The adorable apes you see at left may be homeless because of your junk food habit or your hair conditioner. The problem? Palm oil. As Glenn Hurowitz explains in the Los Angeles Times, palm oil "comes from the disappearing, ultra-carbon-rich rain forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, of which a whopping 25,000 square miles have been cleared and burned to make way for palm oil plantations. The burning releases enough carbon dioxide into the air to rank Indonesia as the No. 3 such polluter in the world. It also destroys the last remaining habitat for orangutans." We've previously posted about palm oil in Oreos (dammit!) and Girl Scout cookies (crap!), but, Hurowitz reports, it can also be found in many other foods: Entenmann's chocolate-covered doughnuts, Chewy Chips Ahoy!, Orville Redenbacher's popcorn, Hershey's Kisses "Hugs," and Twix. Oh, well, that stuff isn't healthy anyway, right?
Well there's also palm oil in Kashi breakfast bars and Whole Foods water crackers. Not to mention cosmetics like Burt's Bees soap and Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest Flowers. So like, when you think you're buying some kind of natural, earthy hair stuff, you're actually killing the earth?
I went on a treasure hunt around my apartment to see if I had any killer products containing palm oil. No dice, maybe because my fridge is empty. And my conditioner is full of chemicals with no "natural" ingredients. Yay! Also, apparently Lever 2000 soap is palm-oil free. But then I started thinking: I eat meat and wear leather and sometimes I let people at the deli give me a plastic bag. I don't know what the solution is but I already know I'm part of the problem. But if Glenn Hurowitz, an environmental journalist, didn't realize his (wife's) conditioner had palm oil, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Clean Hair Or Clean Air? [LA Times]