fragrance ingredients in its consumer products at levels down to 0.09%, not 0.9%.

I was extremely disappointed with the brief article about siloxanes (C&EN, March 23, page 38). An uninformed reader would be led to believe that it is fact that siloxanes have contaminated the Antarctic.

In reality, the results published by Marinella Farré et al. in Environmental Science & Technology (2015, DOI: 10.1021/es503697t) have numerous experts questioning them. The concentrations reported, the relative amounts of individual siloxanes, and even the speculated mechanism of transport and deposition all are inconsistent with prior research. You already knew at least one expert who cautioned not to jump to conclusions.

In a Latest News article published Feb. 25, Frank Wania is quoted as saying, “The presence of these compounds at significant concentrations in Antarctica is ‘certainly surprising and runs counter to what we would expect’ based on what’s known about the compounds’ sources, atmospheric transport, and deposition behavior. … The work must be independently validated, he cautions, because it is extremely challenging to avoid contamination when measuring these compounds in remote environments.”

These omissions and the overall tone of the article have left me wondering what the objective was and have tainted my view of C&EN.

Patrick Langvardt
Midland, Mich.

Editor’s Note:The cuts made by our editors were based solely on space constraints.


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