Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Company Letters

A little while ago I realized that making small steps to become more healthy, more green and closer to the Islamic principle of taking only what you need was good just for me and my household. Alhamdulillah, making lifestyle changes is still good to do, for the hasanat inshaallah, for the awareness, but on the larger scale me switching to organic fruit is not going to solve the problem of large scale destruction that business and industry gets away with. So I decided to add writing to companies as part of my going green toolbox along with trying to buy used and detoxing my home. I want to know what they have to say for themselves. Alhamdulilah the Story of Stuff and No Impact Man both helped me to understand that we cant buy our way to a healthy planet.

so heres a round up of my first installment of writing to companies, I hope by publishing these that I can help someone choose whats best for their family and health. didn't think to copy the forms I filled out online but will for next time

Rubbermaid, June 2010
I wrote Rubbermaid telling them that I was disappointed to discover my food storage containers were made from #7 plastic, which contains BPA. I asked if I would be getting a refund or exchange since I did not wish for my food to be stored in plastic that will leech this hormone disrupting chemical. I knew the answer would of course be no but was surprised to see a defense of this chemical as "safe". I will be replacing these with glass only inshaallah

Reply:
BPA has been used safely in the manufacture of thousands of products for
years and its use fully complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration
and other historically stringent public health regulators in the
European Union and Japan.  There have been no reports of illness
connected to BPA. There have been no recalls on our products.
For information regarding Bisphenol-A and our products, please visit our
website, www.rubbermaid.com and click on the link located near the right hand corner, "Learn about BPA". Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address your concern.
my reply:
thank you for your reply. I will be avoiding your company's products from now on, since your company is clearly not up to date on researching the materials that go into its products, or on the concerns of your market:
http://blogs.consumerreports.org/safety/2010/01/fda-expresses-some-concern-but-fails-to-ban-bpa-.html
the National Toxicology Program, concluded that BPA  was of “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures.” 
Material that leeches chemicals associated with these things are never "Safely used"?

Stop and Shop:
same issue, BPA, but different response. I wrote them saying I was concerned that the organic oranges I get from their store are in a #7 plastic bag and, hard as it is to give them up, I am considering no longer buying them if they can't offer a bulk option or switch to a less toxic plastic.

Reply:
Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns about Bisphenol A in our products specifically the bag of our Nature's Promise oranges. We understand that concerns have been raised about the safety of Bisphenol A (BPA).   The Food and Drug Administration recently revised their assessment on BPA and have announced that they are working with the National Center for Toxicology Research to fund in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the risks of BPA.

Particular concern has been raised about the health implications for infants and very young children.  Stop & Shop no longer sells any baby bottles or sippy cups that contain BPA.  Please visit this link, http://www.hhs.gov/safety/bpa for the recommendations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services for parents of young children.

As to the use of BPA in the epoxy resin used to line aluminum cans, please know that we are working with our suppliers to transition from the use of BPA in can linings.   However, BPA has been used in small amounts in the epoxy resin used to line aluminum cans since the 1950s.  It is still the industry standard and it will take time for this transition to occur.

In the meantime, please be assured I have forwarded your comments to our Corporate Office and merchandisers for their consideration.

Thanks, again, for contacting us.  We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.
Nubian Heritage:
I love these soaps and was so happy to find them on iHerb.com.
my email letter:
Hi, I would like to know what sources your palm oil in your soaps is  from. I am concerned with using palm oil that is not grown sustainably, like the palm oil that comes form Indonesia. What can  you tell me about your products
Thanks!

Reply:
Thank you for your inquiry. We purchase our Palm Oil from a supplier with organic farms in South America that specializes in sustainable agriculture. Thank you for contacting us.
This made me happy :D If you have never ordered from iherb.com check them out, you can use code SAK105 for $5 off your first purchase. 

Similac:
I called them to ask what their Sling Pack was made out of that I got as a freebie when I had my son in October of 2009. I took a while but they confirmed that it is PVC. I will be sending it back, along with another diaper bag from 2006 and  a letter explaining why I protest the use of PVC. I got this idea after reading the book The Story of Stuff in which Annie Leonard describes receiving a PVC freebie and getting a flack for protesting it.

Also I just mailed off some teethers I bought from Little Tikes that were made of PVC with the same letter.

Hope this wasnt too long, I hope to keep up the habit as its proving very enlightening and motivating to me, will share more inshaallah

Do you write companies? Why or why not?

2 comments:

  1. Excellent! I love that you're doing this as part of the whole principle/concept of going green. How true that this action should be incorporated; makes so much sense. I am inspired by your letters and responses and I never thought to SEND BACK a product or ask for a refund after finding out it's packaging or the product itself contained toxic substances. Brilliant! I've seen Story of Stuff, but I have to check out No Impact Man; haven't seen that one.

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  2. Thank you sister Umm Omar for the encouragaement and the ideas as well. I would also like to write letters thanking companies for what they do right, maybe next time I will add some of those in too. I was trying to think of an issue I could address with my son as you mentioned in your blog post and I remembered this alert I saw from Rainforest Action Network:
    http://ran.org/content/are-childrens-publishers-destroying-rainforest
    I'll see how that goes

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