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Why there’s no such thing as ‘chemical free’ products

Chemical Free? Why there's no such thing

I’m going to apologise in advance, because this is a rant. I get really cranky when I see products being advertised as ‘chemical free’. Why? Because …

… there’s no such thing as a chemical free product

That water you’re drinking? Chemicals. Hydrogen and oxygen. Two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen, otherwise known as H2O.

That salt you’ve just sprinkled on your breakfast eggs? Chemicals. Sodium and chlorine.

The very air you’re breathing? Chemical – oxygen.

Okay, so I know that this is overly simple, but you get what I mean. The only things around you that aren’t made up of chemicals are thing like light, electricity and gravity.

So when someone is trying to tell me that the products they’re selling me are ‘chemical free’, you’ll understand why I’m suddenly a little distrustful. Either they really don’t know what they’re talking about, or they’re deliberately greenwashing me and hoping that I’m not going to pick up on it.

Or they could be selling be a bottle that contains a vacuum – complete nothingness. Kind of cool, when you think about it, but I’ve never seen one yet.

‘Chemical free’ products are not better

It also annoys me that ‘chemical free’ is used to try and show that a product is better than another one, presumably a ‘chemical laden’ product. Which is also complete nonsense. Chemical free is like the phrase ‘natural’. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Lead is natural – are you going to add that to your diet?

What is it that these marketers actually trying to say? Do they mean the product is free of toxic chemicals? Do they mean it’s free of synthetic chemicals and is made from plant based, organic ingredients? Do they actually know what they are trying to say?

Chemical does not equal toxic. Chemical free does not equal organic, natural or even safe. Chemical free doesn’t mean anything.

Look for certified organic products. Read the ingredients on the back of the pack. Buy from reputable brands. And add the phrase ‘chemical free’ to your list of greenwash terms to look out for. It’s a phrase that’s complete and utter nonsense, and is not only entirely misleading – it’s a downright lie.

Image credit: Sludge G on Flickr.

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