Caring about the environment is patriotic.
Note: I touch on this briefly in my column for HuffPost about the BP oil disaster, but I wanted to highlight it again here, just in case you skip over this amazing tidbit of brazen irony.
You may have heard about how Proctor & Gamble is graciously donating thousands of bottles of Dawn dishwashing liquid to aid in the cleanup efforts for wildlife affected by the BP oil disaster. The company even touts its own generosity — which includes an additional $1 donation to wildlife rescue efforts per bottle sold — on the Dawn website:
So nice, right? Well, here’s the rub: Dawn dish soap — the very stuff used to “gently” remove oil from the feathers and fur of toxic sludge–coated creatures — is, itself, made from oil.
Dawn, like most conventional dishwashing liquids, contains petro (read: oil) chemical-based detergents, emollients, and fragrance. The website, not surprisingly, doesn’t specifically reveal which ones, but it does provide a link to a wholly generic list of ingredients commonly used in hand dishwashing products.
Since the most this list offers up is terms like “surfactants” and “mildness additives,” I can only be left to assume that the soap could contain toxic petroleum byproducts like alkylbenzene sulfonates and 1,4-dioxane. Of course, these are only educated guesses; there are thousands of industrial chemicals floating around out there, but who knows which ones: Federal law does not require companies to list them on their products, nor conduct any sort of tests to determine if they’re safe.
Want to really help save wildlife from oil spills? Ditch the Dawn for a plant-based dish soap like Seventh Generation. If every household in the US replaced just one bottle, it would save 81,000 barrels of oil a year.