Posted by admin on September 28th, 2007 at 04:23pm
For decades, smart housekeepers and anyone looking for an environmentally-friendly way to clean tough spots, deodorize unpleasant smells, get teeth really clean and a variety of other activities have championed baking soda as an all-purpose wonder. I heartily agree. My refrigerator and stove top burners attest to the fact that baking soda can scrub away the worst gunk, and I love how polished my teeth feel when I sprinkle baking soda on my toothbrush every so often for an extra cleaning. When my muscles are sore, I sprinkle baking soda in my tub. A half an orange, scooped out and filled with baking soda, absorbs stale or bad odors in a refrigerator or a room…even in your car! Needless to say, baking soda is a substance with many fine uses and is a safe alternative to toxic detergents and chemicals that destroy your family’s health while poisoning the planet.
The Bad News Is … Arm & Hammer Tests On Animals!
When most people hear the words baking soda, an image of a small orange box appears in their minds. Church & Dwight Inc., owners of the Arm & Hammer label, have been in business since 1846 and have basically cornered the market on baking soda in the U.S. supermarket. Though you may find generic, supermarket brand baking soda sitting next to the familiar Arm & Hammer product, chances are this is simply the brand name product repackaged under a supermarket label and selling for a few pennies less. This re-boxing technique is practiced by every supermarket from Safeway to Whole Foods. Don’t be fooled.
Arm & Hammer tests its products on animals - a practice known as vivisection in which living animals including rabbits, cats, dogs, monkeys, mice and other creatures are imprisoned, tortured and killed by lab workers in the name of science and consumer safety. Animal testing may include operating on conscious animals’ brains and organs without anesthesia, injecting animals with cancers and other diseases, and force feeding poisons to animals.
One of the most common forms of animal testing is the Draize test in which the eyelids of living, awake rabbits are held open with clamps while 0.5mL or 0.5g of a test substance is put in the rabbit’s eyes. The substance might be gasoline, insecticide, cosmetics, bleach…or baking soda. The lab worker then watches for ulceration, hemorrhaging, blindness, discharge, swelling and/or death. The rabbit is kept immobile by means of a restraining device so that it cannot rub it’s poor eyes during the four hours it spends enduring this agonizing torture, for as many days as the lab worker wishes to do this to animal. When the test is over, the rabbit is killed.
A similar test is performed by shaving an animal, tearing off the upper layers of its skin with adhesive tape and then rubbing test substances into the skin to see what kinds of skin irritations and diseases will occur.
It might seem obvious to you and me that putting something like baking soda in our eyes or into open skin wounds would cause our eyes and skin to swell up, tear up, rupture, and make us scream with pain. You have only to imagine this happening to yourself and being unable to blink your eyes or rub your skin to understand what the animals experience during this torture. You’ve known since you were a child that you need to avoid getting things in your eyes, and that skin wounds need to be covered and kept sterile to heal. But vivisectionists and their employers, like Arm & Hammer, continue to perform these inhumane experiments on living animals as though it is not obvious that getting anything in your eye, with the exception of eye drops, is going to cause harm.
Proponents of vivisection claim that such testing on animals is necessary for protecting the health of human beings. The truth is, most animal testing is performed so that corporations like Arm & Hammer can determine how much of a toxic substance they can put in a product before humans would be made sick by it and lawsuits would follow. In short, the Draize test was developed because women were going blind from eye makeup. The blindness was caused by coal tar in the cosmetics. Rather than seeing the obvious here, that you shouldn’t put tar in or around your eyes, corporations and the lab workers they employ began doing this test to see just how much of a toxin a living body can handle. If these entities actually cared about consumer safety, they wouldn’t put toxic and dangerous substances into the products they manufacture. If they really cared, they’d open a business dedicated to educating human beings about avoiding toxins.
For vegans, buying products that are tested on animals is absolutely out. For anyone who loves their kitty or dog, rage at the idea of someone subjecting their fine companion animal to torture means searching for cruelty free labels at the grocery store, out of respect for their pet’s species. For anyone who cares about the environment, the concept of a bunch of lab workers pouring chemicals and toxins all over our planet means searching for natural alternatives to commercial, animal-tested cosmetics, drugs and foods.
But, here’s the rub: for years, caring people have been suggesting baking soda as the perfect alternative to a tremendous array of cleaning and cosmetic products. And, for years, we’ve all meant Arm & Hammer baking soda when we made this smart and planet-friendly recommendation. But now that we know that giving our money to Arm & Hammer means our name is on the bottle dripping toxins into animals’ eyes, we may experience a moment of feeling completely freaked out. What are we supposed to do without baking soda???
The Good News Is…Bob’s Red Mill Makes Cruelty-Free Baking Soda!
The only baking soda I’ve ever seen in my local area has been either either Arm & Hammer or a supermarket generic brand - re-boxed Arm & Hammer. I was seriously upset when I realized I could never buy this useful stuff again because of the stupid inhumanity of the manufacturer. I was so relieved when some serious Internet searching yielded a mention of Bob’s Red Mill. To the folks at Bob’s - I love your flour for baking, but as an SEO, I want to say that your company would seriously benefit from some work being done on your website to promote your individual products better via search engine optimization and marketing. I could not find your product searching Google for baking soda manufacturers. I’d like to see that change so that people know you make this stuff! Fortunately, a mention in a random forum led me to your website where I was delighted to find Bob’s Red Mill’s Baking Soda.
I quickly dashed off an email to Bob’s Red Mill, asking the million dollar question regarding their company’s policy on animal testing. Here is the blessed response I received:
Bob’s Red Mill does not participate in animal research in any form. The food product we produce, including the Baking Soda, as known safe products and no form of testing is needed, besides quality control.
I only buy cruelty free myself (I’ve been vegan over 10 years) so can say these things knowing the company well. Thanks for your concern. Let me know if you have any further questions.
I wanted to jump around and cheer when I read this reply. Not only does Bob’s Red Mill not test on animals, but a vegan customer support representative knew exactly what I was talking about. How’s that for nice? I believe that Bob’s Red Mill should make the most of this fact and take away Arm & Hammer’s customers by promoting a cruelty free image on their baking soda product. I’m writing this post on Tangergreen as my attempt to spread the word that you can still buy baking soda in good conscience if you buy it from Bob’s. I also want to take this opportunity to applaud this company for being compassionate and modern in their policies - for realizing that none of us need an animal to suffer in order to be taught that we shouldn’t put baking soda in our eyes. We get it!
If your local store doesn’t carry Bob’s Red Mill’s baking soda, you can order directly from the company at a budget-friendly price. I’m deeply happy to have discovered this.
Are the products you buy that contain baking soda actually cruelty free?
Okay, so we’ve solved the baking soda crisis. Our appliances, our teeth, our clothing and our homes can still be cleaned the green way with this simple product. Whew! But now we have to turn a weather eye on the cosmetics sitting on our bathroom counters at this moment. Are you using a baking soda toothpaste, deodorant or other personal care or household product? Knowing as we do now that Arm & Hammer is the nation’s leading manufacturer of baking soda, we are faced with the unhappy concern that any product we buy containing baking soda may be getting this ingredient from Arm & Hammer.
Of immediate concern to me are Tom’s of Maine and Nature’s Gate. Both companies manufacture baking soda toothpaste. Both companies claim to be cruelty free. Here’s the problem with the cruelty free symbol: there are no laws in the United States governing the use of this label. Investigations are not conducted to discover whether a manufacturer using the cruelty free symbol is or isn’t testing on animals. In other words, a manufacturer can simply lie about this.
More complicated than this, a company could, potentially, not perform animal testing itself, but could be purchasing ingredients from companies that do perform such testing. For example, Tom’s of Maine may not be doing animal testing themselves, but if the baking soda in their toothpaste is purchased from Arm & Hammer, the end result is a product made up of animal-tested ingredients and continued funding of Arm & Hammer’s cruel policies. Such a situation would be a flagrant misuse of the cruelty free label and a terrible deception of the public. Because the cruelty free label is not legally regulated, and pretty much anyone can use it, the only way to discover whether a product supports vivisection is to get that information from the specific company in question.
I am now on my second round of requests for information to both Tom’s of Maine and Nature’s Gate. I received no response to my initial email inquiries. I’m now attempting to get an answer over the telephone. It is in these companies’ best interests to give me a prompt and honest response. As far as I’m concerned, their public reputation hinges on this. I will update this post with any response I receive from either of these companies. And, you can also get in touch with these 2 companies, or any others, yourself.
Should it turn out that a company calling themselves ‘cruelty-free’ is in partnership with Arm & Hammer in order to provide a baking soda-containing product, your response can be that you will no longer be purchasing that product. Most effectively, you can suggest that they start getting their baking soda from Bob’s Red Mill so that they are being honest to the public in styling themselves as cruelty free. Remember, it is your dollar that determines who gets to stay in business. This is one of those areas in which you really can make a powerful difference.
The Future of Animal Testing in the United States
As I see it, there are two major factors that have contributed to the continued shame of animal testing being allowed to be a business in our modern world:
1) Corporations with no concern for public health are making money from selling dangerous toxins to the public. Instead of you pulling dandelions out of your lawn by hand, the pesticide companies have sold you a pitch that involves you spraying cancer-causing poisons all over your living space. Instead of you believing that the pores in your skin need to breath so that you look healthy and alive, the cosmetic companies have sold you a pitch that involves you slathering toxins all over your skin so that this living organ literally suffocates. The corporations are looking for the cheapest products they can get their hands on, and because so many of these substances are poisons, these people resort to torturing and killing animals as a type of gauge to see how much a human animal will tolerate before disease and death result and lawsuits follow.
2) The public is not only purposely kept in the dark about how products are made, but we have gotten amazingly lazy in regards to even wondering about the origins of the things with which we surround ourselves. We have grown so used to finished, packaged products making their way from market shelves into our homes that we do not even wonder about how they were made, what ingredients they contain or where they come from. This sluggishness of mind is counter-productive to the survival of our species. We were given inquiring minds for a very good reason, and human beings who make the effort to ask tough questions are taking the right steps to ensure health for the human race and the planet.
Our dollar is our vote. We know which company to give our dollar to only after we ask the tough questions. If we receive no answer, an evasive answer, or an answer that confirms a company is unethical, we get to decide whether we want to support such enterprises. As for me, I will gladly give my dollar to Bob’s Red Mill, delighted to be taking those pennies away from Arm & Hammer and hoping that if enough of my neighbors do the same, this corporation will finally get it that they need to abandon their barbarous abuse of animals if they want to stay in business. Let Arm & Hammer know that you won’t be getting paid until they stop the violence.
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