The Royal Society of Chemistry has taken this one step further and recently announced that they'll give £1,000,000 to anyone who can furnish them with 100% chemical-free material.
Part of the riot has been caused by Miracle-Gro who have longed claimed (to the derision of anyone with basic chemistry understanding) that some of their products are:
Made from 100% naturally occurring materials. 100% chemical free.
The Advertising Standards Authority have been unusually backward on this and according to a Guardian report by Frank Swain at the time, they stated:
When there is a colloquial understanding of a word, we can take this into account when reaching our decision. In this case, we believe that most viewers are likely to understand the term 'organic' as meaning no man-made chemicals have been used to manufacture, or are present in this product.
I wonder if the Royal Society of Chemistry will amend the remit of its Organic Division accordingly.
I spoke briefly to Jon Edwards at the RSC to see if anyone had taken him up on the offer, apparently a few smart arses had offered him a vacuum or lightning or similar.
So will the companies claiming 100% chemical free status come forward? I doubt it. I'd like to see the RSC approach them directly (and the ASA for that matter) and see where that takes them. A brief google search gives two major arenas - coffee and cosmetics. Coffee, because of the Swiss-water method of decaffeinating coffee (fancy some Colombian Supremo?) and cosmetics, because nasty, evil, vindictive, malevolent chemicals are not good advertising when you're trying to persuade someone to plaster their face in order to hide their natural ugliness. So we have products like The Lip Pencil, 100% organic and chemical free. Oh, luckily it lists the ingredients:
Hydrogenated palm kernel glycerides, Talc, Hydrogenated vegetable oil, Caprylic/Capric triglyceride, Hydrogenated palm glycerides, Rhus succedanea fruit wax, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Ascorbyl palmitate. [May contain: +/- Titanium dioxide (CI 77891), Mica (CI 77019), Manganese violet (CI 77742), Iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Red 30 (CI 73360), Carmine (CI 75470)]
Should be a straightforward phonecall to the RSC and pick up the cheque, I would have thought.