Jul 1, 2014

A Comprehensive Scientific Review of 'Chemical-Free' Products

Popular Science -  Charcoal is mostly made up of carbon, but also contains hydrogen and oxygen. When it burns it yields carbon dioxide. 

I never thought anybody took the phrase "chemical-free" seriously, because, obviously everything contains chemicals. But it has become a marketing slogan that a lot of people apparently subscribe to, and indeed some of the top Google search results, for example this site authored by a PhD, no less, pursue this angle without strenuously qualifying that the term is meaningless

But wait! Now a study has been done on all of the chemical-free products out there. If you like, check out the exhaustive manuscript over at Nature Chemistry. Here's the summary: 

Manufacturers of consumer products, in particular edibles and cosmetics, have broadly employed the term 'Chemical free' in marketing campaigns and on product labels. Such characterization is often incorrectly used to imply--and interpreted to mean--that the product in question is healthy, derived from natural sources, or otherwise free from synthetic components. We have examined and subjected to rudimentary analysis an exhaustive number of such products, including but not limited to lotions and cosmetics, herbal supplements, household cleaners, food items, and beverages. Herein are described all those consumer products, to our knowledge, that are appropriately labelled as 'Chemical free'.

(SPOILER WARNING) If you don't have all of the 0 seconds required to read the list of products that are truly chemical-free, I'll ruin it for you: there aren't any. 

A funny (fake) study, to be sure; the term "chemical-free" is irritating and blatantly wrong. However, there is an argument to be made for expanded testing of industrial chemicals that have been introduced into humans' lives in increasing quantities in the past few centuries. The phrase "chemical-free," in encouraging uninformed chemophobia, detracts from that more nuanced line of thought, and doesn't help anybody. 

Please read more from source: Popular Science