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Reactions: In defense of US regulatory agencies, and noting kerosene as rocket fuel

February 3, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 5


Letters to the editor

Re: Overregulation of sunscreens

Stephen J. McGovern is concerned with US regulatory actions in his letter (C&EN, Jan. 9/16, 2023, page 3). I in turn am concerned with his last two paragraphs, where he condemns US regulatory actions and agencies. It’s true that many in the US, including many scientists, do not know how to evaluate relative or personal risk. The aim of US governmental agencies is not zero risk for consumer products (although it seems to be for many activist groups). He claims that those agencies have no real accountability to the public. I strongly disagree. He claims that the heads of the groups are political appointees, often with no expertise in the subject matter. That may have been true in a previous administration but is generally not true. The workers in the agencies are experts, not just “civil servants with the job security that guarantees.”

The last two sentences are particularly damning, “To quote Thomas Paine, ‘A body of men, holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody.’ ” I strongly disagree. This sounds like partisan politicization all too typical of conservatives and has no place in discussions on issues like regulation.

Robert E. “Bob” Buntrock
Orono, Maine

Kerosene as space fuel

Infographic describing fuels for spacecraft.
Credit: C&EN

As a child of the 1960s who grew up during the heyday of Apollo, I have always been fascinated by the history and science of our space program. That said, I was surprised to see the Dec. 5 Periodic Graphics on spacecraft fuels (page 31) make a glaring omission. The piece mentions hydrogen and methane as examples of liquid fuels but fails to mention the fuel that powered the Saturn V and is still widely used today—kerosene. While NASA’s Artemis program uses the shuttle’s hydrogen propellant, SpaceX Falcon rockets use kerosene. Was this an inadvertent oversight by the author or a direct exclusion?

Jim Michels
Sturgis, Michigan



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