‘Natural substances’ and a natural woman | Brief letters

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Chemicals | John Brennan | Aretha Franklin | Pet names

Irrespective of the safety or otherwise of glyphosate, the idea that “natural substances” are not chemicals and are consequently inherently safe is curiously persistent. Indeed Craig Sams’ letter (15 August) mentions the hazards of (natural) tobacco leaves. Biochar will unavoidably contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, formed “naturally” in charring processes, which are known carcinogens. But just don’t eat it (or inhale it).
Jonathan Clayden
Professor of chemistry, University of Bristol

• So John Brennan has had his security clearance removed for “lying” and his “erratic conduct and behaviour” (Ex-CIA boss says Trump denial of Russia collusion is ‘hogwash’, 17 August). Who said the Americans don’t understand irony?
Cherry Weston

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