From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Live Chemical Free Now

I did a quick Google image search for chemical free. Here are some products that advertise themselves as chemical-free.

And if you want somewhere where your children can play free of chemicals, there is this park.
This is all simple fear mongering. Chemicals are BAAAAAAAD. Except the good ones. Here's an image that has popped up on the internet showing all the chemicals that naturally occur in a banana; no evil corporate chemist needed.
I came across a scientific paper entitled A comprehensive overview of chemical-free consumer products available from Nature Chemistry.* The abstract for the paper states
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’. 
This paper is incredibly easy to read. No prior knowledge of chemistry is needed. I encourage everyone to download a copy here.**

*In the interest of full disclosure, the paper comes from the blog The Skeptical Chymist published by Nature Chemistry.

**If you don't wish to download the paper, I'll let you in on the joke. It consists off two blank pages.