In this issue’s page 1 story on next week’s national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), president-elect Paul G. Gassman points Out that chemistry’s public image is suffering. The general public is very sensitive to the environmental impact of chemicals, including air and water pollution, toxic waste generation, ozone depletion, global warming, and acid rain. And as public anxiety over the environment grows, public confidence in chemistry seems to shrink.

As a chemist, I am concerned about our profession’s image. Simply as a matter of professional pride, chemists should want the public to recognize the profound social, economic, and intellectual value of their work. If negative perceptions are allowed to persist, public support for chemical research might decline, and fewer students might choose a career in chemistry. Also, if chemistry becomes viewed widely as an antienvironmental enterprise, the chemical industry can expect increased pressure for tighter government regulation.


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