Photo: Silicon Valley Moms Blog
With all the news and talk about the Gulf oil spill during the past two weeks, we've (unsurprisingly) been talking a lot about the science behind oil and oil production, the future of energy, and the economics behind the whole shebang. We talk about this stuff a lot anyway, but when you really think about, petroleum pervades almost every single aspect of our lives. It's what we use to power our cars and make machinery go, of course, but it's also seemingly omnipresent in thousands of unsuspecting products we use every day. And for women in particular, petroleum and petroleum-derived byproducts are hiding in some pretty sneaky places. Today, I took a walk through my house thinking just about my fashion and beauty regimen between breakfast and lunch - I consider myself pretty green, and a highly conscious consumer -- and I came up with dozens of things that are made from petroleum or petroleum byproducts. Let's be clear: petroleum in and of itself is not necessarily dangerous or evil. But if we really want to think about how we move toward a brighter green future, we better face the facts: This stuff is in nearly everything we use - even if you're using green beauty products, wearing green clothes, and eating wholesome foods, petroleum is likely lurking somewhere in or around your smart-consumer choices.
With all that in mind, I began to make a list of common fashion and beauty products most women use everyday that are either made from oil or contain petroleum byproducts. Take a look - it may surprise you. Then ask yourself, what's in my shampoo/eye shadow/underwear/etc? And could I live without it?
Petroleum is hiding in your closet in:1. Clothing made from synthetic fibers such as acrylic, 2. nylon, and 3. polyester, or 4. coated with formaldehyde finishes (even organic cotton could fall into this category) 5. Socks 6. Buttons 7. The stretchy part of your underwear and 8. all of your bra 9. Running shoes 10. The soles of your shoes 11. Stretchy jeans and 12. shirts, etc. 13. Plastic earrings, 14. bracelets, and 15. necklaces, etc.
Photo: Luva Huva
Petroleum is hiding in your in your bathroom in:
17. Body lotion
18. Ibuprofen and
20. Hair conditioner
23. Hair bands
24. Bobby pins
29. Sanitary pads
QUIZ: Are you an eco-fashionista?
Petroleum is hiding in your make-up bag in:
34. Lip plumper
36. Nail polish
37. Eye makeup remover
38. Hair gel
39. Hair spray
42. Face powder
43. Eye shadow
Illustration: Chris Halderman via Flickr.
Petroleum is hiding in your in your purse in
47 Cell phone (Let's face it, iPods and phones are basically fashion accessories)
48. Breath mints
50. Lip gloss
It's enough to make you wonder how we ever did without it -- and what else it's in. To learn more about how petroleum is used in everyday girl stuff, and how it affects our bodies, check out the Ecology Center's Body Map. To find out what's in the beauty and personal care products you use, check Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database. To learn more about greening your beauty routine, check our green guides on fashion accessories, wardrobe, natural skin care, and personal care:
Or, find out green you already are when it comes to your fashion and beauty regimen in a green fashion quiz.