Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Chemophobia in Europe and reasons for biased risk perceptions

Very few consumers are aware that chemistry and synthetic chemicals are indispensable in making everyday goods because the products that people buy — such as cell phones, cars and processed foods — are typically far removed from the raw chemicals used in their production.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Surveying chemical knowledge in eight European countries.


  1. 1.

    Rosling, H. Factfulness (Sceptre, 2018).

  2. 2.

    Bearth, A., Saleh, R. & Siegrist, M. Food Chem. Toxicol. 131, 110560 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Slovic, P., Finucane, M. L., Peters, E. & MacGregor, D. G. Risk Anal. 24, 311–322 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Entine, J. Scared to Death: How Chemophobia Threatens Public Health (American Council on Science and Health, 2011).

  5. 5.

    Rozin, P., Fischler, C. & Shields-Argeles, C. Appetite 59, 448–455 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Roman, S., Sanchez-Siles, L. M. & Siegrist, M. Trends Food Sci. Technol. 67, 44–57 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Bearth, A., Miesler, L. & Siegrist, M. Risk Anal. 37, 647–660 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Rozin, P. Psychol. Sci. 16, 652–658 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Kraus, N., Malmfors, T. & Slovic, P. Risk Anal. 12, 215–232 (1992).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Siegrist, M. Risk Anal. (2019).

  11. 11.

    Public Attitudes to Chemistry: Research Report (RSC, 2015).

  12. 12.

    Saleh, R., Bearth, A. & Siegrist, M. Risk Anal. (2019).

Download references

Author information




The manuscript was jointly prepared by M.S. and A.B.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael Siegrist.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Siegrist, M., Bearth, A. Chemophobia in Europe and reasons for biased risk perceptions. Nat. Chem. 11, 1071–1072 (2019).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing