snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Urban Legends » Medical » "Chemicals" are bad for you (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: "Chemicals" are bad for you
LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for LeaflessMapleTree   E-mail LeaflessMapleTree   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
"Chemicals kill your insides...amnything that was made that nature did not make itself for reasons obviously because it wasn't evolutionarily beneficial for it to be created for any reason, or else those chemicals would already exist. Your body doesn't know how to handle it when you put something chemically unatural that doesn't exist in nature in your body. It wasn't designed to digest it because every species evolves alongside every other. if the chemical doesn't exist in nature there is no reason for human to biologically capable of recognizing the chemical. Which is exactly what happens. Food chemicals, well any chemicals but especially those ingested in our "food" damages our organs because they have unknown affects on out bodies because the body is just trying to deal with the junk we threw into it the best way it knows how."

-Just had an argument with someone on MSN messenger about chemicals in food. I don't mean just pesticides, I mean stuff like preservatives, and calcium chloride, and MSGs, and the like. This was the other person's take on it.

It just sounds so cynical. Anyone know anything about the body to confirm or refute this?

--------------------
"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

Posts: 3239 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Em
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Em   E-mail Em   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Natural doesn't necessarily equal beneficial, or even harmless. Bird shit is natural. That doesn't mean I want to eat it.

Drinking sulphuric acid would be dangerous, but so would eating belladonna berries. The fact that the acid is the product of an industrial process doesn't make the berries safe to eat.

ETA: I know sulphuric acid and deadly nightshade are totally unrelated, I was just having a go at the "artificial = bad, therefore natural = good" school of thought which seems to have invaded everything from dietary supplements to shampoo.

--------------------
What the NFBSK does YOMANK mean?

Posts: 1646 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 24 posted      Profile for Ganzfeld     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Well, first of all, the existence of a chemical in nature doesn't make it good for the body, as Em said. Therefore the argument that the body "knows how to handle natural chemicals" is bull.

The central argument that chemicals which do not occur naturally are necessarily bad for your is false but it's more difficult than the first question to refute. Lacking a good knowledge of very specific chemicals, I would first attack the fallacy that what people create is somehow radically different from what other animals and plants create. Plants produce some of the most potent insecticides known. Not all of these are harmless to humans so it stands to reason that the human body does not "know how to handle" them. When humans make a new pesticide, that's all we're doing, what the plants did millions of years ago. So there is no fundamental difference between making a new chemical and finding a new plant or animal species, or a new mineral and testing to see if it's edible. (Which, as the pumpkin thread someone started yesterday points out, does not always immediately lead to an edible product but can after some modification, such as cooking.)

Whether or not these kinds of experiments are more or less likely than naturally occurring chemicals to be bad for us is debatable. Those that have evolved naturally have sometimes (not always) been in the human environment long enough for our bodies to either get used to them or for our technology to remove them (as in the case of cooking pumpkin and some other vegetables). However, the plants and animals have also developed some of these chemicals for the express purpose of killing or harming plants, animals, and other beasties. Therefore, some of them are extremely dangerous.

So this goes back to the point Em was making. Not all chemicals made by nature are safe, especially because some of them were created to do harm. Therefore, it is, in my opinion, not much more or less likely for a naturally occurring chemical to be safer or more dangerous than a synthetic one. It's like a toadstool. If you eat one that's out there randomly, you could die. But if you eat a kind that's been eaten for a long time with no known effects then you're probably okay (if you don't have an allergy!). I wouldn't eat a random synthetic chemical but one that's been tested and is safe, I would, if I have a reason to (ie taste, medical effects, ect). (I assume the person mentioned in the OP has no opposition to eating mushrooms.)

As a footnote, there is the related fallacy that factory produced chemicals are somehow "worse" than those made in nature. Barring impurities, chemicals with the exact same structure are the same no matter where they came from (unless you believe in homeopathy, in which case: please go away). And as for impurities, see the paragraphs above to find out whether natural impurities are likely to be less harmless than those from a factory. (Also, at least factory impurities are predictable.)

(edited and edited)

Posts: 4922 | From: Kyoto, Japan | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jack Dylan
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jack Dylan   E-mail Jack Dylan       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Em:

ETA: I know sulphuric acid and deadly nightshade are totally unrelated, I was just having a go at the "artificial = bad, therefore natural = good" school of thought which seems to have invaded everything from dietary supplements to shampoo.

I know what you're saying, and know some people who believe this, but I think the quote in the OP was trying to say that preservatives, MSG and other chemical additives cause damage to your body. In particular, our organs.

According to this site, MSG is in fact a natural ingredient that is 'produced by a fermentation process similar to that used in making beer...', and if you go to this page it tells you that it has been regarded as safe for over 40 years and sits on the same classification level as pepper, sugar, vinegar and baking soda.

What I know about calcium chloride is that it is desiccant, that is it has, err, 'powerful' water abosorbing qualities. Like silica gel, only not bad for you. It is very salty, and so is used lightly on some foods in order to increase the salt flavor whilst not increasing the the amount of sodium in the product. The only safety issue with it is if you ate it raw in a large quantity. The chemical reaction between it and water releases heat, and can burn your mouth and throat. It can also be an irritant if you hold it in your bare hands.

As far as preservatives go, you need to narrow it down. I think there are some preservatives that are being debated as to whether they are really safe to consume, but I'm not sure which ones. Also, a lot of people who don't do their research properly and are against preservatives sometimes mistake anti-microbial preservatives (which include insect, fungi and bacterial killers) which food preservatives, which act to stop oxidation in food.

ETA: Agreement with Em and Ganzfield. [Smile]

--------------------
Eppis: Do you know why being a revolutionary doesn't work in this country? Being a revolutionary in America is like being a spoil sport at an orgy. All these goodies being passed around and you feel like a shit when you say no.

Posts: 294 | From: Brisbane, Australia | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
EmeraldCityAlchemist
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for EmeraldCityAlchemist   E-mail EmeraldCityAlchemist   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I am a chemist, and have been teaching chemistry classes for ten years, and this is a pet peeve of mine....

Firstly, the use of the word "chemical" - absolutely every substance out there is a chemical, even water or air. Calling something a "chemical" does not mean it is artificial or nasty.

Secondly, almost every single chemical produced artificially is found in LARGE AMOUNTS in nature - they are almost all naturally-occurring... Sulfuric acid, for example, is found naturally in the ocean and lakes, particularly near volcanic vents, and is also found in certain living cells.

I think the largest part of this problem comes from the fact that science education amongst the general population in this country is atrocious. People will debate this issue having had absolutely no chemistry education at all, and generally a lack of science knowledge to boot.

--------------------
I wish I knew what the hell I was doing.

Posts: 47 | From: Seattle, WA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Em
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Em   E-mail Em   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Chemicals are all nasty. Beware the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide.

ETA: Even snopes says it, so it must be true.

Edited again because I can't stand to do that to the English language, even deliberately.

--------------------
What the NFBSK does YOMANK mean?

Posts: 1646 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
EmeraldCityAlchemist
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for EmeraldCityAlchemist   E-mail EmeraldCityAlchemist   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Hahahahahaha!

quote:
Beware the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide.
I've used that one many times on the first day of class... I usually get about a minute into the description of the hazards from dihydrogen monoxide before most of the class realizes what I'm really talking about.

--------------------
I wish I knew what the hell I was doing.

Posts: 47 | From: Seattle, WA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Damian
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Damian   E-mail Damian   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Your body knows how to handle "chemicals". Your body will tell you when you have ingested something bad. Your body will also remind you not to ingest that bad thing again.

What does you body do if you see maggots in your steak? Possibly a violent up-rush of the contents of your stomach.

Food poisoning? Your body tries to expel the badness as quickly as possible.

Allergies to naturally occuring foodstuffs are all too common. I am allergic to egg whites and my throat gets itchy and swells up if I eat any. This is my body telling me to stop eating it. I then need to ingest some man-made chemicals to stop me dying.

--------------------
"I always tell the truth. Even when I lie." - Tony Montana

Posts: 890 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jon Up North
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jon Up North   E-mail Jon Up North   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Some of the most deadly substances in the world are naturally occuring chemicals. I'd invite anyone to test this by french-kissing a coral snake.

--------------------
We're not insured for pickles.

Posts: 2358 | From: Fort McMurray, Alberta | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ganzfeld     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Sometimes the "chemical" reference is used to make something sound even better than it is. You may find silicon dioxide additives in some powdered foods (like fancy, sweetened instant coffees). It's sand! I guess it just keeps things powdery. One product claims it is filled with "a mixture of 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen". My sibling commented, "Sounds suspiciously like air."
Posts: 4922 | From: Kyoto, Japan | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
alicia
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for alicia   Author's Homepage   E-mail alicia   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I know that people are really stupid about things like this, and make outrageous claims, but that doesn't mean that things like the organic foods movement or probiotics or even all-natural cleaning supplies are stupid fads- they're a lot smarter than saturating your body with manmade crap. It seems to me like every time an artificial chemical/drug is touted as being spectacular, it turns out that it causes some sort of cancer or other illness anyway.
Posts: 131 | From: Portland, OR | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ryda Wong, EBfCo.   E-mail Ryda Wong, EBfCo.   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Not to mention that many people turn to natural products for environmental and/or ethical reasons. They tend to be made by smaller companies, buy from smaller farms that utilize smart farming, deal with fair-trade policies, etc. They also use fewer chemicals that are harmful to the environment, and, especially in the case of cleaning products, don't cause your nose to bleed and your throat to swell.

I did notice a significant reduction in allergies and an increase in an overall feeling of "well-being" when I went organic/natural. And I feed my dog organic food, and have noticed excellent improvements in his coat, digestive system, etc.


JMHO

--------------------
So many spankings! It feels so good! But at the same time, I don't care about meeting your family! - I'mNotDedalus:

Posts: 3216 | From: Denver, CO | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


Icon 1 posted      Profile for GenYus   E-mail GenYus   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
alicia, I don't think anyone was saying that all-natural diet or products are bad. It seemed to me that everyone was attacking the automatic classification of man-made = bad, natural = safe. There are many artificial chemicals and drugs that have never been found to cause any problems. But since, "Calcium Carbonate Causes No Ill Effects In Laboratory Rats" would may a poor headline, you'll never read about it or see it on TV news.

PS. If you don't think people should be attacking organic diets or natural cleaning products, you should probably avoid phrases like "they're a lot smarter than saturating your body with manmade crap." If you want people to avoid attacking your (generic your) choices, then it would be polite to not attack their choices.

--------------------
IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

Posts: 3694 | From: Arizona | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for LeaflessMapleTree   E-mail LeaflessMapleTree   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by EmeraldCityAlchemist:
I am a chemist, and have been teaching chemistry classes for ten years, and this is a pet peeve of mine....

Firstly, the use of the word "chemical" - absolutely every substance out there is a chemical, even water or air. Calling something a "chemical" does not mean it is artificial or nasty.

Secondly, almost every single chemical produced artificially is found in LARGE AMOUNTS in nature - they are almost all naturally-occurring... Sulfuric acid, for example, is found naturally in the ocean and lakes, particularly near volcanic vents, and is also found in certain living cells.

I think the largest part of this problem comes from the fact that science education amongst the general population in this country is atrocious. People will debate this issue having had absolutely no chemistry education at all, and generally a lack of science knowledge to boot.

The person who made the statement in the OP is also a biology major. She's not uninformed. That is why I mentioned it in the first place. If I thought she was just dumb and didn't have any clue, I wouldn't bother trying to discuss this with her.

--------------------
"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

Posts: 3239 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
jimmy101
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for jimmy101   E-mail jimmy101   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Food chemicals, well any chemicals but especially those ingested in our "food" damages our organs because they have unknown affects on out bodies because the body is just trying to deal with the junk we threw into it the best way it knows how."
The original post is just so wrong that it is difficult to know where to start.

quote:
Food chemicals, well any chemicals but especially those ingested in our "food"
Everything you eat is made of chemicals. An all organic apple is 100% chemicals.

quote:
It wasn't designed to digest it because every species evolves alongside every other.
What? Chemicals are not species and chemicals do not evolve.

quote:
if the chemical doesn't exist in nature there is no reason for human to biologically capable of recognizing the chemical.
Why would the body want to "recognize" the chemical? Is it going to invite it to a party? The human body has a number of mechanism for recognizing and dealing with foreign entities. For example, for macromolecules (very big molecules) there is the antibody response. For smaller chemicals there are the oxidative degradation pathways (cytochrome P450s) and conjugative/reductive pathways (glutathione and the like). These pathways are very effective ate dealing with foreign matter.

Is the person suggesting that all naturally occurring chemicals can be handled by the human body? Many of the most toxic things are natural (snake venoms, ricin, etc.)

Even the posters comments...
quote:
-Just had an argument with someone on MSN messenger about chemicals in food. I don't mean just pesticides, I mean stuff like preservatives, and calcium chloride, and MSGs, and the like. This was the other person's take on it.
...don't make much sense (the poster is a biologist?). Calcium chloride is natural. MSG is also natural and without it you would die instantly. (MSG is one of the 20 common amino acids, most proteins are about 5% by weight MSG. The human body gets MSG from food but can also make it from other things.)

The original quote is just so dumb that it belittles valid arguments about the hazards of some man made chemicals and some naturally occuring chemicals.

Posts: 629 | From: Greenwood, IN | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
radiocerk
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for radiocerk   E-mail radiocerk   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
There are some people with an intolerance to wide spectrums of chemicals, called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or Environmental Illness. Artificial sweetners, fragances of all types, latex, paint, gasoline can all trigger allergy reactions. I'm not sure if I believe, as some do, that eventually everyone's going to DIE if we don't cut out artificial substances from our world, but incense and air freshners trigger my roommates asthma.
Posts: 27 | From: Anaheim, CA | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
jimmy101
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for jimmy101   E-mail jimmy101   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by radiocerk:
There are some people with an intolerance to wide spectrums of chemicals, called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or Environmental Illness. Artificial sweetners, fragances of all types, latex, paint, gasoline can all trigger allergy reactions. I'm not sure if I believe, as some do, that eventually everyone's going to DIE if we don't cut out artificial substances from our world, but incense and air freshners trigger my roommates asthma.

And some people keel over and die if they eat peanut butter or get stung by a bee.

Besides, incense and air freshners mostly contain natural substances and as often as not, it is those natural substances that folks are allergic to.

Posts: 629 | From: Greenwood, IN | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for LeaflessMapleTree   E-mail LeaflessMapleTree   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Yes. She is in first year biology in university. Any time I argue with her she points this out. I am a social science student, so I apparently cannot possible be right.

--------------------
"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

Posts: 3239 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ganzfeld     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by alicia:
I know that people are really stupid about things like this, and make outrageous claims, but that doesn't mean that things like the organic foods movement or probiotics or even all-natural cleaning supplies are stupid fads- they're a lot smarter than saturating your body with manmade crap. It seems to me like every time an artificial chemical/drug is touted as being spectacular, it turns out that it causes some sort of cancer or other illness anyway.

I agree that these movements are not all stupid fads. But, about the link between "artificial" chemicals and cancer or other diseases, I would say that most known carcinogens are natural. So, again, it is not necessarily true that synthetics are more likely to be bad for you.

I think the organic food and anti-GM, etc. movements are nothing more or less than a form of conservatism. That is, dealing with foods the way they have been traditionally dealt with (i.e. "natural" fertilization and pesticides, etc.) is better than doing something new and different. In some cases, this brand of conservatism may indeed be correct so it's certainly nothing to dismiss. That is, when we do things the way we have in the past, we at least have more history and experience to make sure things don't go terribly wrong. (Not to say that they won't. Remember the potato famine?) But I can't help thinking that the first people who cooked food were spat on for "irradiating" the food, for that is what cooking is. (Yes, I know about the "raw food" movement. I think they must be slightly batty, despite the fact that it is a very cool idea and probably fun to try.)

So, if you are a conservative about foods, good for you. But, just like conservativism in politics, it doesn't mean your way will always be the best.

Posts: 4922 | From: Kyoto, Japan | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


Icon 212 posted      Profile for lazerus the duck   E-mail lazerus the duck   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MapleLeaf:
quote:
Originally posted by EmeraldCityAlchemist:
I am a chemist, and have been teaching chemistry classes for ten years, and this is a pet peeve of mine....

Firstly, the use of the word "chemical" - absolutely every substance out there is a chemical, even water or air. Calling something a "chemical" does not mean it is artificial or nasty.

Secondly, almost every single chemical produced artificially is found in LARGE AMOUNTS in nature - they are almost all naturally-occurring... Sulfuric acid, for example, is found naturally in the ocean and lakes, particularly near volcanic vents, and is also found in certain living cells.

I think the largest part of this problem comes from the fact that science education amongst the general population in this country is atrocious. People will debate this issue having had absolutely no chemistry education at all, and generally a lack of science knowledge to boot.

The person who made the statement in the OP is also a biology major. She's not uninformed. That is why I mentioned it in the first place. If I thought she was just dumb and didn't have any clue, I wouldn't bother trying to discuss this with her.
Unfortunatly education is no cure for gullibility. People can have the full information to hand but still believe what they are told without question.

--------------------
All the world's a face, And all the men and women merely acne.

Posts: 673 | From: Glasgow, Scotland | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Keeper of the Mad Bunnies
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 02 posted      Profile for Keeper of the Mad Bunnies   E-mail Keeper of the Mad Bunnies   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MapleLeaf:
Yes. She is in first year biology in university. Any time I argue with her she points this out. I am a social science student, so I apparently cannot possible be right.

Well, let her know that this biology graduate agrees with the posters here (especially the chemist). First year's should not assume they know everything! Tell her to take some organic (and inorganic) chemistry classes and then get back to you on the subject.

James Powell

Posts: 588 | From: Michigan | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for lazerus the duck   E-mail lazerus the duck   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Keeper of the Mad Bunnies:
quote:
Originally posted by MapleLeaf:
Yes. She is in first year biology in university. Any time I argue with her she points this out. I am a social science student, so I apparently cannot possible be right.

Well, let her know that this biology graduate agrees with the posters here (especially the chemist). First year's should not assume they know everything! Tell her to take some organic (and inorganic) chemistry classes and then get back to you on the subject.

James Powell

I think the point should be any basic say for arguments sake 13 year old with the slightest amount of common sense would know how bad the statement is.

--------------------
All the world's a face, And all the men and women merely acne.

Posts: 673 | From: Glasgow, Scotland | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Honey Bunching Oats
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Honey Bunching Oats   E-mail Honey Bunching Oats   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My wife passed this on to me I cut off the rest for the sake of space:

"> *Keep this on the Fridge*
>
> Did You Know That?
>
> Drinking two glasses of* Gatorade* can relieve headache pain
almost
> immediately -- without the unpleasant side effects caused by
>traditional
> "pain relievers."
>
> Did you know that* Colgate* toothpaste makes an excellent salve
>for burns.
>
> Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler
>filled with
> mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously
> strong*Altoids*peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose...."

The subject of the letter was "Home Remides"

I liked the phrase "mysterious chemicals". They're listed on the label. FDA requires that. But then those names are mysterious. Maybe the person who started that e-mail thought chemistry is mysterious. Spelling is mysterious to that person too. Besides who uses an inhaler for a stuffed up nose? Inhalers are for asthma mostly.

I can imagine another instance with this person. "What's saline that's some mysterious chemical. I'll wash my dried nose with salt water instead." This is the kind of person who gets scared from threats about http://snopes.com/science/dhmo.asp

[Big Grin]

Hon "Mysterious Chemist" eyBunching Oats

--------------------
"When we talk about democracy, if the people's stomach is empty, democracy is also empty. Democracy cannot be installed by fiat; it must be achieved by the people themselves." Y.C. James Yen (1893-1990)

Posts: 146 | From: San Jose, California | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jaime Vargas Sanchez
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jaime Vargas Sanchez   E-mail Jaime Vargas Sanchez   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
As a footnote, there is the related fallacy that factory produced chemicals are somehow "worse" than those made in nature. Barring impurities, chemicals with the exact same structure are the same no matter where they came from

Tell me all about it. The worst offender I've seen so far is the ads for "Pascual Calcio" milk (which I see, judt by Googling, that were denounced by consumers associations). They claim that they're "the only milk with calcium which comes from milk" (and what do they do with the now calcium-less milk, then?).

The first ad was so blatant that I almost fell of the couch. They said "other calcium milks have calcium that doesn't come from milk", with a background where you saw the word "calcium" made with a white powder. Then they said "Pascual is the only one with calcium 100% coming from milk" and the background was now the word "calcium" made with a white creamy goo.

THey never said that this was better but not only they were implying it; with the white powder they seemed to be implying that the "other milks" added calcium by scraping lime from the walls of something.

Jaime

--------------------
"Everyone has problems. They only vary in design" - Mama Duck

Posts: 4988 | From: Spain | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
NobbyNobbs
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for NobbyNobbs   E-mail NobbyNobbs   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Honeybunching Oats:

>
> Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler
>filled with
> mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously
> strong*Altoids*peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose...."



Ever look at the ingredient list on a package of Altoids?

Here's a related question: It's well known that humans as a species can adapt to "new" foreign invaders: we build up resistance to antibodies and have to create new ones. Can anyone with more expertise than I tell me if we can do the same for all these "artificial chemicals" that the OP complains about? Can the human body, through repeated exposure, "learn" to metabolize these preservatives, etc?

(And by "learn", I don't even meean within one lifetime, necessarily. I'm talking evolution.)

--------------------
Back in the days before electricity, we were forced to watch TV by candlelight.

Posts: 229 | From: Paoli, PA | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Electrotiger
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Electrotiger   E-mail Electrotiger   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Ever look at the ingredient list on a package of Altoids?
INGREDIENTS:
SUGAR, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, GUM ARABIC, GELATIN, CORN SYRUP, NATURAL FLAVOR.

Seems pretty tame to me.

(At least it's not equal parts bone meal and earwig honey. [Big Grin] )

--------------------
Mr. Sagan did not go too fars, If you just took the time to scan its,
You'd count billions and billions of stars, And billions and billions of planets.

Posts: 332 | From: Kansas City, MO | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
mhash1015
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for mhash1015   E-mail mhash1015   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I am a chemist in the medical field, and I agree with Alchemist...we owe our life to chemicals!

--------------------
I find it is always easier to ask forgiveness than it is permission!

Posts: 1 | From: Buckholts, Texas | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


Icon 1 posted      Profile for GenYus   E-mail GenYus   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by NobbyNobbs:
Here's a related question: It's well known that humans as a species can adapt to "new" foreign invaders: we build up resistance to antibodies and have to create new ones. Can anyone with more expertise than I tell me if we can do the same for all these "artificial chemicals" that the OP complains about? Can the human body, through repeated exposure, "learn" to metabolize these preservatives, etc?

(And by "learn", I don't even meean within one lifetime, necessarily. I'm talking evolution.)

Yes, unless the chemical is so deadly that it kills 100% of people who are dosed with it. Also, this supposes that it is not removed from the market when it comes to light that this chemical X is killing 50% of the population. Finally, this chemical X would have to kill off the people who use it before they have children. If it kills off pensioners, then it will have little to no effect on evolution.

--------------------
IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

Posts: 3694 | From: Arizona | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
The Rubber Chicken
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for The Rubber Chicken   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
She is in first year biology in university. Any time I argue with her she points this out. I am a social science student, so I apparently cannot possible be right.
Wow. She is in her first year as a biology student? So she has taken what... a bunch of core 101 courses? You should probably point out to her that being a first year biology student doesn't make her an expert on the digestive system or plant and animal life.

Aside from what everyone else has written here, you might also point out that even most of the "natural" food that we eat has been intentionally changed by humans over thousands of years via selective breeding and grafting. Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs and Steel spends a good amount of time discussing this. For example, wild almonds contain a deadly amount of cyanide and would kill a human being who ate one. At some point, somebody found an almond tree that was edible -- probably a genetic mutation. Through continuous breeding of that mutation, we have edible almonds. Strawberries were originally small fruits that birds ate. After centuries of selectively breeding the biggest strawberry plants, we created the plump, juicy strawberries we enjoy today.

The fact is, the vast majority of the food we eat today is significantly different from how it occurred in nature. Long before we knew how to manipulate DNA and create chemical compounds to add to food, we were altering the "natural" plants and animals to suit our tastes via other methods.

quote:

amnything that was made that nature did not make itself for reasons obviously because it wasn't evolutionarily beneficial for it to be created for any reason, or else those chemicals would already exist.

This particular statement is so incredibly stupid I don't know where to begin. By this logic, we shouldn't make anything, since if it is really good, it already exists in nature. Bye bye peniccilin, and almost any pharmaceutical you can name.

You should ask her if she ever takes Aspirin for a headache, or cough syrup when she is sick, or Pepto Bismol when she has an upset stomach. If she does, I guess she is damaging her organs.

--------------------
Visit my blog, Websurdity... the Weird, the Bizarre, the Silly, the Absurd.

Posts: 716 | From: Seoul, South Korea | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
dlloyd
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for dlloyd     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
According to this site, MSG is in fact a natural ingredient that is 'produced by a fermentation process similar to that used in making beer...', and if you go to this page it tells you that it has been regarded as safe for over 40 years and sits on the same classification level as pepper, sugar, vinegar and baking soda.
MSG is simply the sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid and is naturally found in all foods. I routinely measure it in potatoes.

To the OP, your friend is an idiot. She's a first year biology major so she's had maybe three months of introductory lectures? And that makes her an expert?

Posts: 99 | From: Dundee | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


Icon 1 posted      Profile for GenYus   E-mail GenYus   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rubber Chicken:
quote:

amnything that was made that nature did not make itself for reasons obviously because it wasn't evolutionarily beneficial for it to be created for any reason, or else those chemicals would already exist.

This particular statement is so incredibly stupid I don't know where to begin. By this logic, we shouldn't make anything, since if it is really good, it already exists in nature. Bye bye peniccilin, and almost any pharmaceutical you can name.

You should ask her if she ever takes Aspirin for a headache, or cough syrup when she is sick, or Pepto Bismol when she has an upset stomach. If she does, I guess she is damaging her organs.

Actually, penicillin occurs naturally in the penicillium mold, aspirin comes from the bark of the willow tree, and bismuth (the active ingrediant in Pepto-Bismol) is a naturally occuring element. [Big Grin]

--------------------
IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

Posts: 3694 | From: Arizona | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Lainie   E-mail Lainie   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by radiocerk:
I'm not sure if I believe, as some do, that eventually everyone's going to DIE if we don't cut out artificial substances from our world, but incense and air freshners trigger my roommates asthma.

Cold air triggers mine.

--------------------
How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

Posts: 8322 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
The Rubber Chicken
The First USA Noel


Icon 607 posted      Profile for The Rubber Chicken   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Actually, penicillin occurs naturally in the penicillium mold, aspirin comes from the bark of the willow tree, and bismuth (the active ingrediant in Pepto-Bismol) is a naturally occuring element.
Salicin comes from the bark of the willow tree. The drug Aspirin that is sold today is synthetic, and does not come from the willow tree. In fact, it is considered the first synthetic drug, as far as I know. Salicin as it occurs in nature is too acidic for the human body, and causes a lot of digestive problems, so unless you are taking "organic" aspirin, you are taking a drug made of chemicals engineered in the lab. I don't think Bayer has a willow tree farm anywhere [Wink]

Penicillin had to be combined with probenecid originally to be effective, and the naturally ocurring penicillin isn't particularly effective when taken orally. Amoxicillin (which we take for strep throat, amongst other things) is chemically altered to allow it circulate through your body better.

And the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol is Bismuth subsalicylate. The bismuth is a naturally occurring element. The salicylic acid, as with aspirin, is made synthetically.

Wise ass. [Big Grin]

On a side note, I have bad memories of Pepto-Bismol from childhood. My mom used to prescribe it as a cure for just about anything. I probably could have come in with a broken leg and she would have given me Pepto-Bismol. Actually, when I had appendicitis, it took me about 4 hours to convince her I had more than just a stomach ache. I vomited up the Pepto Bismol she gave me, which shocked her so bad that she finally took me to the hospital. I guess if Pepto Bismol couldn't cure it, well, we needed a doctor.

--------------------
Visit my blog, Websurdity... the Weird, the Bizarre, the Silly, the Absurd.

Posts: 716 | From: Seoul, South Korea | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ryda Wong, EBfCo.   E-mail Ryda Wong, EBfCo.   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rubber Chicken:
For example, wild almonds contain a deadly amount of cyanide and would kill a human being who ate one.

Ahhh. Hence the "slight hint of bitter almonds" thing.

--------------------
So many spankings! It feels so good! But at the same time, I don't care about meeting your family! - I'mNotDedalus:

Posts: 3216 | From: Denver, CO | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for TurquoiseGirl   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MapleLeaf:
Yes. She is in first year biology in university. Any time I argue with her she points this out. I am a social science student, so I apparently cannot possible be right.

I have several degrees in biology and biochemistry type things. Tell her she is wrong from me.

--------------------
There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

Posts: 6995 | From: New Mexico | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2