It’s not a great week for conspiracy theorists.
Scientists have, once and for all, disproved the theory of chemtrails, according to Popular Mechanics. Chemtrails—those streaks in the air you see behind planes—are believed by some to be evidence that our government is using planes to spray various chemicals into the air. According to USA Today, one of the popular explanations for why they'd do this is that it’s an attempt to "control the population and food supply." And the theory has celeb endorsements—Kylie Jenner, for one.
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) May 26, 2015
"Chemtrails" are actually called "contrails" by scientists, and they're caused by water vapor that's been heated by the plane's engine crystallizing into ice in the sky's frigid temperatures. In a survey of 77 chemists and geochemists was published by the journal Environmental Research Letters, 76 of the respondents agreed that there was absolutely no evidence of a secret chemical spray.The New York Times reports that one participant once recorded high levels of atmospheric barium where soil levels were low, which could be evidence of spraying, but the rest dismissed any potential evidence due to a lack of concrete data and other probable scientific explanations.
According to USA Today, chemtrail theorists claim to have found toxins in soil and water samples that come from chemical sprays, but researchers suggest that many methods used to collect such samples can actually contaminate them. And while theorists have noted an increase in chemtrails, researchers say that's just because there's more air traffic these days. Ken Caldeira, study co-author and a researcher at Carnegie Institution for Science, suggested that climate change can also cause the streaks to remain for longer than they used to.
Researchers say they don't expect to sway the minds of conspiracry theorists, but they hope to prevent anyone else from falling for these theories.
Do you buy it?