I have a friend just who loves to eat a mix of the following: calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, calcium silicate, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of fatty acids, ethanol, sorbitol, polysorbate 20, potassium propionate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ammonium chloride, ammonium sulfate, calcium peroxide, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, calcium propionate and BOTH mono- and diglycerides among other things… Doesn't that just make your mouth water?
I bet if you saw it as part of an MSDS for a flooring glue, you'd freak out, wondering what type of VOCs it would lead to, or if you need to wear gloves or mask in handling it. It sounds terrible; it sounds scary. A lot of bi, di and tri versions of "ides," "ates" and "iums" never feels good. It sure doesn't sound healthy and it doesn't sound safe.
Well, I don't know about healthy, since they're all mixed up with some other things like flour and partially hydrogenated soybean oil as part of a Big Mac's bun. But they are safe enough for the majority of our population. There may be the one in a 100,000 who has a sensitivity to "polysorbate 20" in even the smallest amounts, but for the most part, a Big Mac bun is going to do more harm to our waistline then anything else in our body.
I talk a lot about a lot of green claims coming from fear, and I think this is a good example. You may or may not like a Big Mac, and you may or may not think it's the healthiest lunch around, but for the most part, you don't look at that sesame seed bun as a chemical cesspool.
But isn't that the bottom line? After all, we are all chemicals. Chemicals are not inherently evil, they just are. Many of them can hurt us in large amounts. Some can even hurt us in small amounts. Some people will be more sensitive to one over another. But a "chemical" itself? That's not a bad word. We shouldn't treat it as such.
Oh, and by the way, so you don't think I'm picking on McDonald's, you can take a quick look at some of Subway's chemicals, oops, I mean ingredients, or what is in everyday brand name breads. Do a little Googling of your favorite treats. You may never look at that yummy chocolate bar the same way again.