Promoting Public Health

Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions

Did You Know?

  • Public health deals with the health of whole populations, rather than the health of individual people.
  • Advances in public health are mainly responsible for the increased life expectancy at birth, which averages 75 years for men and 81 for women.
  • The United States Public Health Service, the main health agency of the federal government, dates to a 1798 law establishing hospitals for seamen in the merchant marine.
  • Experts regard vaccines as the most cost-effective way of preventing infectious diseases.
  • A vaccine for HIV, the virus responsible for AIDS, could have major impact on public health, especially in sub-Sahara Africa, where more than 2 million new HIV infections occur annually.
  • More than 60,000 people in the United States die annually from bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

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Science for Kids

Hands-on activities for aspiring young chemists


A Magazine for high school students.

More than Blue (February 2005)
Chemical imbalances in the brain can be involved in depression. How do chemicals like Prozac rebalance that brain chemistry and bring relief for millions of people suffering from the disease?

Lab on a Stick (October 2004)
Meet the tiny paper strip with two enzymes and 16 reagents that can perform 10 urinalysis tests in under two minutes and help diagnose a host of medical conditions.

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS®)

SciFinder®, a research tool produced by CAS (a division of the American Chemical Society), found 4678 references published this year on the broad topic of antibiotic resistance. Analysis of the answer set shows current research related to better understanding the primary mechanisms by which microorganisms develop or exhibit resistance to antimicrobial drugs, how medicinal chemists are using those insights in developing ways to attack these microbes, and studies on individual organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile.

The CAS databases cover references from more than 10,000 major scientific journals and 57 patent authorities worldwide.

ACS Policy Statements and Briefings

In the News


  • Many books have been written in the past few years about promoting public health. These books offer an amazing variety of opinions and viewpoints. Information on many of these books is available from the Library of Congress,

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Meet the Scientists

Life expectancy in the 20th Century rose by about 30 years. Advances in protecting the public health were responsible for about 25 of those precious years. Vaccination programs. Improved sanitation to better control infectious diseases. The development of antibiotics. Better prenatal care. And much more. Scientists are making strides toward sustaining that progress by fostering continued improvements in the health of the population as a whole.
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What Is Chemistry?

What is chemistry?
What do chemists do?

Learn more about how important chemistry is in our daily lives through articles, hands on activities, and resources to use in the classroom.