Clean Air or Clean Hair? Palm Oil In Everything

palm oil in cookies kills orangutans photo
Whenever I write about the evils of palm oil I get deluged with comments like "Give me a break, Lloyd. I'm gullible but not that gullible! Your views on palm oil smack of ignorance." and "Seriously, but all this palm oil bashing smacks of industry cartel action." Or I get told to read up about its wonders at the Palm Oil Truth Foundation. What is a TreeHugger to believe?

Glenn Hurowitz of Grist to the rescue. He wrote a great op-ed in the LA Times about the omnipresence of palm oil in everything from shampoo to cookies, finding rhino-killer in Oreos, Chewy Chips Ahoy!, Orville Redenbacher's popcorn, Hershey's Kisses "Hugs," Twix and more. And not just the mainstream stuff: it's in products from Burts Bees, Trader Joes, Whole Foods and other "green" sources.

deforestation for palm oil production borneo photo
He writes:

"Whether it's used as an additive in soap, cosmetics or food, or processed into a biofuel, palm oil is one of the worst culprits in the climate crisis. Most of it 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.

That 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, Sumatran rhinos, tigers and other endangered wildlife."

He concludes:

"So how can we keep dead orangutans out of our hair, out of our food and out of our gas tanks? Consumers should scan ingredient labels for palm oil and palm kernel oil (and derivatives such as palmitic acid) and choose brands that don't contain them.

But governments must act too. The European Union, for instance, is considering a ban on palm oil and other tropical biofuels. But as my hair conditioner shows, targeting biofuels alone isn't enough: Any ban must extend to food and cosmetics as well.

That may slightly inconvenience the food and cosmetics companies, but at least we'll know that no orangutans died to make our Thin Mints." ::LA Times

Help build a database of orangutan-killer products at ::Rainforest Action Network
Read more TreeHugger on palm oil:
Girl Scouts Not Dying For A Cookie
Everything connects: How getting rid of trans-fats kills orangutans
Palm Oil: A Rainforest in your Shopping
Major Campaign against Palm Oil, Destroyer of Orangutans
Indonesia Fastest Forest Destroyer
Mainstream Media Discovers that Palm Oil no Panacea :
UN says Palm Oil Industry is Wiping out the Orang Utan