4 All-Natural Soaps Safe for Your Skin and the Planet
So much of what we buy to use in our bathrooms contains chemicals, chemicals and more chemicals. The lists of bafflingly named compounds on those lotions, cleansers, moisturizers and shampoos can take up half the label, with phthalates and parabens and formaldehyde and the ever-popular and mysterious "fragrance." Even your soap may just be a little slippery bar of chemicals. So many of us are looking for safer, healthier alternatives.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Rodale News to the rescue! They went through Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database to find soaps that scored in the low hazard range (o-2), did not contain plastic chemicals or "fragrance" made up of undisclosed compounds and were easily to find at major retailers in the U.S. They prioritized organic products but since the term "organic" is looser when it comes to personal care products than food, they included non-organic soaps with a focus on being natural and sustainable and containing no toxic chemicals.
Here are four of their top finds:
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
Anyone who has gone all-organic in their personal care products knows about Dr. Bronner's, which uses no synthetic ingredients. You'll find no questionable chemicals here. The only unfamiliar thing on the label is tocopherol, basically another named for vitamin E. Rodale's tester tried unscented (Baby Mild), peppermint, eucalyptus and citrus orange, and said the soaps left her skin feeling less dry in addition to having plenty of cleaning power.
Cost: $11 (16 fl. oz.) or $18 (32 fl. oz.)
EWG Rating: 1 (of 10)
John Masters Organics Body Wash
This one comes in blood orange, vanilla and unscented which the Rodale tester said did a good job of cleaning and still kept her skin moisturized. Just under half the ingredients are certified organic. They include blood orange, which encourages collagen production in addition to providing scent, bourbon vanilla for scent, moisturizing vegetable glycerin, pink grapefruit to balance the skin's oils and antioxidant milk thistle.
Cost: $18 (8 fl. oz.)
EWG Rating: 2 (of 10)
Acure Body Wash
The tester tried coconut-pumpkin, which she found to smell more natural than she expected rather than like a pumpkin latte or piña colada. This 100 percent biodegradable body wash is vegan and gluten-free and uses as many fair-trade-certified and certified-organic ingredients as possible. Ten of its 30 ingredients are organic, including coconut oil, pumpkin, chamomile, açaí berry and blackberry. It comes in mint and lilac for breakout-prone skin and unscented as well. Acure also carries three USDA National Organic Program–certified castile liquid soaps in unscented, tropical citrus and peppermint. The tester found that it was an effective cleanser in addition to leaving her skin softer and smoother.
Cost: $9.99 (8 fl. oz.)
EWG Rating: 2 (of 10)
Burt's Bees Natural Skin Care for Men
Burt's Bees products are easily found in regular chain stores—you don't have to go to a specialty store to find them. The products aren't organic but they contain safe ingredients. The gel is 100 percent natural; the bar is 99.7 percent natural, made from a natural vegetable soar with lemon, fir and orange oils and rosemary extract. It does contain a synthetic preservative, but it's one that doesn't have parabens or release formadehyde. Burt's Bees Natural Skin Care for Men comes in bar and body wash varieties, which are cleansing without being overly drying.
Cost: $4 (bar, 4 oz.); $8 (liquid, 12 fl. oz.)
EWG Rating: 1 (of 10)
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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