I think that phrase should be "Engineers will do anything". This does not give it the stamp of approval however, nor does it ensure that their chemistry is correct as Kirk has pointed out.
Imagine building the port on a Mercury capsule (an example given by Patrick in another thread), and it has a 5% variation in size. One would leak (too small), one would crack (too big), and one would be just right! I think that this analogy is apt although the results would be far less draconian in photography. If you had a 5% variation in alkali content, your pictures might be usable but you might wonder why your contrast or sharpness varied as much as it did.