"Better Living Through Chemistry" is a phrase that is sometimes heard in chemistry labs around the country. It is usually used in reference to creating new chemical compounds to make our everyday life better and simpler. We use them, among other things, to fertilize our crops, to kill unwanted pests, to make lighter and more durable products, and to make better tasting food. But these new products also come with a dark side. All of them end up in our environment and in ourselves, sometimes with tragic consequences, such as when DDT led to the extinction or near extinction of many bird species.

In this module, we will investigate where we get chemicals, how we use them, and their impact on us and the environment. We will start by looking at different mineral types and the chemicals they contain. Then we will look at the chemicals we have in our home and how toxic these chemicals are.