Day 32

It’s February.  I need to add two more goals on top of not drinking and meatless Monday.  February will see me switch to better washing up liquid and carrying on walking to work.

We use Sunlight to wash our dishes.  I got the bottle out from under the sink and looked at the label.

What do you notice about this product’s labelling?  What I notice is that it doesn’t tell you anything at all about what is in it.  Which is a little unusual.  Also, it says it is made in New Zealand from local and imported ingredients.  For some reason this strikes me as unbelievable.

Never mind, I looked up the Pental website which was nice and glossy (lots of white teeth). 

 There was nothing obvious on this website about product ingredients.  Eventually I found this page:

Click on the name listed below?

Randomly I clicked on MSDS because it was the last one on the list and I had no idea what MSDS stood for.  Naturally this is where you can find all the information about what is actually in the product.  I think this is pretty obscure.

This is what is in my Sunlight.

Which makes for a very complicated read.  The main ingredients are water (60%+) and anionic surfuctants (10-30%).  Anionic surfuctants are things that make dirt slide off of stuff so they appear in detergents a lot (as you can imagine). They can be natural or manmade.  Manmade ones are made of petroleum which is obviously not a good thing.

You will notice that the word proprietary appears a few times on the list above.  What does this mean?

A trade secret is any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one’s business, and which gives him an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it. It may be a formula for a chemical compound, a process of manufacturing, treating or preserving materials, a pattern for a machine or other device, or even a list of customers. In other words, the trade secret is proprietary information, that which the holder of the secret does not wish to be known to others, particularly his competitors.

Ok, so Sunlight is not telling how it makes it’s product smell nice, and look nice, or what makes up 10-30% of its product.

This website lists the top five chemicals to avoid.  Here is number one and number three:

1. “Fragrance” can be one or more of 200 chemicals. Companies don’t have to disclose the actual components of each fragrance, under the guise that their fragrances are trade secrets. Fragrance has been known to cause many side effects, including headaches and allergic reactions. Why put an unknown synthetic chemical on your skin when you don’t have to? The Environmental Working Group has an extensive database of cosmetic chemicals and their corresponding danger rankings. “Fragrance” recieves one of the highest rankings possible in their score system.

3. Tetrasodium EDTA is a preservative that’s made from the known carcinogen, formaldehyde and sodium cyanide.  It is also a penetration enhancer, meaning it breaks down the skin’s protective barrier, going right into your bloodstream. Many companies trying to be “natural” will use Tetrasodium EDTA instead of parabens to preserve their products. In my opinion, Tetrasodium EDTA is just as bad.


But then, Sunlight is used by millions of people all the time and is clearly not killing us in droves, and it is illegal for a company to claim trade secret status on something that it actually dangerous to people’s health.  So let’s dial down the paranoia a touch.  I think that is enough science for this post, but I will continue to look into it.

As for the other thing that bothered me; the made in New Zealand with local and imported ingredients.  I can’t find any Pental offices in New Zealand (Pental is a part of a massive conglomerate).  Naturally I have emailed them to find out where they make Sunlight in New Zealand.  Looking at the list of ingredients I’m picking that the water is the local ingredient and everything else is imported.


Ok, so it degrades quickly, on the other hand it might be toxic to aquatic organisms and the aquatic environment.

Which makes me wonder where the water I drain out of the sink every night actually goes.

See what I mean about complicated?

I have a lot more research to do.

One thought on “Day 32”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s