A Comprehensive Scientific Review of ‘Chemical-Free’ Products

The chemistry behind 'chemical-free'

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:

(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.