Product Overload – Drop The Soap
This is the second post about my personal product reduction project (or ‘scheme’ as they would say in England). To see the details check out the original post under my blog category “Product Overload.”
August 26, 2008
The category is SOAP.
I had only 2 bars of soap, but the minimal number of products is not a reflection on the importance of the category but rather my intense brand loyalty to Ivory. The only other kind of soap I had was a bar of Burt’s Bees Citrus Spice Exfoliating Soap which came in a gift pack from a Secret Santa three Christmasses ago (Thanks Floyd!) I finally used it over the last couple of weeks. It was not an unpleasant experience, but I only need one bar of soap and I’d rather it not be scratchy. I will say that it has a rather manly scent, so if you know a man who just can’t find the right exfoliating soap I recommend this product.
Moving on to my finalist: Ivory Soap. I love Ivory Soap. I have used Ivory Soap since I was a wee lass. I love that it is cheap and has a mild scent and does not irritate my lady parts. The big question is how will it score on the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. (If you are curious about their methodology I encourage you to read the detailed FAQs page). Products are scored in two ways. First, the hazard score is a scale of 0 (low hazard) to 10 (high hazard) based on what is known about the ingredients. “The hazard score represents a synthesis of known and suspected hazards from more than 50 definitive databases. The hazard rating of a product can be higher than for its individual ingredients — it adds up the hazards of all ingredients, and is scaled higher if the product has penetration enhancers or other ingredients that increase skin absorption.”
Second, the product is assessed a data gap. “The “data gap” rating is a measure of how much is unknown about an ingredient. Not all ingredients have the same amount of safety data. For example, some ingredients may appear to have low hazards, but this may be due to the fact that they have not have been studied or assessed completely. Other ingredients may appear to have low hazards and have been thoroughly studied or assessed. This score helps differentiate between ingredients and products that have been studied to different degrees.”
An argument I often hear from The Husband is that he doesn’t want to buy natural products because there is no one overlooking their safety (as in the the FDA). However, what many people do not realize is that the FDA does not require any cosmetic companies to test their own products before selling them. So the safety of many common ingredients in “regular” products is either unknown or unregulated or both.
I would like to have all of my products score a 0, 1 or 2 hazard score and have a low data gap, although I’m not sure what percentage I’m comfortable with yet. I will consider a hazard score of 3 if the product has a low data gap. Let’s say 20% for now.
Okay, here goes . . . I’m looking up my faithful friend Ivory Classic Ivory Bar Soap . . .
OH NO! ACK! This is not what I expected. Ivory Soap rates a 3 (moderate hazard) but has a 66% data gap, which means many of the ingredients are untested. In fact, 75% of the ingredients have had no FDA review and 12% of the ingredients are considered High Hazard. This is a bath time tragedy. A Skin Deep user has added a comment that the product no longer contains Sodium Silicate or Magnesium Sulfate which were the major KNOWN hazards, but it still contains Fragrance which is a “known human immune system toxicant.” Also Ivory is manufactured by Procter & Gamble, which I really have no excuse for not knowing before. Grrrrrr. I loved you Ivory Soap – what will I do now?
Well, I guess next time I stop at the grocery store I will check out what products are available. I love the Uptown eco-store, but I’d rather not drive 20 miles to make a special purchase. Hopefully the Cub Foods will have one of the 56% of bar soaps that have lower safety concerns than Ivory. Too bad, so sad. Moving on.