If, like me, you get a bit annoyed by people who decry “chemicals” (and are usually far too trusting of anything “natural” at the same time), you will appreciate an online paper just published at the Nature Chemical Biology blog, “A comprehensive overview of chemical-free consumer products” by Alexander Goldberg and CJ Chemjobber.
I think that the message is so important, I have reproduced the entire abstract main text of the paper:
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’.