I hear a lot of talk about the benefits of “natural” products over artificially made products. This is usually followed by some rant about how chemicals are bad for the body and such, and it often leads me to wonder: what exactly do people think a chemical is?
By simple definition, a chemical is simply the combining of two or more elements, either naturally or by artificial means. In fact, just about everything in existence is composed of chemicals. One of the best explanations I’ve found is in an article written by the Science Learning Hub, where they explain: “Matter is everything around you – whether it’s liquid, solid or gas. Atoms are like individual LEGO blocks. […] Matter can also be called a chemical. So if atoms are LEGO blocks, chemicals are the structures you can build with them.”
In fact, some of the most simple things we use in our daily lives are chemicals. One good is example is water. Believe it or not, water is a chemical. It’s called a “pure” chemical because it’s the same throughout its entire structure.
The above-mentioned article goes on to explain that the only difference between synthetic and natural chemicals is that the synthetic ones have been made by people through artificial means. But if we were to artificially create a chemical found in nature, there would be absolutely no difference between them. I’ve kept it pretty simple, but the article touches on a lot of other aspects and can be read here: https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/363-chemicals-everywhere
The bottom line is that we need chemicals in order to live. Especially since EVERYTHING IS MADE WITH THEM. Whether they choose to acknowledge it or not, even the people who claim that they’re “living naturally without the use of chemicals” are using chemicals. I don’t assume that they’re washing themselves and keeping themselves hydrated with rainbows and dreams!
Being natural or synthetic doesn’t make a chemical bad. In fact, there are some very dangerous and deadly chemicals that can be found in nature. Things like arsenic, urushiol (poison ivy) and snake venom are all chemicals found in nature that can harm or kill you.
In closing, this would be a good time to remind everyone that insulin is a chemical and that 415 million people world-wide would be dead without it. As with most things in life, there’s good and bad to everything. Chemicals are just one example. ☯