Soap – How it effects the Environment

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It’s surprising that the very product we use on our bodies to keep ourselves clean could actually be causing so much damage to not only the environment and aquatic systems, but also to our own skin.

When we bathe, most of us use a regular bar of soap bought from the store.  After lathering up your body and cleaning away daily grime, you rinse away the soap to run down the drain.  The object of this ritual is supposed to keep us clean and smelling nice.

Unfortunately, most commercial soaps contain harsh chemical additives to make them lather properly.  They contain perfumes and fragrances that are known to cause irritation in some people.  These lovely smelling fragrances aren’t extracted from naturally aromatic pretty flowers from out in the field.  They’re produced chemically using cancer-causing chemicals so we can smell good.

Soaps hold their nice bar-like shape because of ingredients like animal tallow, paraffin wax and other crude oil derivatives.  Studies have also shown that some of the chemicals used in soap fragrances can cause skin diseases, birth defects and even liver damage in animal testing.

Another chemical found in commercial soaps is TCC or triclocarban, which is known to disrupt endocrine production and promote cancer, learning disabilities and even infertility.

We coat our skins with these toxic chemical compounds and then let those same chemicals run down our drains and into our water systems.  Washing with soap no longer sounds quite so cleansing.

Anti-bacterial Soap

In an effort to stave off bacteria, soap manufacturers have included a host of potentially harmful chemicals that not only kill bacteria, but they may also cause nerve damage.  The primary ingredient used in antibacterial soap is known as MIT or methylisothiazolinone.  This supposed-antibacterial ingredient is chemically similar to Agent Orange, which was a nerve agent used in Vietnam.  While MIT is not identical to Agent Orange, the chemical structure and molecular composition is very similar.

Not only could you potentially be washing your skin with nerve toxins, but then you proceed to rinse them down the drain to end up in small quantities in the aquatic system.  When you imagine that millions of people use soap each and every day there’s a lot of toxic chemical build up being washed into our waterways.

Vegetable Soap

There are some excellent vegetable soaps available in supermarkets that contain more natural ingredients and less chemical compounds.  While these aren’t completely chemical-free, they don’t contain the same toxic cocktail apparent in other commercially created soaps.

Castile soap is made using no animal products, like tallow or animal fat and tends to be made of plant oils and natural herbal fragrances.  It’s possible to buy soaps made from olive oil, nut oils or seed oils.

Not only are castile soaps better for your skin and your health in general, they’re much kinder on our environment and our delicate aquatic ecosystems.

Related posts:

  1. Is Shampoo a Poison to Us and Environment?
  2. Sunscreen, The Real Effects on Your Body – Protection or Poison?
  3. 7 Green Beauty Tips You Need to Use
  4. Canned Food Environment Effects
  5. Organic Perfumes & Fragrances
  6. Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies


  1. Jane says:

    I make 100% natural castile soap & organic hemp oil soap & shampoo bar. Check Smallbones website:
    All those nasty ingredients are not needed to make a good bar of soap.

  2. Joe Juarez says:

    Dear Sir/madam:

    There is another alternative to regular soaps and shampoo’s. I have been using glycerin soap, which 100 % natural with no chemicals or additives. In fact, glycerin is a humectant(attracts moisture). Glycerin is a by product of soap making. The soap manufactures take out the glycerin and use as a moisturizing ingredient for lotions and moisturizing creams.

    I use it as a soap and shampoo. Glycerin does not dry the hair or skin. It adds moisture and makes your hair soft and gives it a sheen.

    This is a alternative version to Castile soap and cheaper to be used as a soap and shampoo. A bar of glycerin soap cost about 99cents a bar at whole Foods or other health food stores.


    Joe Juarez

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