Sustainable “green” Chemistry


What is thalidomide?

Thalidomide is a drug that was once used to treat the symptoms of morning sickness during pregnancy as well as to help with sleeping problems. A few years after it became widely used, people started to realize that thalidomide was causing birth defects in newborns. These birth defects included phocomelia (abnormal formation of limbs, facial features, nerves, and other parts of the body), problems with sight or hearing resulting from abnormalities in the eyes and ears, gastrointestinal disorders, pasley disorder of the face, underdeveloped lungs, and problems with the digestive tract, heart, and kidneys. The use of thalidomide was then discontinued, though even today there is still some research underway into its possible use in treating cancers. Similar to the situation with DDT, the problems that occurred during the use of thalidomide were particularly influential in motivating the government to tighten regulations on testing drugs and pesticides before their use.



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