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Thursday, August 06, 2015

British public positive about chemistry

Findings from the Royal Society of Chemistry’s research show public attitudes to chemistry in the UK are positive.

Good news

The first study of its kind reveals that, overall, people in the UK are positive about chemistry’s impact on society. For example, 60% of the UK public agreed that “everything is made of chemicals” and 75% disagreed that all chemicals are dangerous and harmful.

The double meaning of “chemicals”

The word ‘chemicals’ is sometimes used in everyday language as short-hand to refer to harmful or potentially dangerous substances. However this is not the only meaning, and respondents showed their definitions were multiple and context-dependent. In general people scored quite well in all the questions about chemicals:

  • 75% disagreed that all chemicals are dangerous and harmful

  • 70% agreed that everything, including water and oxygen, can be toxic at a certain dose

  • 60% also said that everything is made of chemicals

Understanding chemicals in cleaning products

People sometimes think that natural products are safer for them and the environment and more sustainable than man-made things, but that's a misconception.

Cleaning products already make great use of natural raw materials, but the fact is that natural ingredients aren't intrinsically safer than synthetic ingredients, for us or the eco-system. Everything on the planet is made of the same 90-odd chemical elements so dividing things into 'natural' and 'chemical' can be seriously misleading. Learn more about the science behind cleaning products in the green cleaning section of the UKCPI professional cleaning website here

Research methodology

The research was conducted by the social research company TNS BMRB on behalf of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). It included several stages of qualitative and quantitative research, including a national public survey, with 2,104 face-to-face interviews with UK adults (16+).

For more information about the research, including the report, toolkit and the infographic visit the RSC’s project page.