September 05, 2005

Science Correction on AP story

When the media makes an error, it usually prints a retraction. How does one let them know? Here the chemistry terminology is wrong. While the headline announcing sodium nitrate as a disease cure, the article discusses sodium nitrite. The chemical properties of nitrate and nitrate are vastly different, nitrite is an anti-oxident, whereas nitrate is a simple common counter-ion and unreactive biological dead end. Anyone adding sodium nitrate to saline would find neglible effect, whereas nitrite would immediately react with body tissue. Nitrite action would act very much like vitamin C.
nitrate anion (NO3)- vs nitrite anion (NO2)- one less oxygen atom, so nitrate scavenges an oxygen and becomes nitrate ion, which passess in urine. (pardon the formulas - blogger isn't chemdraw friendly)

No comments: