7 billion people, 70 million chemicals

Humanity reached a developmental waymarker of sorts with the population reaching 7 billion some time in 2012. Now, the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) is estimating that it will register the 70 millionth organic or inorganic substance in its database some time in the next few months, possibly this year or early next.

I mentioned the 60 millionth entry on Sciencebase back in May 2011, and the 50 millionth substance in September 2009. It was while I was working at the Royal Society of Chemistry back in 1990 that I remember receiving the press release announcing the mere 10 millionth! It had taken 33 years for them to accumulate that many entries.

At the time of writing, the CAS substance counter tells me there are 68,413,024 chemicals in the database. So, when will it hit 70,000,000? If you can guess you could be in with a chance of winning an Apple iPad: Contest to Predict Date and Time for 70 Millionth Substance Registration