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Organic does not mean chemical free…

Posted Jan 17 2011 9:05am

There’s a debate – I use the word extremely loosely, because it’s really, to a great extent, a  display of ignorance and prejudice – in the comments to an article in the Independent about organic milk allegedly being healthier than ordinary milk.

That claim, however, only works, as one commenter spotted, if you cherry-pick the results, and one guy, pushing the organic line, quite bizarrely claimed “Organic = no chemicals”.

Well, no, it bloody doesn’t, except to people who missed/flunked  Chemistry 101, because every damn thing in the universe is made of chemicals in varying proportions – even you (you will, though, find a total absence of snips and snails and puppy-dog tails, or even sugar and spice and all things nice!). If you doubt that (and there’s always one!), click here .

As a Sense about Science document explains, clearly and simply:-

“The chemical reality is that you cannot lead a chemical-free life, because everything is made of chemicals.

Chemicals are substances and chemistry is the science of substances – their structure, their properties and the reactions which change them into other substances. Claims that products are “chemical free” are untrue.

There are no alternatives to chemicals, just choices about which chemicals to use and how they are made.”

(My bold.)

You can download the document from which that was taken here .

It’s not rocket science, kiddies, just plain, old-fashioned, common sense –  something sadly lacking  in organic zealotry, on the whole, as the “organic means chemical-free” nonsense is widely believed and widely touted.

And it is simply not true.


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