Green Products and the Honest Company

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How “honest” is The Honest Company?

Photo courtesy of the Honest Company

Photo courtesy of the Honest Company

The Honest Company has recently been criticized that some of their green products are not as clean as they claim. Specifically, the brand’s laundry detergent might contain an ingredient that the company repeatedly urged consumers to avoid. The compound, called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), can be found in many common household products, including Procter & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste or Dawn dish detergent. Company Procter & Gamble claims SLS “is safe…when used as directed.”

The Wall Street Journal has recently published an article, reporting that two independent lab tests found SLS in the The Honest Company’s detergent as well. As Barbara Pavan, a chemist at Impact Analytical, stated: “Our findings support that there is a significant amount of sodium lauryl sulfate in Honest’s detergent.” Also, another lab, Chemir, a division of EAG Inc., stated that its test for SLS found more than just a “trace amount” in the company’s product.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to SLS may cause a cough or sore throat if inhaled; nausea, vomiting or diarrhea if ingested; and redness if exposed to skin or eyes. CDC warns that the substance can be absorbed into the body through the skin and by ingestion; and its repeated or prolonged contact with skin may cause dermatitis.

The Honest Company, which was founded by Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan in 2011, reacted back that it does not use SLS in its detergent or any other products, and is standing by its mission to offer green products that are safe to consumers. In their statement reacting to the findings they stated: “To set the record straight, we use Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) in our brand’s laundry detergent because it is a gentler alternative that is less irritating and safer to use. Rigorous testing and analysis both by our internal research and development teams as well as further testing by external partners have confirmed this fact.”

Steve Severinghaus, director of communications for The Wall Street Journal responded: “The journal’s report is accurate, fair and meets the journal’s established and trusted high standards. We took great care in preparing this story, relying on two tests with two different labs and numerous experts.”

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