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Frustrated Chemists Offer Cash Bounty for A “Chemical-Free” Product

Chemicals surround us. The banana you ate for breakfast is made up of a list of about 100 of them, from glucose to valine to stearic acid. Even the pure water in your silicon dioxide glass is made of a molecule which contains two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen. In fact, everything, from bananas to bicycles, is made up of chemicals. Yet many products, such as food, cosmetics and floor cleaners advertise themselves as “chemical-free.”

In Europe, the Royal Society of Chemistry has decided that enough misleading advertising is enough. “To raise awareness of how impossible ‘chemical-free’ is as a claim, I’m challenging anyone to place in my hand a material I consider to be chemical-free,” said Dr. Richard Pike, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Backing up that challenge, the group has made a bold gesture: they are offering one million euros to anyone who can create a product that is 100% chemical-free.

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry press release:

The challenge has been set as research by the UK’s cosmetic and toiletries industry reveals 52% of women and 37% of men actively seek out chemical-free products, demonstrating the deep-seated public confusion about the role and application of chemicals in daily life.

In addition to the bounty, UK’s Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association is adding their support in the form of a new website, meant to better inform consumers about chemicals. Dr. Chris Flower, Director-General of that group added:

Our research shows that when the media runs a scary story about the safety of chemicals, around half of online consumers go online to search for more information. With hundreds of sites promoting so-called safer, chemical-free products, we felt it was important to provide a source of scientific facts about the safety of chemicals. We hope to reassure consumers and help them make up their own minds about what they buy.

Read the press release here.