People often ask me to look at product labels for them, and I know from experience that many of us like to put ingredients into little boxes of “good” and “evil.”  However, as with most things, there is a lot of gray area.  The proportion of an ingredient in a product can make a huge difference as to whether it is benign or toxic, also, ingredients that may be “toxic” in a pure natural state can be made benign or even beneficial with a bit of chemistry.  Also, sometimes the ingredient itself may not be toxic, but I may caution someone to avoid it because it is derived from a nonrenewable resource (such as petroleum derivatives like mineral oil or petroleum jelly) or may have other “non-toxic” but not nice side effects (such as petroleum derivatives known side effect of inhibiting the body’s ability to produce its own moisture.)

Here are 3 examples to illustrate that natural can be toxic, chemistry can transform toxic into beneficial and that toxic can even be necessary.

1) You can drink too much water and it can kill you. It’s called water intoxication and what happens is your electrolytes get diluted to a point where brain function can be impaired. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1770067/

2) Speaking of electrolytes, a highly explosive metal and a deadly fatal gas become a very important electrolyte via the magic of chemistry. Sodium (the explosive metal) and chlorine (the deadly gas) makes salt, which our bodies need in order to function properly.  http://www.livestrong.com/article/424842-what-is-the-essential-role-of-salt-in-the-body/

3) Even substances as toxic as arsenic, which is highly poisonous but believed to aid in cardiac function in humans in trace amounts, are beneficial and necessary in the right proportions. http://www.wellnessjournal.net/Nutrition/Minerals/toxic_minerals/arsenic.html