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Soap
Palm oil is found in roughly 50 per cent of all packaged products on supermarket shelves including shampoos, baking oil, chocolate, cosmetics, chips, cookies, margarine and soaps.

Unfortunately, not only does palm oil promote heart disease, but the vast plantations that grow oil palm trees have contributed to the destruction of the rainforest of South East Asia and threaten the survival of animals such as the Orangutan in Borneo, the Sumatran tiger, and Asian rhinoceros. Additionally, burning after deforestation accounts for significant greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, it has recently been deemed a potential saviour as a renewable resource for use as a biofuel.
  • Palm oil may be in a product but labelled simply as 'vegetable oil'. An indicator however is if the nutritional panel lists saturated fat and it's higher than 50%, and yet there no animal fat listed as an ingredient, there is likely to be palm kernel oil, palm oil or coconut oil, as a component of 'vegetable oil' (most likely to be palm). See the various names for palm oil Palm Oil Investigations
  • For a list of branded products that do not contain palm oil, see the 'Helping you buy responsibly' section on the Borneo Orangutan Survival website. Borneo Orangutan Survival
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is the foaming agent commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, and toothpastes. It's also found in industrial products including engine degreasers, floor cleaners, and car wash soaps. Although used in low concentrations in bodycare products, it ends up on the most sensitive areas of our bodies almost every day. It is well known in the scientific community as a common skin irritant. In stripping away oil and drying the skin's surface, it reduces the skin's ability to effectively regulate moisture, and increases the skin's absorption of certain other chemicals such as preservatives, fragrances and colour additives. It's used in our products primarily because it's cheap, often derived from palm oil. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is the alcohol form of SLS. It is slightly less irritating than SLS, but may cause more drying. There is mixed opinion as to whether SLS and SLES are carcinogenic (cancer causing), however, it is possible both may be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, which is a probable carcinogen.
EWG
  • Avoid if you have sensitive skin. Read the product label and seek and alternative product without SLS, where possible. (i.e. ammonium lauryl sulfate as a surfactant).
  • Seek out products that claim to be 1,4 dioxane free or SLS/SLES free.
Features: Certified organic, cruelty free, Australian owned, carbon neutral
Miessence has an extensive range of certified organic products for skin, hair, body, cosmetic and oral. Available online.
Manufacturer: Miessence
Features: Australian owned and made, cruelty free, vegan, palm oil free, plastic free
This Australian family-owned company makes its soaps in Dandenong, Melbourne. Their soaps are certified cruelty free and vegan by Choose Cruelty Free, and certified palm oil free by the Orangutan Alliance. Their soaps are packaged using only recycled or recyclable cardboard and paper - no plastic.
Find farmers' markets, food coops, farm gate products at Local Harvest
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