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FIVE MEANINGLESS TERMS OR PHRASES THAT YOU PAY MORE FOR

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.



FIVE MEANINGLESS TERMS OR PHRASES THAT YOU PAY MORE FOR

David Shankbone, Wikimedia Commons

Various terms and descriptions are used to make products sound more healthy or beneficial, though they are essentially meaningless. Here are just five of those terms:

1. "Hypoallergenic.*" 
It sounds very nice but doesn't mean anything because there's no official standard for this term. Products that could cause an allergic reaction can still be labeled as hypoallergenic. At best, the term  means that the manufacturer believes the product won't cause any reaction (but it hasn't been tested to any absolute level).

2. "Fragrance-free."
 People mistake this for something that has no smell at all, but it's fragrance-free and not smell-free. All this means is that while in most cases a finished product has a fragrance added to it to mask its smell (chemical or otherwise), a product that is fragrance-free has not had any fragrances added to it, but it doesn't mean that what is already in it doesn't have a scent (or an odor).

3. "All-natural."
This means absolutely nothing because at their foundations, all materials are naturally occurring, so even the artificial or synthetic materials we create are made of natural materials. Have a look at the ingredients list of any all-natural product and you'll see plenty of non-natural sounding pieces.

4. "Organic."
 If a product has the USDA Organic food label, then it does come from a source that has specific organic standards such as no hormones, pesticides, etc. However, without the USDA label, "organic" is meaningless and just means it's "all natural," which sounds good until you realize you now know the myth of all-natural products.

5. "Never Tested on Animals."
This is one of the most misleading phrases because it is correct on a very superficial level. All this means is that the end product was never tested on animals. However, the ingredients that go into the product may well have been tested on animals. In fact, there are almost no ingredients in cosmetics and medicines for human use that weren't tested on animals.


*It's the very same thing for "nontoxic." If a manufacturer says something is nontoxic, it doesn't mean the product has been thoroughly tested for toxicity, only that the manufacturer believes that the product isn't toxic.