Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemophobia shouldn't be on the menu

Date:
August 14, 2013
Source:
Dartmouth College
Summary:
When it comes to what's for dinner -- or breakfast and lunch for that matter -- many people suffer from chemophobia, an irrational fear of natural and synthetic chemicals that pose no risk to our health.

When it comes to what's for dinner -- or breakfast and lunch for that matter-- many people suffer from chemophobia, an irrational fear of natural and synthetic chemicals that pose no risk to our health, a Dartmouth study finds.

Chemistry Professor Gordon Gribble, whose paper appears in the journal Food Security, argues that low doses of chemicals in modern food are inherent, typically harmless and often highly beneficial. He says most people don't know they are routinely exposed to a host of compounds in non-toxic concentrations in what they eat and drink each day. Even the air they breathe -- whether in big cities or the countryside -- is full of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals, including wine "aroma," flower "bouquet," perfume "fragrance," bakery "smell" and "garbage "stench."

Gribble cites the example of halogen compounds, which many people -- even many scientists -- assume are all uniquely human-made poisons found in dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the pesticide DDT. But he says thousands of halogen compounds are, in fact, part of our natural environment made by protists, plants, animals and even humans for their own defensive purposes. Some species even use organohalogens, which contain carbon along with chlorine, bromine, iodine or fluorine, to mount chemical offensives against encroaching competitors.

Gribble says food regulators should focus not on pesticides, antibiotics and dioxins but on pathogens, bacteria and fungi, which each year cause millions of cases of food-borne infections in the United States that result in hospitalization or death. He recommends people eat a diverse diet to minimize their exposure to harmful concentrations of chemicals.

"Our food is peppered with natural compounds such as organohalogens, dioxins, aflatoxins and many others," he says. "Food is chemistry beyond our immediate control, including those synthetic chemicals that are deemed to be artificial and should not be found in 'safe' food."

Gribble says chemophobia started in 1962 with publication of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" and was reinforced by major chemical accidents, such as those in Times Beach, Missouri; Love Canal, New York; and Bhopal, India. "The word 'chemical' became a dirty word despite the fact that everything we see, smell and touch is chemical," he says. "While chemical scares invariably appear on the front page, the follow-up stories that often refute the initial scares never do."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gordon W. Gribble. Food chemistry and chemophobia. Food Security, 2013; 5 (2): 177 DOI: 10.1007/s12571-013-0251-2

Cite This Page:

Dartmouth College. "Chemophobia shouldn't be on the menu." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814125039.htm>.
Dartmouth College. (2013, August 14). Chemophobia shouldn't be on the menu. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814125039.htm
Dartmouth College. "Chemophobia shouldn't be on the menu." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814125039.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

AFP (July 31, 2014) Uganda's health minister said on Thursday that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, but that it remained on alert for cases of the deadly virus. Uganda has suffered Ebola outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2012. Duration: 00:59 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins