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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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A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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