All too often the use of the word “Chemicals” in the news, in advertising and in common usage has the implication that they are bad. You never hear about chemicals that fight infections, help crops grow or lubricate engines.
As a result of the emotive language often used in conjunction with “Chemicals”, a series of myths have emerged. Everything, including the air we breathe, the food we eat and the drinks we consume, is made of chemicals. News outlets are fond of reporting about research showing “Links” between particular chemicals and occurrences of cancer and other diseases.
XKCD, CC BY-NC. For example, the number of diagnosed autism cases correlates with sales of organic produce, but no one would seriously suggest that man-made chemicals used on farms somehow protects people from autism.
We permanently live among a cocktail of chemicals and have done so ever since life first evolved in a chemical soup.
So why have we suddenly become more aware of all the chemicals in our environment? In part, it is due to amazingly sensitive technologies that allow minute quantities of chemicals to be detected.