Should Dawn be used to clean wildlife?

And should we be supporting P&G with our purchasing Power?

The International Bird Rescue Research Center has been using Dawn dish soap to clean the oil of bird rescued from oil spills for 32 years. Supposedly when the dish soap is diluted to up to 10% Dawn with water it cuts the oil and gentle enough to not harm the sensitive areas around animals’ eyes and feathers.

Tens of thousands of animals have been cleaned using Dawn in oil spills around the world, and Paul Kelway, a spokesman for the International Bird Rescue Research Center, stated that in the gulf, 557 birds had been taken to cleaning stations as of June 13, and Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Dawn, had sent 7,000 bottles of Dawn to the Gulf of Mexico to help clean up birds covered in BP’s oil.

Dawn has capitalized on this PR goldmine and runs commercials and social media campaigns highlighting the cleanup. Dawn’s role as the official de-oiler has been a marketing boon for Procter & Gamble. A commercial for its “Dawn Saves Wildlife” campaign shows oil-covered ducks and otters being cleaned with the product. The company donates $1 to saving wildlife for every bottle bought and registered online.

But are we really helping wildlife with our purchase of Dawn and Procter & Gamble products? The sad irony of the whole thing is that Dawn is petroleum-based. Every bottle of Dawn used to clean a bird actually adds to our nation’s demand for oil. Not only are we using an oil-based product to clean oiled birds, but we’re increasing the incentives for companies to drill for more oil, making it more likely that there will be another spill. Which, incidentally, will be great for Dawn’s marketing.

Not only that, but Dawn and many other dish detergents are not safe for people either.

  • Formaldehyde…definitely a neurotoxin
  • Methylisothiazolinone is a highly corrosive chemical that has been found to be toxic when ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin or eyes in animal studies.
  • silicate salts- dangerous if ingested and a skin irritant. (You’re using your hands with this and putting it on your plates/glasses )
  • 1,4 dioxane (a CARCINOGEN – that means it can cause cancer)– it is also linked to organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and irritation of the skin and eyes.
  • ammonium sulfate- skin irritant/risks for asthma/respiratory issues and cancer 💀
  • artificial dyes and fragrance – carcinogenic, allergen like reactions, and contributors to ‘ADD/ADHD’ type symptoms

And when you are purchasing Proctor & Gamble products, you are supporting a company which has done a lot of harm to our environment and to people.

Earth Island Institute sued ten food, beverage and consumer goods companies in a bid to hold them accountable for plastic waste. The lawsuit, filed on February 26 in California, argues they should be held responsible for pollution waterways in California.

The lawsuit is against companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, and Nestle and asks for unspecified damages and an order to clean up. Proctor & Gamble has paid out more than $2 million dollars in violations according to the Good Jobs First Violations Tracker, and that doesn’t even include all the money paid out in lawsuits against them.

So what can we do? We can purchase products from N. American manufacturers that make products that do not contain toxic ingredients and are environmentally-friendly. There are safer, environmentally-friendly that actually work better and can save money!

What to look for?

  • Plant-based surfactants that are bio-degradeable
  • 1,4 Dioxane-free
  • Phlathate (synthetic fragrance)-free
  • toxic Dye-free
  • Petrochemical-free
  • Glycol-free
  • Phosphate-free
  • Caustic-free

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