My friend and co-worker Marika picked up a bar of Pure & Natural soap for me while shopping at Target. Marika is very sweet. She makes the best cupcakes and brownies in the world, and she lives to love and protect animals of all kinds (even though she tortures her dog by making him wear orange sweatshirts.)
So anyway, she thought of me because Pure & Natural soap comes packaged in 100% post-consumer paperboard packaging that is embedded with flower seeds to encourage users to return it to the earth rather than throwing it away. Cute idea. And the soap itself is labeled as 99% natural origin. That’s great. But what’s the 1% that’s not natural?
Listed among all the ingredients you’d find in most natural soaps is “fragrance.” That must be the unnatural 1%. And what is in the fragrance? I didn’t know, so I called Pure & Natural’s toll-free number (1-877-711-8188) to find out. Will answered my call. I asked him if there were phthalates (hormone-disrupting chemicals often added to fragrances to make them stick to your skin) in the fragrances used in the soap. First, he said that Pure & Natural does not add any phthalates to the soap. But then he admitted that P&N purchases their fragrances from an outside fragrance house which does not divulge its ingredients, citing trade secrets.
Companies that manufacture food products are required to list all the ingredients on the label. Companies that make cosmetics and soaps don’t have to, even though these things enter our bodies through our skin. I told Will I would not be using Pure & Natural as long as the company was unable to provide information about the ingredients in their fragrances, and he said he’d pass the word along.
After my phone call with Will, I remembered that Ideal Bite had written a paid review of the soap in their Greenchip Showcase. These reviews always contain a section called “Keeping it Real” where the reviewer mentions anything not so great about the products, so I checked the P&N review to see if they’d mentioned the unknown “fragrance.” Nope. So of course, I sent them an email:
Dear Ideal Bite:
Regarding the Pure & Natural soap greenchip showcase tip:
In addition to what you listed in the “keeping it real” section, there is another aspect of these soap bars to be concerned about. The ingredients list “fragrance.” I assume this is the 1% that is not natural. Fragrances often contain phthalates, which are hormone disruptors. So I actually called Pure & Natural today to find out if there are phthalates in the soap.
I spoke with Will. Will said that the company obtains its fragrances from an outside fragrance house, which doesn’t reveal the ingredients in its fragrances citing trade secrets. So Pure & Natural actually doesn’t know whether there are phthalates in the fragrances it uses or not.
You can read more about phthalates in fragrances at Enviroblog:
Until companies are required to disclose all the ingredients in the products we are putting on and in our bodies, I am going to steer clear of anything with the word “fragrance” in the ingredients list.
Well, there’s my letter writing and phone call for the week. Want to call Pure & Natural and express your concern? Once again, here’s that toll-free number: 1-877-711-8188. Operators are standing by.