About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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July 1, 2014

Chemical-Free Products: The Complete List

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Posted by Derek

Here's a comprehensive review of chemical-free consumer products, courtesy of Nature Chemistry. I'm flattered to have been listed as a potential referee for this manuscript, which truly does provide the most complete list possible of chemical-free cleaners, cosmetics, and every other class of commercially available product.

Along similar lines, I can also recommend this site as an accurate, clearly stated summary of the evidence for vaccines causing autism. These are important topics that many people are interested in, and good information is essential.

Comments (30) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Snake Oil


1. sal on July 1, 2014 7:31 AM writes...


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2. William McMillen on July 1, 2014 8:02 AM writes...

As a father of two autistic children and a scientist, though I agree with the message of your second link, is it really necessary to offend people who have been impacted by autism? This kind of reaction by scientists is part of why they stop coming to science for answers.

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3. C on July 1, 2014 8:10 AM writes...

I completely agree with McMillen. For those people who have doubt about the safety of vaccines, the second link will likely offend them. That would do no good to the vaccine-autism argument.

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4. Industry Guy on July 1, 2014 8:23 AM writes...

I am sympathetic to those affected by Autism, but I think the direct language is refreshing, correct, and hopefully drives the point home. Here is a more appropriate link

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5. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 8:26 AM writes...

I work in an open office, and didn't appreciate opening the second link with colleagues around me. Not to mention that the site was flagged as "inappropriate" by our firewall, which may have further repurcusions...

Not clever.

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6. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 8:30 AM writes...

I think it is not helpful to talk about "chemical free" products. ALL products are made from chemicals, whether they are natural or synthetic is another matter entirely. As is the question of whether they are harmful or not. These are completely independent factors, and the article confuses this issue and makes all chemicals seem both harmful and man-made.

This is a bad day for ITP.

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7. Bagnar on July 1, 2014 8:47 AM writes...

#6 I was near to send this article to all my friends... But I realized that most of them were not chemists. Chemical-free ? Harmful Chemical-Free ? If we can see a major difference, others will not.

Your target my main reproach. Sorry Derek about that ! (Btw, excellent work on the topic !! )

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8. skatesailor on July 1, 2014 8:49 AM writes...

When I click on the Nature Chemistry link, all I get is a brief, one-paragraph abstract of Chemical-Free Products: The Complete List. Any suggestions for downloading the whole article?

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9. The cryptic chemist on July 1, 2014 8:51 AM writes...

A must read paper for Chemical Free Kids who no doubt love virtual games, virtual food and virtual drink...

...but not as much as real burgers and real fries washed down with real cola.

The answer is in the atom.

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10. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 8:55 AM writes...

@#8 skatesailor, that IS the full list

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11. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 8:59 AM writes...

They should have a best blog of the year award.

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12. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 9:12 AM writes...

Wow, the sense of humor police are out in force today. Great post, Derek

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13. Sili on July 1, 2014 10:04 AM writes...

Anon @5,

Why are you reading blogs at work?

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14. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 10:24 AM writes...

@13: Because it's something to do instead of work.

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15. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 10:31 AM writes...

As a long-time reader of this blog, one thing I appreciate is the tasteful humor and general lack of offensive language. Derek is free to post whatever he wants on his own blog, but I would have appreciated a warning on that second link.

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16. C'mon guys on July 1, 2014 10:39 AM writes...

Today, Derek has made an amazing discovery: a blog comments thread with no sense of humor whatsoever! It's just fuck guys, you won't melt.

P.S. To all of the other responses: THAT'S THE JOKE.

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17. SM on July 1, 2014 10:39 AM writes...

What is the deal with these comments today? This is one of the best posts I've read on here! Great stuff Derek, keep it up.

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18. ReallyAnon on July 1, 2014 11:10 AM writes...

Actually, these are some of the best comment threads for ITP...a real discussion and some actual disagreement, rather than the usual hubris-filled echo chamber.

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19. qvxb on July 1, 2014 11:30 AM writes...

Maybe there's a market for THC-free marijuana!

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20. sgcox on July 1, 2014 12:04 PM writes...

#19; Actually, yes:'s_Web_(cannabis)
The irrational attitude to marijuana causes the enormous suffering for the innocent people and hampers the discovery of new medicines. Might be worth a separate thread, it is no joke.

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21. ralf on July 1, 2014 1:36 PM writes...

@#8 Skatesailor: click on the abstract for the full PDF, including references and footnotes.

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22. Andrew Molitor on July 1, 2014 4:03 PM writes...

While I appreciate the humor, as well as the point of view, there is a legitimate colloquial usage of the word 'chemical'. It's pretty vague, but many words are.

The population as a whole is justly distrustful of government and industry on this subject. We have been lied to, and mistakes have been made. DDT. thalidomide.

It's all very well to say that things are different now, and I believe they are. We know more, there's a great deal more regulation and care in place.

Still, I think more attention to the question of 'why you should trust us this time' and less mockery might be helpful.

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23. Corporate cynic on July 1, 2014 5:02 PM writes...

@5 (Industry Guy). The F word in an open plan office - love it! Treats the concept that Fs up contemplative thought with the contempt it deserves.

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24. JP on July 1, 2014 7:48 PM writes...

@5: Agreed. I find myself in a similar situation. It was neither expected nor appreciated.

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25. Anonymous on July 1, 2014 9:12 PM writes...

Great post the dry humor of this blog is one of the many reasons I enjoy reading it.

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26. tangent on July 2, 2014 2:08 AM writes...

Seconding Andrew Molitor. The general public does not mean by "chemical" what the chemist means by "chemical", and it's not helpful to make an argument that's essentially restating the chemist's terminology with one's nose a notch higher in the air.

How do you like a physicist who gets snippy about how you're not really doing "work" by carrying a suitcase horizontally, or a botanist who loves to correct people who call a tomato a "vegetable". Don't be that guy.

As an in-group joke, whatever, if that's a good time. But not with the idea you're being educational.

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27. Pig Farmer on July 2, 2014 7:36 AM writes...

Well, I thought it was funny. But then I have a rather crude sense of humour.

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28. DrOcto on July 3, 2014 8:29 AM writes...

I was highly dissapointed not to see a 60 page supporting information document.

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29. jim on July 18, 2014 5:19 AM writes...

“If ants had a language they would, no doubt, call their anthill an artifact and describe the brick wall in its neighborhood as a natural object. Nature in fact would be for them all that was not 'ant-made'.”

a useful quote to challenge concepts on natural imho...

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30. jim on July 18, 2014 5:20 AM writes...

“If ants had a language they would, no doubt, call their anthill an artifact and describe the brick wall in its neighborhood as a natural object. Nature in fact would be for them all that was not 'ant-made'.”

a useful quote to challenge concepts on natural imho...

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