Chemical-free Life!

“We’re a startup and rolled out a 100% chemical-free natural herbal shampoo, based on an ancient Ayurveda text. Udayji, I have been your loyal reader since 2009. I know you have thousands of followers on social media and your website. I know you as a true proponent of the Hindu Dharmic way of living. Can you write a piece on our product?” a message from a reader (can’t reveal the name for reasons obvious).
“Sorry, I don’t promote any products or services through my writings. If you really read my articles you might have known that.”
“Yes, I know, Udayji. But this is a 100% chemical-free product. Naturally produced. So, it has a social purpose too…Please help us…”
“Do you use dihydrogen monoxide in this shampoo?”
“No-no… We don’t use any such harmful chemical…”
“But I use it regularly…”
“Udayji, you should refrain from using such chemicals…”
“If I don’t use this chemical I would die…”
“What do you mean?”
“It is the chemical name of water. H2O…” I continued: “I also use sucrose, sodium chloride, Oryza sativa, etc…” (chemical names of sugar, salt, rice, etc respectively) ”
“Your point is…”
“My point is, there is no such thing as a chemical-free product. Everything on earth is a chemical. You are also made entirely out of chemicals. Everything around us – the universe, the human body – is made of chemicals. Pure water is made up of chemicals. The air you’re breathing is made up of chemicals. You are composed of chemical compounds. We are surrounded by chemical compositions around us all the time. Any substance made of matter is chemical. So, you’re misleading or cheating the customers by saying it is chemical-free…”
“Udayji, but we use ONLY natural raw materials…So there are no toxic substances…”
I understand that people have attached a certain negative connotation to the word ‘chemical’. It is identified as something that is bad or harmful. It is a sort of chemophobia. I told him: “Many people usually use the word “chemical” mistakenly for toxins and Agrotoxins. *Not all chemicals may be bad for you, or not all natural products good for you*…”
“You mean to say all chemicals – whether natural or man-made – are the same in terms of toxicity?”
“Yes, whether a chemical is naturally occurring or man-made tells us nothing about its toxicity. *The dose makes the poison*. It’s definitely a myth that all chemicals are bad for us. Let me repeat, natural chemicals aren’t always good for you and manmade chemicals are not inherently dangerous. Yes, there are some chemicals to avoid, but calling all chemical-based products toxic and harmful is uninformed at best.”
“But there are a lot of reputed products in the market which claim to be chemical-free…So there must be…”
“Your start-up expects to make a profit right?”
“Yes, of course, but not a greedy profit selling harmful chemicals…”
“Whatever. You can get Indian Rupees 10 crores immediately then. The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in the UK has announced a GBP 1 million bounty to the first person who can crack the impossible: create a product that is 100% chemical-free. Why don’t you apply for that?”
After a moment he said: “Udayji, I didn’t know these facts…”
“The ‘chemical-free’ foods and drinks don’t exist. Natural chemicals in our food are not ‘naturally better’ than manmade chemicals. A chemical substance, irrespective of its being – natural or synthetic (artificially produced), has the same properties and nature. Its reaction in the human body will be the same.”
“Udayji, all your articles inspired a lot of readers like me. You have been instrumental to encourage many. But, now, after talking to you, I feel very down, discouraged, and upset…I thought you’d support and encourage us as we followed the Hindu way of life in making this product…”
“My wish always is may everyone be happy and peaceful. I promote Sanatan Dharma as it is founded upon truth, which is pure science. Yes, I am a proponent of Ayurveda too. But, I cannot promote unscientific things that have nothing to do with Hinduism. Facts are sacred in our Dharma… I cannot support lies and mislead readers. I am sorry that I didn’t meet your expectation.”
“Okay. Can you at least suggest a better way of branding it?”
“You can always say your product is organic and earth-friendly and non-toxic if that is the truth. But don’t lie by saying it is chemical-free…”
Many vegetable vendors buy farm produce from the open market, then label it as ‘chemicals-free’ or ‘organic’ and sell it doubling the price. We’re so naive to believe them too! (Broadcast Message No: 376)
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