This story was originally published by HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
We wash our hair with it, brush our teeth with it, smother our skin in it, and use it to powder our cheeks, plump our lashes, and color our lips. We clean our houses with it, fuel our cars with it, and eat it in chocolate, bread, ice cream, pizza, breakfast cereal, and candy bars.
Palm oil: You may never have walked into a supermarket with it written on your shopping list, but you’ve certainly walked out with bags full of it.
An extremely versatile ingredient that’s cheaper and more efficient to produce than other vegetable oils, palm oil is found today in half of all consumer goods including soaps and toothpaste, cosmetics and laundry detergent, and a whole array of processed food. Palm oil is also found in biodiesel used to power cars (more than 50 percent of the European Union’s palm oil consumption in 2017 reportedly went to this purpose).
Our modern lives are inextricably intertwined with the commodity, which can appear on ingredient labels under a myriad of alternative names including sodium lauryl sulphate, stearic acid, and palmita... Read more