The toxicity of chemophobia

Beware of toxic chemicals like dihydrogen monoxide which kills thousands annually

Open Parachute

ChemophobiaImage credit: A dirty word?

Chemophobia is rampant on the internet. It seems to range from a reasonable concern over the potential adverse effects of synthetic chemicals to an irrational fear of these substances because of misconceptions about their potential for harm. Often it is accompanied by a complete misunderstanding of risk and an unrealistic understanding of the role of concentration in toxicity.

The Soapbox Science blog article, The presence of a chemical is not the same as presence of risk, from a few years back, describes both these problems.

All substances are chemicals

“Chemical” is not a dirty word. Nor is it a synonym for “poison” or “toxin.” Chemicals are the basic building blocks of all matter and classifying them as “safe” or “dangerous” is inappropriate. But of course there are safe or dangerous ways of using chemicals. In any case, chemicals are not to be feared or worshipped, they…

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