Zero Waste

Let’s talk chemicals!

Let’s talk chemicals, chemicals (bonus points to you if you read this to the tune of “Let’s Get Physical”).  This is a topic that my husband is passionate about and something that I think needs clarifying among zero wasters, minimalists, and people who practice natural living.

Have you ever seen a product that says “NO _______” and think you are getting a very natural and healthy product without “chemicals”?  Let me just put the brakes on that train of thought and let you know that that is very, very wrong.

My husband is a material chemist, and the example above is what he says bothers the scientific community the most — people’s fear of “chemicals”.  Because what is a chemical?  The short answer: everything!  Chemical is any substance consisting of matter (like liquids, solids, or gas).  It doesn’t matter whether the substance occurs naturally or is made artificially, it is a chemical.  For example, water is a chemical.  Salt is a chemical.  These aren’t things that scare us, they are things that we consume on a daily basis.  Technically speaking, we are all made up of chemicals.

Now, I’m not saying that every single product out there is safe now because everything is made of chemicals and we shouldn’t be scared of chemicals.  I think we should be wary of toxins.  For example, I often encourage my family and friends to switch their cleaning products to using natural cleaning products because of toxins that are in commercial products.  Think about it, nobody will dispute that exposure to bleach or ammonia is bad.  They are meant to get dirt and grime out of your house.  But these cleaning products are also toxic and often pose as an irritant, so they should be avoided.

So I hope this post encourages you to change the way we view chemicals.  Let’s change the way we define them and make sure we correctly separate chemicals from toxins.

 

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