“Chemical-free” products become more and more popular recently since consumers are increasingly aware of the bad consequences caused by harsh chemicals. However, I think “chemical-free” is actually a misleading concept because everything that exists on the Earth is made up of chemical compounds of different elements. So I guess the marketers do not mean that their products contain 0% of chemicals, what they are trying to convey with this label is that their products are natural, organic and without any harmful chemicals.
When I searched for chemical-free products on the internet, a shampoo caught my eyes immediately: Aloe Vera by Jason Natural. Many online sellers claimed it is a shampoo which free of chemicals. On the front side of the product, it is labeled as “pure natural shampoo”. I have no idea whether it is a natural and organic shampoo or not, what I know is that the producers and sellers are giving wrong concept to the consumers. On the back side of the bottle of shampoo, the producer gives the consumers a list of “all-natural” ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice, aqua (water), glycerin, sodium chloride, citric acid… (1) All these ingredients are made up of chemical compounds, so how could a person claim it as “free of chemicals”?
A simple example which can break this unreal label is banana. Since a banana is all-natural, so people may expect that it has to be “chemical-free”. But in reality, a banana is filled with chemicals: water, sugars, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, histidine, leucine, oleic acid, valine, alanine, E460,E462 and other tons of unfamiliar ingredients.(2) It is interesting to imagine that if someone just heard about an unnamed food which contains phylloquinone, ethyl butanoate and isoleucine, would he or she still eat it without hesitation? Not really. I guess that person will refuse to eat that food despite the fact it is just a banana.
Similarly, consumers would feel panic about an “unnatural” shampoo with tons of strange chemicals in it, that it is why so many producers label their products in a misleading way. But since the label is inappropriate,the producers may choose a better one to convey the consumers. To be more specific, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) is a typical chemical which is considered to be unhealthy and harmful in shampoo companies, so if their products is truly free of SLS, all they need to do is label it as “SLS-free” rather than “chemical-free”. The producers must to be more specific in order to become more convincible about their products.
As a consumer, I believe that it would be wiser to gain necessary information of a product and fundamental chemistry knowledges than to fully trust a “all-natural” label. Because there is nothing that is truly free of chemicals and not all man-made chemicals are harmful to human body. It is important for us to be more aware of what we are consuming and never become negative about chemicals which are necessary for human needs.
(2)Novak, Matt. 2014. All Natural Bananas Are Filled With Chemicals. http://gizmodo.com/all-natural-bananas-are-filled-with-chemicals-1504564161