Friday, December 29, 2006

Full of beans

Soy-based substitutes aren't just for meat anymore. Forget pretend salami, veggie hotdogs, and tofurki...

(I don't mind tofu... but Tofurki?? It sounds so wierd. I may just have to try that one day. )

Now you can have soybeans in your home. Literally - a new soy-based adhesive may soon be replacing formaldehyde-based ones in engineered wood like plywood and particleboard.

Formaldehyde isn't nice - it's been associated with irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lower airways. Oh yeah, and some studies suggest it might case cancer - like nasopharyngeal, nasal, prostate, lung, and pancreatic cancers as well as leukemia. Even though there's still a bit of uncertainty about those results, it just sounds all-round bad. And people who work in construction often have much higher exposures than you and I, who simply live in our homes and sit on our decks sipping Margaritas...

Anyhoo, the idea of soy protein adhesives has been around for a while - but they weren't durable enough until someone figured out they could crosslink the protein with some kind of resin to make the adhesive look more like what a mussel uses to stick itself to the bottom of a boat.

And those little bu**ers do not like to let go.

A bean, informed by a mollusk, might improve your bedroom floor. Wierd. But true.

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