The Spectacle Blog

Are Organic and Green Products a Scam?

By on 12.10.10 | 2:12AM

Maybe "scam" is a strong word, but "hyped" probably isn't.  More and more scientific research is showing that organic and green products don't live up to expectations-- or even to the label, for that matter.

This post by Melinda Moyer describes how so-called "green" household cleaners aren't any less toxic than regular household cleaners.  In fact, almost any product can claim to be "green" because there are no laws regulating that.  From the piece:

The core of the problem is that there are no laws regulating green marketing, so a company can say its product is all-natural or non-toxic without having to prove anything or even disclose its ingredients on the bottle.

What about organic farming?  Isn't that supposed to be "green," too?  Not really.  A recent article by John Stossel in Reason describes how free-range beef, which is marketed partially based on how good it is for the environment, actually emits more greenhouse gases than regular farming methods.  And another article from Discovery News reports on research from the University of Copenhagen which concluded that organic vegetables aren't any healthier than conventional vegetables.

So, what we've got is an industry selling you an idea:  The idea that "natural" is good, and "unnatural" is bad.  This misleads the public into rejecting modern technology and conventional agricultural practices, including techniques like genetic modification.

Does that make organic and green products a scam?  I don't know, but they sure are expensive.

Alex B. Berezow is the Editor of RealClearScience.  He holds a Ph.D. in microbiology.

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