I must say, I’m feeling a bit contrarian about the five alarm fires surrounding the discovery of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in the Honest Company’s laundry detergent. You may be familiar with Jessica Alba’s California company. It began in 2012 when the actress and health advocate discovered what most mothers are forced to reckon with following childbirth. The world is swathed by a huge toxic chemical, electromagnetic, PCB, DDT, pesticide, perchlorate infested biosphere (excuse this short list). But by golly, Jessica Alba had the gumption to want to do something about it.
These days the Honest Company employs a couple hundred happy people whose rapid growth stems from their claim to sell “non-toxic” diapers, vitamins, lunchboxes, cosmetics, shampoos, cleaning materials, sun screen, hand sanitizers and much more through retail chains and online. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) estimates the company’s value at $1.7 billion. According to Zero Hedge, it was the WSJ who recently tested the Honest Company’s laundry detergent and discovered the sodium lauryl sulfate lurking within:
“‘According to a just released WSJ expose,’ one of the primary ingredients Honest tells consumers to avoid is a cleaning agent called sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, which can be found in everyday household items from Colgate toothpaste to Tide detergent and Honest says can irritate skin. The company lists SLS first in the ‘Honestly free of’ label of verboten ingredients it puts on bottles of its laundry detergent, one of Honest’s first and most popular products. But two independent lab tests commissioned by The Wall Street Journal determined Honest’s liquid laundry detergent contains SLS.”
The Honest Company has responded that they do not use SLS in their products and have third party endorsement of this fact, as reported by JE Reich:
“Honest said its manufacturing partners and suppliers have provided assurances that its products don’t contain SLS beyond possible trace amounts. Honest provided the Journal with a document it said was from its detergent manufacturer, Earth Friendly Products LLC, that stated there was zero ‘SLS content’ in the product. Earth Friendly in turn said the document came from its own chemical supplier, a company called Trichromatic West Inc., which it relied on to test and certify that there was no SLS.
Trichromatic told the Journal the certificate wasn’t based on any testing and there was a ‘misunderstanding’ with the detergent maker. It said the ‘SLS content’ was listed as zero because it didn’t add any SLS to the material it provided to Earth Friendly and ‘there would be no reason to test specifically for SLS.’ It said the product in question ‘was fairly and honestly represented’ to its customer.”
So does the fault of this lie with the chemical company Trichromatic West, Inc. and not with the Honest Company?
To be fair, this isn’t the first time there has been a problem with an Honest Company product. In September 2015, they were hit with a $5 million lawsuit that claimed their products are ineffectual and they were made with unnatural ingredients. Ms. Alba proclaimed these accusations had no merit. There was also a backlash against the quality of the sunscreen, replete with photos of sunburns. The Honest Company’ response was to engage in better customer education about sun protection and the appropriate use of sunscreens.
Perhaps you think that the Honest Company doesn’t deserve to keep its name. Or perhaps these missteps are inevitable when a start up grows so quickly and has to depend on the integrity of its suppliers. In this melee of Alba bashing, nothing much has been reported about her co founder and business partner Christopher Gavin. As a father of three and a former CEO of Healthy Child, Healthy World, he possess an impressive track record of caring for the health of children and the planet. If this is the caliber of people Ms. Alba has working with her in key positions, it seems to me that at the core of this company, they want to do the right thing — even with the serious missteps.
The bottom line? There’s coming a time where sodium lauryl sulfate and ineffective sunscreen is the least of our worries. In fact, with Fukushima radiation circling the planet, the potential for famine, nuclear war, martial law and bioterrorism, I believe that time is now.
Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, will premiere his new book soon which will address more toxic chemicals and ways to avoid them. Visit FoodForensics.com for more information.