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I started this site because my son was getting sick from palm oil. In learning more about it, I found out many people avoid palm oil for environmental reasons as well.

Coupled with these two issues, I wanted to shine some light on how common palm oil is in processed foods, personal care products (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.), beauty products, cleaning products, and more.

Deforestation & Loss of Habitat

I don’t write too much about the environmental issues with palm oil because I know there are many sides to the issue.

I do know deforestation is a huge issue. The problem with palm oil production is deforestation. To make room for palm oil plantations, huge areas of forests — especially in Indonesia and Malaysia — are cut down or burned (which causes many more issues with air quality as well). Deforestation is also an issue in other tropical regions.

When rainforests are destroyed, it’s bad for the planet because trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) that contributes to climate change.

Also, many animals such as orangutans (often the “face” of the issue with palm oil production), Sumatran tigers, Sumatran rhinos, other mammals, birds, and so many more animals lose their habitat and are displaced as well as injured or killed. Some animals are at risk of becoming extinct.

Rainforests also support indigenous communities and rural populations. Many depend on the rainforest for their culture and perhaps their livelihoods, etc.

Health Concerns

I didn’t think my son could be the only person having problems from palm oil. After being to many doctors and health professionals, no one heard of such a thing.

I’m not saying palm oil is unhealthy. What I’m saying is it negatively affects my son. He had many different reactions from it, depending on the type of product (food, soap, etc.) and the ingredient (palm oil is used to make hundreds of ingredients).

Some reactions he had are:

  • Sore throat
  • Incessant throat clearing
  • Repeated cough
  • Ongoing runny nose
  • Bags under the eyes
  • Hives, rash, bumps
  • Complete change in mood with no memory of it (I’d say this was the scariest of all the symptoms)
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy scalp (when chewing gum with palm oil derivatives)

We consider him to have a palm oil intolerance, sensitivity, &/or allergy. His symptoms presented in all of these ways.

Palm Oil Free Certifications

There are two organizations that will research ingredients down to their source by looking at the product specification sheets and technical data sheets.

If they deem each ingredient in the product is free from palm oil, they will certify it Palm Oil Free. This includes:

  1. All the ingredients listed on the label
  2. All the ingredients used to make up all the ingredients on the label

An example is in Glycerin. Let’s say a liquid soap lists “Glycerin” in the list of ingredients on the bottle. Most companies will not further list what makes up the Glycerin. This could be vegetable oils like soybean, palm, coconut, and/or olive oil through a process called saponification.

The two organizations are Orangutan Alliance and Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP). Both of these companies will research these ingredients down to their source.

This label is recognized in the United States and in many other countries in the world.

Sustainable Palm Oil Initiatives

My goal is to lessen demand for palm oil because it literally makes my son get sick. I don’t want companies to start using it if they weren’t. I don’t want them to add it to their products because it’s a cheaper alternative to other ingredients.

Through the years, many food manufacturers have added palm oil to products that once were palm oil free.

There are efforts to make the production of palm oil more sustainable and less harmful. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is one of these organizations.

Again, I am trying to make people aware of it to keep the demand down.

Thank You for Being Interested in Palm Oil

Thanks so much for being interested in how palm oil is so common in everyday products. I appreciate you taking a look around the site to learn more.