For years now we have known that the products we create, and use are often harmful to our environment. In fact, when I think back to the lessons taught to us by Captain Planet and the Planeteers back in the early 90s I wonder how on Mother Earth thing got so bad. Well the answer is pretty simple, as long as people are making money out of them, they will continue to push those harmful products on us. It’s not just the obvious things though like fossil fuels and plastics that are having an effect on the environment though, no, there are actually plenty of unassuming products that cover everything from food to skin protection methods. It may not be that the product itself is bad but rather how it is made or transported, the fat cats after all are a tricky bunch. With the aim of putting you in the loop we’ve listed a few things that you may not have known were harming our environment, and just how there are doing it too.

Sunscreen

That’s right, this ever-important lotion is contributing to the pollution of our oceans. According to a 2008 study conducted by Environmental Health Perspectives journal there are four chemicals in suntan lotion that contribute to the bleaching of coral, those are benzophenone, cinnamate, paraben and camphor derivatives. Coral bleaching leaves them vulnerable to things like disease, viral infection and even death and they are a huge part of the eco system in earths water, with huge numbers of wildlife relying on them to live. Research has suggested that somewhere around 6000 metric tons of lotions is washed off into the sea every year, effecting 10% of the planet’s coral reefs in the process. You can help prevent this by choosing either an eco-friendly chemical sunscreen to wear or an organic mineral sunscreen instead.

Sunscreen
Sunscreen

Shampoo

That’s right, staying clean just got a whole lot tougher. Shampoo and other cosmetic products often contain that well known and multifaceted substance known as palm oil. You may already know something about palm oil, it’s a diverse ingredient that’s used in all sorts of products from cosmetics such as this and of course confectionary treats like chocolate, biscuits, bread and ice cream. It’s used in shampoo because it forms a conditioner that helps to maintain the natural oils present in your hair that would otherwise be removed by the chemicals present. Recently however there has been much coverage on the harm palm oil plantations have on the eco system. According to the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), these plantations aren’t just causing the destruction of tropical forests and peat land, destroying the habitats of certain animals such as the orangutan, but are also letting out “massive quantities” of carbon-dioxide which is fuelling climate change exponentially. Palm oil isn’t just found in shampoo, look out for it in washing detergents, toothpaste, hand soaps and lipsticks too and do your best to avoid the stuff.