Episode 76: Working Class Chemistry

Image uploaded by elisfanclub via Flickr.

Image uploaded by elisfanclub via Flickr.

In honor of Labor Day today’s episode of Distillations looks at how chemistry has affected the work of a variety of professionals—for better or worse. First, we look at a heat-resistant fiber designed in the 1950s to protect pilots and astronauts. Then, we learn how toxic exposure to synthetic dyes influenced the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Finally, senior producer Mia Lobel learns from Warren Breslau how the material world is welded together. Chemical Agent: Polybenzimidazole.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:31 Introduction
00:59 Chemical Agent: Polybenzimidazole
02:58 History Lesson: Origins of Occupational Health
06:01 Feature: The Chemistry of Welding
10:40 Closing Credits


This show was written and researched by Andy Mangravite and Jody Roberts.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music from the PodSafe Music Network. Additional music includes “The Subway,” by Audiofinger.

This week’s image was uploaded to Flickr by elisfanclub.

Posted In: History | Society

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