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Just published the other day by a part of Nature Publishing Group is a review by two scientists of the chemical-free products available to consumers. Here's the abstract for the review.

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’.
The free-to-access PDF is here.

I hope this diary and linked review is of some use to those looking for chemical free products for the summer.


Would you buy a chemical-free product?

38%8 votes
52%11 votes
9%2 votes

| 21 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good one! (5+ / 0-)

    I got a chuckle out of that!

  •  This is a good description of this paper. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug, allie4fairness, Lujane
  •  There really needs to be a more scientifically- (5+ / 0-)

    derived term than "chemical-free". Because your vacuum bottle full of a vacuum....

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 12:10:44 PM PDT

  •  Funny. (5+ / 0-)

    Science-Based Medicine had a good post on Food Fears on Wednesday and included a great discussion of "chemophobia." (Be sure to check out the graphic for the ingredient list for an "all natural banana - lol!)

    “…The day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch

    by mikidee on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 12:20:29 PM PDT

    •  Bacl in February, the author of the SBM (6+ / 0-)

      post (Steve Novella) wrote  even better post on his own blog NeuroLogical Blog - More Yoga Mat Hysteria.

      In response to food fear-mongering by the Food Boob Babe, he writes:

      The food babe also gives this helpful advice:

      “When you look at the ingredients, if you can’t spell it or pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it.”

      Let’s see if we can apply this rule of thumb to help us decide what foods are likely to be healthy. Here are some lists of ingredients, see if you can pronounce them:

      1- Oleic acid, Linoleic acid, Palmitic acid, Stearic acid, α-Linolenic acid, polyphenols, oleocanthal, oleuropein, aldehydic secoiridoids, flavonoids, acetoxypinoresinol, pinoresinol, hydroxytyrosol


      3 – Alpha-Linolenic-Acid, Asparagine, D-Categin, Isoqurctrin, Hyperoside, Ferulic-Acid, Farnesene, Neoxathin, Phosphatidyl-Choline, Reynoutrin, Sinapic-Acid, Caffeic-Acid, Chlorogenic-Acid, P-Hydroxy-Benzoic-Acid, P-Coumaric-Acid, Avicularin, Lutein, Quercitin, Rutin, Ursolic-Acid, Protocatechuic-Acid

      I could go on, but you get the point. These are olive oil, coffee, and apples, respectively. (emphasis added)


      “…The day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch

      by mikidee on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 12:34:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I love mixed Xanthine isomers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mikidee, Lujane

        They make the mate go ZOOM!

        Vai o tatu-bola escamoso encontrar-me onde estou escondendo? Lembro-me do caminho de ouro, uma pinga de mel, meu amado Parati

        by tarkangi on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 02:24:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Those aren't ingredients, they are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        components. From a chemist's point of view the difference (how they got there) is not important, of course. But from a consumer's point of view it is. I don't have to know the "ingredients" list of an apple to know a lot about how it will affect me to eat it, but if you start making cookies with ingredients never used before, or never used in comparable quantities, their effects may be unpredictable. And of course food manufacturers do this all the time, and the testing that is done does not always catch effects that are slow, rare, or subtle.

        Babylon system is the vampire... ~Bob Marley

        by sfinx on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:55:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bananas are radioactive (0+ / 0-)

      how could they be all natural?

      Vai o tatu-bola escamoso encontrar-me onde estou escondendo? Lembro-me do caminho de ouro, uma pinga de mel, meu amado Parati

      by tarkangi on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 09:32:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chemical free. Oh, the possibilities that doesn't (7+ / 0-)


    I vote for a bottle full of quarks. A magnetic bottle, of course.

    mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

    by serendipityisabitch on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 12:27:10 PM PDT

  •  This reminds me of the company that was selling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    solid chlorine for swimming pools. Apparently the stuff could be stored in a box at room temperature.

  •  I gotta show that article to my husband (0+ / 0-)

    I think he'll get a kick out of it.  

  •  Are they free of dihydrogen monoxide? nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bello ne credite, Americani; quidquid id est, timeo Republicanos et securitatem ferentes.

    by Sura 109 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 02:08:17 PM PDT

  •  I sypathize with this complaint, and it strikes my (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ear unpleasantly too, but here are a few points to consider before getting to hilarious about it all.

    1) Some of the things called "chemical-free" are products or processes that do a job usually done by means of chemical interactions in some other way, say mechanically, magnetically, or by means of heat. If you use a heat-gun instead of Round-up to kill weeds; a spring-trap instead of poison to kill mice; steel-wool instead of oven-cleaner to remove grease, I think it is fine to call that "chemical-free" even though of course there are chemicals involved in many ways in what you are doing. "Non-chemical" would be better maybe but makes rotten ad copy.

    2) It's not the "chemical-free" crowd who invented this use of the word "chemicals" (and "chemistry"). The things they call "chemicals" are made by the "chemical industry" in plants that produce "base chemicals", "commodity chemicals", "fine chemicals" etc. The idea of "Better Living Through Chemistry" was not about H20.

    3) People are using these words to talk about a real phenomenon, as we all know, one that is complex and hard to get a linguistic handle on. Roughly, it's that we are now either making or purifying very large quantities of particular chemicals that have never been present in human environments before either at all or in such quantities, and putting them into the products we make, including foods, bath products, bedding, clothes, toys, etc,etc, because of certain special effects they have (killing bacteria, dissolving proteins, resisting sticking...) and without knowing about all the other effects they have. We don't have a good simple word, or even a very good complex phrase, for talking about THOSE chemicals. The "chemical industry" just calls them chemicals. Why shouldn't the anti-"chemical" crowd do the same? I don't much like it, but I find it hard to think of a good substitute.

    4) This is how language works, words with technical meanings get folk meanings as well, and they are not the same. We manage. "Chemical" in the main "chemical-free" sense picks out a real and useful concept, different from the chemist's sense of the word. It's a concept with vague boundaries and some odd marginal cases, but lots of concepts are like that.

    This discussion reminds me of the time (long ago) when a guy I was talking to at a party who was telling me about the powers of crystals said earnestly, "Have you ever owned a crystal?" I thought, "Salt?". But I didn't say it. I did know what he meant, and the purveyors of crystal chandeliers and crystal wineglasses don't get razzed about it.

    Babylon system is the vampire... ~Bob Marley

    by sfinx on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:31:23 PM PDT

  •  Not Amused (0+ / 0-)

    Mocking people without PhDs or other research or interpretative skills in organic chemistry may be good for a laugh for the scientifically arrogant, but is divisive as Hell.

    Mocking people who very caught up in their particular version of life because they have concerns over what some additives in food may do to the human body if allowed to accumulate in tissue seems mean in the extreme.

    Some people are always looking for someone to look down or dump on, even, apparently, those who ostensibly comment on a blog that stresses community over individuality.

    I.e., to oversimplify, Democrats vs. Republicans.

    Shelter me from the powder and the finger Cover me with the thought that pulled the trigger ~ Neil Young

    by paz3 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 10:17:40 AM PDT

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