arrow11 Comments
  1. rob
    Oct 30 - 5:56 am

    They are not the first so-called “green” company to suggest that its ingredients are not chemicals. Green & Blacks did it with a chocolate campaign a few years ago in the UK.

  2. chad
    Oct 30 - 8:28 am

    This type of thinking is common among the public and in the environmentalist crowd in particular: chemicals are bad and “synthetic” chemicals are worse. They lob the words “toxic” and “carcinogenic” around with little idea of what this means, or that the dose makes the poison, or that virtually anything they have ever touched, eaten, seen or smelled contains lots of these nasty dangerous chemicals with scary-sounding names, whether “natural” or not.

  3. Carmen Drahl
    Oct 30 - 9:44 am

    I often feel that way, too. I guess the question becomes – what’s the best way to inform people about “natural”, “synthetic”, “organic”, etc? Chemistry’s certainly not the only discipline that has this information challenge (see, for instance, the vaccine community). Maybe some well-placed public service announcements?

  4. Klug
    Oct 30 - 11:21 am

    The chemical industry (Dow, etc.) seems to have been doing those sorts of PSAs for years, without avail. I’m not hopeful. Biology and nanotech aren’t faring much better in terms of not scaring the public, for that matter.

  5. Carmen Drahl
    Oct 30 - 11:51 am

    True that, but maybe the fact that the PSA’s come from a company is part of the problem, since a consumer might think that the company only cares about hawking their wares, and not trust the message.

  6. Dave Gibboni
    Nov 03 - 2:01 pm

    Look, advertisers DEPEND upon consumer ignorance and loopholes in regulation to succeed in their tasks. And frankly many consumers wallow in the gauzy, comforting notion of “natural.”

  7. rob
    Nov 04 - 9:04 am
  8. Aaron Rowe
    Nov 14 - 2:18 am

    People who cringe when they see complicated things, like an equation with Greek symbols or an IUPAC name, seem to be inherently uncomfortable with science. Perhaps there is some sort of genetic trait or facet of the human mind that could be described as comfort in the face of complexity.

  9. Josh Kurutz
    Jan 05 - 3:33 pm

    I’d like to comment on the mention of thalidomide – a chemical created with fair intentions but poor testing in its development stage. While many people know of its horrific unintended teratogenic effects, it was eventually discovered to be a very effective treatment for leprosy. After it was found effective against a common malady of AIDS patients (Kaposi’s sarcoma, I think). In the 1980′s, AIDS activists were staging demonstrations to demand that they get access to thalidomide, as they felt it was their only hope.

    Public reaction to “chemicals” swings across a wide spectrum. It seems that, if a compound can save lives, hugh numbers of people will demand that it be cheap and available. In the case of a lotion, where the impact on life may not be as significant and “natural” alternatives feel like they do the job, sentiment goes the opposite way.

    Is there any middle ground? How can this amplified oscillation be damped? I don’t have a good answer, but clearly rational explanation aren’t going to do it alone. It requires emotional appeal.

  10. Josh Kurutz
    Jan 05 - 3:35 pm

    P.S.: For further information on thalidomide, read “Dark Remedy”, by Rock Brynner and Trent Stephens

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