In 2013, Johnson & Johnson announced they had met their goal in eliminating the formaldehyde-producing preservative, quaternium-15, from their baby shampoo and other products. This was following a rise in people concerned with formaldehyde and its link to cancer – in 1980 its vapour was shown to be a carcinogen in the nasal passages of rats, and since then there have been many studies looking to investigate its carcinogen status. This outcry occurred despite the levels of quaternium-15 being too low to be considered toxic, and despite formaldehyde already being present in blood, and in much larger concentrations in several fruits. Nevertheless, Johnson & Johnson spent millions reformulating their products to ease the mind of the consumer.
Depression has often been simplified to a chemical imbalance in the brain, where the brains of those who are clinically depressed have lower levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. It’s what many medical treatments are based on, with the most common on the NHS being selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), which works by blocking the uptake of serotonin by the brain, meaning more serotonin is readily available. However, the idea that depression is caused by too much or too little of a chemical in the brain simplifies the issue at hand and prevents us from tackling the complexity of depression as an illness.
Biological sex in humans has often been simplified to whether or not someone has XX chromosomes, for females, or XY chromosomes, for males. We create this binary in attempt to classify, and better understand ourselves and our identities – however this can often lead to hostile language and the “othering” of the many people who don’t fit this binary. But just like gender identity, biological sex isn’t all that simple.
In school we are taught that in order for life to exist, respiration must occur: that is, the taking of sugars like glucose and combining it with oxygen to give you carbon dioxide, water, and a small amount of energy. This energy is used to fuel metabolic processes in all life forms – boiling down to the ability to survive and reproduce. But there are exceptions, such as the many types of “electric bacteria” that use energy in the form of electricity.