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Environment

On Lavender Oil

December 1, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 48

I was surprised to see quoted in the official organ of the American Chemical Society the statement, “Lavender extract isn’t dangerous, you know. There’s no chemical matter in the products” (C&EN, Oct. 13, page 19). I guess that lavender oil comes from a universe other than the one in which we live. One in which matter other than chemicals exists.

A main objective of ACS is to educate people to the reality of science. This statement assuredly does not accomplish that; indeed, it serves the opposite. Even though this purports to be a direct quote from a French lavender farmer, responsible journalism would require an editorial comment as to the fallacy of this statement. Obviously, the farmer making this statement meant that the product is not adulterated with artificial additives. I would expect such journalism in the popular press that denigrates science, not in a supposedly responsible publication of a major scientific society.

Herbert S. Golinkin
Naperville, Ill.

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Comments
Robert Butnrock (December 9, 2014 5:09 PM)
I also noted the quote on no chemicals in lavender oil. However, in context, I took it as a further example of public misconceptions of what chemicals are. Theodore Gray has come out with another wonderful book, "Molecules..." that addresses these misconceptions. For example, he shows that if chemical labeling of "natural" foodstuffs were required, the list for asparagus would include several dozen.

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