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Guide: Making Sense of Chemical Stories
Anxiety about chemicals is a big part of the discussion about lifestyle and modern living. Lifestyle commentary – health, food, family, and environment – has grown enormously in the past ten years, with increased TV coverage, the expanding internet, and publications by retailers and producers swelling the ranks of the magazine markets. In the daily papers too, lifestyle columns, supplements and advice fight news content for space. With this rise in lifestyle commentary, misconceptions about what chemicals are and what they do have increased and spread. So much so, that the facts about chemicals seem surprising and counter-intuitive. Do people know that nothing can be ‘chemical free’? How many know that ‘E-numbers’ simply denote approval for food use and include some essential vitamins? Did you know that your body functions in exactly the same way whether you follow a ‘detox’ regime or just a normal diet? Or that the idea of the ‘cocktail effect’ in relation to alcohol is an urban myth? When it comes to chemicals, there are so many misconceptions that people are often scared and anxious when they needn’t be, and complacent when they shouldn’t be.
This guide was produced by Sense about Science with support from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Published: 19 May 2014.