Helping women with chronic illnesses

Plastic And Oil… And My Take On Dawn Dish Detergent

Fasten your seat belts. This is going to be a long post. I’ll try to consolidate as best I can. This is not going to be a “warm and fuzzy” post. I should warn you about that up front. However, I believe it’s very important. So, please bear with me and I will try to end the post on a brighter note than it starts. There won’t be any magical solutions to all of the grave problems covered in this post. However, I will leave you with some great resources for taking positive action. I believe having the ability to take action beats feeling helpless any day. So, please bear with me.

Why am I writing about plastic and oil? What do plastic and oil have to do with chronic healing? Stay tuned and I’ll try to connect the dots between what is happening with the oil disaster in the Gulf and plastic consumption. I’ll also try to connect what all this has to do with health. As far as why I’m writing about Dawn… we’ll get to it.

Let me begin by directing you to the amazing post Susie Collins wrote:

A timeline of health horrors caused by the BP oil well blow out

If you’re anything like me, reading Susie’s excellent, comprehensive post brings up emotions of sadness, frustration, and anger. As a multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) patient, watching people in the Gulf on TV without respirators or protective gear makes me cringe. Clean up workers are already visiting their doctors with symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity.

Now, I would like to share a video with you. I should forewarn you that it will not be uplifting. It’s downright eerie. However, I think it is important in that it shows how sometimes history repeats itself:

If you made it through Susie’s timeline and Rachel Maddow’s video clip, you may be feeling pretty upset. I know that was the effect on me.

Please bear with me. I would like to share another video but I want to post a strong TRIGGER WARNING for my infertile friends for this one. I would like to emphasize that this particular video is cringe-worthy for several reasons. The man who filmed it handles the oil with his bare hands. It gets worse in the video. I am posting this so that people can see how badly this particular Florida beach has been affected and, even more so, so that you can see how nonchalant people are about walking through and swimming in the oil. Clearly this beach shouldn’t be open but do these people really need someone to TELL them not to use it?


I want to try not to get too tangential but I would like to mention the fact that I got pretty fired up on some Facebook threads on my wall yesterday. If you would like to see the conversations on those threads, I’m afraid you’ll have to send me a Facebook friend request because it’s too long to get into all of the details here. Let’s just say that I got fired up about PR for Dawn dish soap. Dawn (manufactured by Procter & Gamble) is running ads like the one below. (Please note that I do not normally make a habit of including ads in blog posts but in this case I think seeing the ad is important to understanding what I got fired up about). I know this post is getting pretty long but please stay with me (after the ad below) to learn what my issues are with it.

In general, I believe this is a public relations campaign to boost Dawn’s image and to increase sales by exploiting the situation in the Gulf. Interestingly, I discovered a site called Corporate Watch yesterday that identified Richard J. Ferris as being both on the Board of Directors of British Petroleum (BP) and a “non-executive director” of Procter & Gamble (P&G) — the company which makes Dawn.

Oh. By the way, did I mention that Dawn is made from petroleum products?

Oh, the irony: Dawn saves wildlife with oil-based dish soap

Also, from the Washington Post:

Dawn dishwashing detergent saves wildlife

Anyway, back to Dawn’s PR campaign. If you read the fine print, you’ll see that in order for Dawn to donate $1.00 to one of the wildlife organizations they are donating to, the customer who purchases Dawn must access this (website) to input a code from the Dawn bottle. One would think if the company’s real motivation was to help these wildlife organizations, they could just make a straight donation to them up front. One wouldn’t think it would need to be tied to how many bottles of Dawn were purchased. One certainly wouldn’t expect to need to go online to enter a code from the Dawn bottle to a website to trigger the donation to a wildlife organization.

However, the latter method is how it works… or is supposed to. When I tried going to the site to look into this “donation activation” process, a pop-up marketing screen appears!

Why a marketing survey needs to appear when someone is taking the time to go online to the Dawn site to try to activate the $1.00 donation to wildlife organizations is beyond me. Well, actually it’s not beyond me. It is reinforcing my belief that Dawn (Procter & Gamble) is more interested in their own profits than in helping animals).

Please note: I have heard from a couple of Facebook friends about their knowledge or experience regarding the use of Dawn for cleaning wildlife. I am well aware that Dawn has been used this way for years. (I should note that I do not believe that proves that it’s safe). I will state here, at I have stated on Facebook, that I am not an expert on what is or isn’t safe for cleaning wildlife that have been exposed to oil. The main thing I wrote about on Facebook yesterday regarding Dawn was related to the PR campaign and links between BP and P&G. I have never personally used any products to clean wildlife victimized by an oil spill and don’t know what the safest, most effective method is for cleaning wildlife. That wasn’t really the main point I was trying to get across on the various Facebook threads about this. I appreciate all of the feedback people have provided on Facebook.

For possible alternatives to Dawn for cleaning wildlife, please see the comments section of Oh, the irony: Dawn saves wildlife with oil-based dish soap. Again, I am not an expert on the best methods for cleaning wildlife exposed to oil. I do know that I have issues with Dawn’s marketing approach which I believe exploits this disaster in the Gulf.

After checking out the Dawn site survey (which I won’t bore you with), I proceeded to the screen that talks about activating the donation. After all, I hadn’t reached the field for entering the code for the Dawn bottle yet. So, the site had no way of knowing I am not really a Dawn customer. I clicked the “activate your donation” button and it gave me a message advising me to reload/refresh my page. I did this several times. Each time, I got the same error message. So, I never did make it to the screen that is supposed to activate the donation. I just kept popping back to the screen below after attempting to reload the screen:

Yesterday, I came across this:

National Survey Reveals More than 70% of Americans Don’t Know Plastic is Made from Oil

As stated in the link above:

“Plastics are everywhere and most Americans have come to rely on plastics in all aspects of their lives. However, very few people realize that plastics are made from oil, further contributing to the problems of energy dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and depleting resources. In fact, nearly 10 percent of U.S. oil consumption – approximately 2 million barrels a day – is used to make plastic”.

So, plastic is made from oil. The more plastics we use, the more oil is used to produce the plastics. The more oil is used to produce the plastics, the more dependent we are on oil.

We’ve seen where oil dependency gets us.

What can we do about reducing our dependence on oil? Let’s look at our use of plastics. I’d like you to meet, if you haven’t already, two bloggers who are fierce advocates regarding plastics. Beth and Taina are wonderful resources for how to go about making positive changes.

The video below was made by Beth, author of Fake Plastic Fish.

Beth’s blog, Fake Plastic Fish, contains an immense amount of information regarding how you can reduce the amount of plastic you use. Beth’s passion for the cause is obvious when she speaks about her convictions in the above video.

Recently, Beth directed me to the Plastic Manners blog. Its author, Taina, had written a post that ties together plastic and endometriosis. (By the way, like me, Taina and Beth both have endometriosis).

Taina’s post Momma Earth, Are We Well? mentioned the fact that her endometriosis symptoms have decreased since she has stopped using plastics!

Finally, I thought I’d leave you with this video. It features biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and Taina of Plastic Manners.

Needless to say, I could write on and on about the health problems for humans associated with plastics (not to mention what plastics do to marine life) but this post is already pretty lengthy. I’ll have to save some of that for another post. (I’ve written a bit about plastics, BPA, and phthalates in the past).

So, what is the takeaway out of all of this? For me, it is that each one of us has the power to make choices. Like Taina said in the last video, even if you refuse one plastic item a day, it helps.

Sadly, there isn’t a single one of us who can wave a wand and undo the damage of the oil disaster in the Gulf. However, every single one of us has some control over how much plastic we use.

Plastic is connected to health problems and it’s made from oil.

It’s all connected. We can each do our part.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

New to blog commenting? Just click “comments” below post. (If you set up a Gravatar, your picture will show when you comment).

Reading: Plastic And Oil… And My Take On Dawn Dish Detergent


1 Jannie FunsterNo Gravatar { 06.30.10 at 5:55 pm }

Hey Jeanne,

I so agree with this… “make a straight donation to them up front.” I feel that way about big gala fund-raisers too, all that hoopla when the $$ could just be donated without the pomp and circumstance.

Really unbelievable that the donation activation gave you the run-around like that.

yes, I was fully aware plastic comes from oil.

And I remember when we toured the Queen Mary Ship, now docked and a hotel in CA — they were pointing out the railings and how they were made of the first plastic — virtually when plastic had recently invented (or discovered, or whatever we’d call it.) And how it was lauded and revered as The Thing.

And here we are in a plastics mini-crisis — pollution of all kinds. If only we could turn back the hands of time. We can, bit by bit in our own way by reducing our use of it.

Excellent post, very eye-opening as to how many people do not know how dependant we are on plastics.

take care.

2 JasmineNo Gravatar { 06.30.10 at 5:56 pm }

Excellent, informative post, Jeanne! Procter & Gamble is greenwashing, pure and simple, and they need to be called out.
.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..Me- Migraine- and Medical Marijuana =-.

3 AmandaNo Gravatar { 06.30.10 at 6:24 pm }

wow… seriously, you are going to have to stop showing me so many amazing videos, I can’t take the emotions *sniff*

First things first – I had no idea about what happened in 1979 (I wasn’t even born!) but it is SHOCKING to say the least that the exact same techniques that failed once are being used again, most likely just to look like something is being done… I hate that more than anything, the dishonesty of it all!

Secondly… what is with those people on the beach? Ew… I wouldn’t want to walk through that, and the poor little girl was frantic for her mum to take it off. When I was a child I was terrified of seaweed (lol) and would scream if some stuck to me and refused to go in the sea if there was seaweed about… sometimes I was told to “stop worrying” about it, but then again it was only seaweed!! To do that when it is OIL on the child is incredulous…

As for plastics and oil… you know, I have never liked plastic, in fact I freak out if there is something small and plastic around, like the tops of drink cartons and plastic tags. I feel like I am gagging if I have to touch them and I always wondered why – Tim finds it highly amusing (my reaction, not my fear of it, he’s not cruel!) I wonder if it is just an unconscious desire not to be exposed to it so much. Tim keeps saying that I’ll have to deal with it if we want to have kids because they will want small, plastic toys and I tell him there is NO WAY I will buy them small, plastic toys – I can be very stubborn, you know!

Of course, I knew plastics were bad for you, having read so much about Endometriosis, but I have yet to find a way to cut it out of my life significantly – it seems to be everywhere, and unfortunately as we are on a very tight budget we find that a lot of the “cheaper, more affordable things” are plastic rather than in some other material, which is really very sad.

Beth is such an inspiration, I shall have to check out her blog tomorrow (it has gone 11pm here and as last night was the first night this week I had slept thanks to the latest virus to get me – and it is a doozy – I should be getting to bed to try and get some more substantial sleep). I just loved the video, though, and had to comment about it. As you know, Tim and I have discussed the fact that we may not be able to have children and, although very difficult for us, we’ve even discussed the possibility that we may even *decide* not to even try, if my health doesn’t improve significantly first, because we want to enjoy life and be able to give any children we have a great start and I don’t want to embark on that journey if I am feeling so ill right from the start… so hearing Beth talk about giving birth to something else reminded me of what I always felt deep down but often forget – we create life and beauty and miracles every day and if we are mindful of it we can create even greater things. I feel a renewed sense of passion all of a sudden…

I’m sure there is so much more I wanted to say but my mind is a bit fuzzy at the moment through lack of sleep and illness, but I just wanted to stop by and thank you once again for such an informative and passionate post and for taking the time and effort to compile it for us all xx
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..No garden too small =-.

4 DianeNo Gravatar { 07.01.10 at 12:36 pm }

great post! I am trying to do my part too (and as an endo patient, I have to do things like watch my plastic use both for my own health as well as for the good of the Earth), but I get so discouraged when I hear about large-scale offenses like this one.

(and great comment, Amanda !)

5 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.01.10 at 1:55 pm }


Yes… as time goes on, I see more and more clearly that straight donations are much more practical and useful for a given cause than donations tied to marketing campaigns or fancy balls or gala fund-raisers. In general terms (not just speaking about the Dawn program now), it seems to me like the “fancier” the fund-raising method becomes, the more likely it is that money isn’t being handled as efficiently as it could be – or necessarily even getting to the cause its supposed to be getting to! Personally, I think that “hoopla” can actually be a signal that there may ulterior motives attached to donations for a given cause.

Yes, I found it interesting that I never did reach the screen where one would enter the donation code from the Dawn bottle. I made numerous attempts.

Yes, I knew that you were aware about plastic coming from oil. However, I was saddened by this:

National Survey Reveals More than 70% of Americans Don’t Know Plastic is Made from Oil 🙁

Now, you really got me curious about the plastic business with that Queen Mary. Is this the one you’re talking about? How long ago did you tour it?

You got me curious because you referred to the invention/discovery of plastic. I Googled plastic invention and got this timeline:

The History of Plastics: Timeline of Plastics

It’s interesting how plastic got pushed as “The Thing”, isn’t it?

Look at what I found yesterday!

Giant microwave turns plastic back to oil

Isn’t that interesting?

Yes, we can make a difference by reducing our consumption of plastic.

Thank you. I think that the more people speak up about plastic being made from petroleum products, the more people will get the message and take action. That is actually one of the big factors that motivated me to write this post… to help get the word out in my own small way. From my view, the industries that make these products don’t want people to know this “dirty little secret” (the connection between oil and plastic)… because the more people come to realize plastic comes from oil, the less they are going to want to use plastic! This will hurt the oil companies’ and plastics manufacturers’ profits… but it will help the Earth and the health of the people and animals inhabiting it.

Thanks, Jannie! xo


Thank you! I get angry when I see marketing disguised as philanthropy. In my view, that is what’s going on. Thank you so much for sharing this blog post link on social media sites!! (Anybody else out there care to share this link on Facebook or tweet it on Twitter?) 😉 I think the more people (i.e. of that 70% of Americans) we reach with the message that plastics come from petroleum products, the better. The more people are conscious of the link between oil and plastic, the more people will take a look at their own plastic consumption. We can each make positive changes.


I wish I could promise you that I’ll stop posting videos that make you sniff but I can’t. So, I suggest having tissues readily available near your computer (just in case) for when you are looking at my blog. 😉

I was in 5th grade when that 1979 spill happened. So, I didn’t remember all of that and was shocked by that video too. (I have some vague memories about oil in the news from when I was a child but my most vivid memory was when there were long lines for gas). I just found this link that captures what was going on energy-wise in the U.S. in the late 1970s: “Jimmy Carter on Energy: 1977” — Source: Jimmy Carter, “The President’s Proposed Energy Policy.” 18 April 1977. Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XXXXIII, No. 14, May 1, 1977, pp. 418-420. So, yes, I was shocked by that Rachel Maddow video clip because the similarities between what happened in the 1970s and what’s happening now were just stunning. I agree with you about the dishonesty factor.

Oh, don’t even get me started on the beach video! “Eeeeww” doesn’t even cover it. Yes, I found that highly disturbing. The fact that they were there at all was troubling. The fact that she got it on her feet was really, really upsetting. The fact that she was screaming for help only to get the lackadaisical response she got from her mother was enough to make me stop talking about it now – before I start using profanity. I found that just shocking. I also found it sadly emblematic of how blind people can be to the dangers of toxins. Whether the beach is closed or opened and whether someone is telling people to avoid it or not, one would think that people would have enough common sense not to go to a polluted beach like that! Don’t even get me started.

You know… it’s interesting that you have a long-standing aversion to plastic because there are endocrine disruptors in some plastics that mimic estrogen… and you do have endometrosis. Who is to say that you don’t have some some of gut instinct that was trying to protect you from harm? I certainly believe it’s possible.

I was reading awhile back about genetically modified crops. They talked about how GMO food and non-GMO food was put out for the animals and the animals consistently went for the non-genetically modified food and ignored the genetically modified food. It was some sort of instinct, I guess. They were talking about how every animal on the planet (except humans) seems to automatically gravitate toward the non-GMO choice and away from the GMO one.

You are a very intuitive person. Who is to say your body wasn’t smart enough to want to reject plastic?

I’ve heard allergists say that young children often turn their nose up at a food only to later test positive for an allergy to that food. So, maybe your body “knew” that plastic could harm you.

I know with my multiple chemical sensitivity I can often tell dangerous items by their smell. My sense of smell is a huge protection factor for me because it sends me “fight or flight” messages so that I can avoid items that are toxic.

I don’t blame you for not wanting to expose children to plastic. There are plenty of studies to show the dangers of plastics, BPA, phthalates, etc. It’s very sad and disturbing that so many children’s toys and even bottles are contaminated with these toxic chemicals.

As far as cutting out plastics, I would definitely take a look at both Beth’s and Taina’s blogs. They are SERIOUS about this issue and they are networked with other like-minded individuals. I’m sure you will get lots of ideas from them.

Yes, Beth is an inspiration. That was quite a moving video, wasn’t it?

I’m so sorry to hear you have a virus. I hope you got lots of good rest last night!

I’m glad that Beth was able to remind you of what you have always felt deep down. 🙂 That is wonderful that you have a renewed sense of passion.

Thank you for your insightful comment. Your mind may have felt fuzzy when you wrote your comment but your message is coming across crystal clear. xo


Thank you! Yes, endometriosis gives us an extra incentive to watch the plastic, doesn’t it? Believe me, I get discouraged too. One of the reasons I emphasized Taina’s comment from the video SINGLEabUSE PLASTIC is that I think she hit the nail on the head when she suggested people try refusing just one plastic item per day. By starting small like that but sticking with it, I think people can make significant changes in the amount of plastic they use. I know I definitely have room for improvement but when I look at how much plastic I used to use years ago, I’ve come a long way. I think bit by bit we can improve. So, when I get discouraged about the things that are not in my control, I try to focus on the things that are in my control. That’s actually why I tied the oil disaster and the resources for reducing plastic use in one post. I’m hoping it will encourage people to use less plastic (and thus less oil).

Yes, Amanda’s comment was great… wasn’t it? 😉



6 KerryNo Gravatar { 07.02.10 at 11:54 am }

Jeanne– The Rachel Maddow video blew me away, “history repeating itself”…and not learning enough to use FIRST what worked to stop the spill then. I too have seen clips of Dawn being used on the animals and thought…more chemical exposure for these animals. Isn’t there a soap out there that is toxin free and works? How ironic that Dawn is made by BP and awful that donations are being requested.

Your research is extensive. Thank you for your work Jeanne–and putting the pieces together for us.

7 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.02.10 at 3:47 pm }


That video blew me away too. Obviously nothing was learned from the 1979 mistakes. It’s so sad. Yes, it would have made sense to start with what finally worked in 1979 rather than trying all of the things that failed then, right?!

The whole thing with Dawn really bothers me. You should see the search phrases that have landed people on my blog today. Here are some samples of search phrases used today:

“dawn is made of oil”
“dawn made with petroleum products?”
“dawn dish soap made of petroleum”
“dawn saves wildlife donation activation”

Just a point of clarification: Dawn is not made by BP. Dawn is made by Procter & Gamble.

The link mentioned in the post is between Procter & Gamble and BP.

Corporate Watch identified Richard J. Ferris as being both on the Board of Directors of British Petroleum (BP) and a “non-executive director” of Procter & Gamble (P&G) — the company which makes Dawn.

So, it’s not that BP makes Dawn. It’s that Mr. Ferris is listed on that site as being connected to both BP and Procter & Gamble.

Also, they are not asking for donations. They are saying they will make donations for each bottle of Dawn purchased. I say that they are “saying” that simply because I wasn’t even able to access the donation activation screen. To be clear, I am not suggesting that they are not making the donations they talk about. I just find it interesting that one could go to the trouble of pulling up the website where one is supposed to input the code from the Dawn bottle only to receive an error… as I did.

I know it’s confusing. The bottom line to me is that it would appear, to me, that Dawn (and its maker Procter & Gamble) are more interested in promoting their products than in donating money to wildlife organizations.


8 Dorian aka coffeesister |_|)No Gravatar { 07.07.10 at 7:25 am }

Watched every video, now devastated but thankful for the time you & others have invested as well as hopeful these messages are getting out.

Plastics have been an ongoing & frustrating issue for me; from health concerns, for Mother Earth & her inhabitants, to aggravation with waste & the lack of recycling not to mention the scarcity of alternatives. Living without one’s own kitchen or any kind of permanency makes the alternatives even scarcer.

Given our country’s relationship of waste & greed with oil, dependency being but a side-effect, I really don’t know where to begin but giving up yet more plastic each day is a damn good place.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world… indeed, it is the only thing that ever has!” — Margaret Meade
.-= Dorian aka coffeesister |_|)´s last blog ..What’s getting in YOUR way =-.

9 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.07.10 at 11:15 am }


Yes, it is very tough watching those videos. I file it under the category, “the truth hurts”.

The health concerns associated with plastic are really troublesome. I didn’t really get into that aspect much in this post but there are obviously certain patient populations that are especially affected by plastic (endometriosis being one of many). The very low percentage of plastic that gets recycled really saddens me because the minimal amount of effort it takes to sort plastic from trash before discarding is not that big a deal. Obviously the “refuse plastic” option beats the “recycle” option by a long-shot but the idea that plastic is being thrown away because people don’t feel like taking a moment to sort it out from trash makes me sad. Don’t even get started on communities that don’t offer recycling of plastic as an option. That’s what I like about Beth’s and Taina’s blogs. They take things from looking like alternatives to plastic are scarce, as you mentioned, to showing many alternatives to plastic out there. I understand that it’s more challenging with your living situation being what it is right now.

Sadly, the U.S. really is a wasteful country in many respects. I hate to say it but it’s true. The greed/oil scenario is a long-standing, serious problem. Americans’ insatiable desire for petroleum products (including gas for their cars, plastic for everything under the sun, and even – don’t get me started – petroleum-containing perfumes) is a major problem. I agree that giving up or refusing one plastic item a day is a good place to start!


P.S. I have always loved this Margaret Meade quote. In this case, my hope is that a LARGE group of thoughtful, committed citizens will band together to change the world. If the traffic this post has been getting is any indication, there is a LARGE number of people concerned about these issues! As devastating and sad as the current situation in the Gulf is, hopefully it can act as a catalyst to get more and more people thinking about oil dependency and the very high cost (far beyond financial) of continuing with business as usual regarding consumption of petroleum products.

10 Dorian aka coffeesister |_|)No Gravatar { 07.07.10 at 3:36 pm }

Well, tis “Stumbled” now so hopefully that’ll go its wee way toward turning a still small (comparatively) group to a large one!? ^_^
.-= Dorian aka coffeesister |_|)´s last blog ..30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know for Invisible Illness Awareness Week =-.

11 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 3:14 am }


Thank you for doing a “StumbleIt” on my blog post! Not too many of my readers seem to use StumbleIt much. So, I especially appreciate you sharing it there. Links/post reviews there can go viral. 😉

Note to readers:

Hint — If you’re not on the StumbleUpon site, it’s not too late to tweet this post or to share it on your Facebook profile. 😉 *wink wink*

Yes, certainly if my blog readership multiplied 100-fold, the number of people seeing this post would still be small in the comparative sense. I agree with the idea of striving for a larger and larger group of people spreading the word.

Thank you for spreading the word about how plastic fuels oil dependence and how Proctor & Gamble, in my humble opinion, is exploiting the devastating oil disaster to try to polish its image and boost its sales. That, to me, is downright shameful!

So let’s spread the word everyone!! Each one of us can make a difference!!


12 AmandaNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 12:10 pm }

Jeanne, I have a question that popped into my mind late last night as I was laying in bed… Vaseline comes from oil, right? I know it has been purified and all that before we use it on our bodies, but it still comes from oil… where do we stand on that? I use vaseline for my lips as I get terribly dry, cracked lips regularly… it makes me wonder if I should be making more of an effort to search out the lip balms made from other kinds of oils – you know olive/almond that kind of thing…
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Poetry Books =-.

13 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 12:57 pm }


Years ago, I used to use Vaseline for my lips too. Not anymore! Yes, I would definitely suggest using an alternative. I haven’t used anything in awhile as I haven’t had as much of a problem with chapped lips as I used to… but if you want to find ideas for what to use instead, I would highly recommend asking members of the Canary Report.

As you know, Susie Collins is in the process of moving The Canary Report’s NING social network off of NING and directly onto her site. It hasn’t moved just yet, though. If you haven’t joined up already, you could register there and post your question about alternatives to Vaseline. Posting questions there always gets loads of responses from friendly “canaries”!! 😉 While you’re there, please be sure to join the “Endometriosis & MCS” group that I started in March. It hasn’t really gotten rolling yet (it’s on my to-do list) but I really want endo patients who have chemical sensitivities to have a place to compare notes, share ideas, and make connections/better understand the overlap between endo and chemical sensitivity.

When I saw this comment from you, I did some Googling just to see what would pop up and found this link:

Products Made from Petroleum

I found it interesting not just for the part about how Vaseline was invented but the fact that it led to the discovery of other cosmetic-type items. Sigh. Pretty gross!

You might want to check out this link. (Trigger alert for infertile patients regarding the video on this site):

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Also, this site below (which has been in my blogroll from day one) is excellent! (Normally I don’t need to put an infertility trigger alert for this site but I am this time because of the photo for their sunscreen guide). Bear in mind, though, that this site helps people AVOID products that may actually cause infertility due to the toxic chemicals they contain. This database is just awesome:

Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database

So, the short answer to your question, Amanda, is that (yes) I would suggest ditching the Vaseline.


P.S. I’m no expert on oil but I can’t imagine there is any way to “purify” oil in the aspect of making it healthy to apply to one’s body.

14 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 1:01 pm }

Amanda (and anyone else interested in this great resource!),

I should have included this link above:

The Canary Report’s NING social network which will soon be integrated into The Canary Report site and stop being a NING site


15 AmandaNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 1:52 pm }

Right… that’s me back on the alternative lip balms (I know I can get some from the local chemist that is just oils and essential oils like rose and geranium which I have used before, so I shall go get some asap).

I have joined the Canary Report Network but haven’t posted much – I don’t want to be an imposter, as such, because I don’t have MCS, but I do check in because I want to cut back on chemicals in my life for my health (I have mentioned I do have some mild sensitivity) and for the sake of the environment…

As for make-up – I shall certainly check out the site. I rarely wear make-up, and try to use something like bare minerals make-up a friend sent me once, but I have used eyeliner and eyeshadow that was just bog-standard stuff…

That weblink you found is great – I never even thought of candles – we burn tons of them – I must look for some beeswax ones or maybe look for other alternatives – we prefer lower levels of light to bright overheads…
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Poetry Books =-.

16 JasmineNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 3:12 pm }


I highly recommend Dr. Bronner’s Naked Organic Lip Balm.

Certified to National Organic Standards our lip balms are based on pure organic oils and beeswax free of petrochemically modified ingredients. The organic avocado oil and beeswax provide excellent lip protection while the organic jojoba and hemp oils assist moisturization. Only the finest organic essential oils are used for fragrance.

Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Organic Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Tocopherol”
.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..just another manic monday =-.

17 AmandaNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 3:30 pm }

Oh Jasmine, you are a star, I shall get some of that as it sounds just luscious! Thanks for the recommendation xx
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Poetry Books =-.

18 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 4:17 pm }


Well, as you know… I had talked with you “off the blog” about the fact that not all essential oils are created equal and some are manufactured in plants that have petrochemicals. 🙁 (By the way, readers please note that the “chemist” Amanda referred to is comparable to a pharmacist. I know because I asked her). Anyway, before I even had a chance to talk more about lip balms… Jasmine left a comment that I’m sure you’ll find interesting!

As far as “not wanting to be an impostor” is concerned, please don’t feel that way. I know your health issues well enough to know that you have far more than endometriosis going on and just because you don’t have an MCS diagnosis shouldn’t make you feel unwelcome there.

Like any illness, there are varying degrees of severity. While you may not have an MCS diagnosis, the mild sensitivity issues you do have put you in the portion of the population who could be described as “chemically sensitive”. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me but last I heard the percentage of the population that has some degree of chemical sensitivity is approaching 1/3 of the population! That is a massive number of people.

Sadly, the number of chemically sensitive patients will likely keep growing so long as our society stays “asleep” to this huge health crisis. Amanda, please do join the “Endometriosis and MCS” group because I really believe it can benefit people like you (who are chemically sensitive without the official MCS diagnosis) to make healthier choices and possibly prevent worsening severity of symptoms regarding chemical sensitivity! We just had a new member join the group today. If you join now, you’ll be number 11. 😉

Yeah, I don’t wear makeup at all. The reasons I stopped wearing it were just the tip of the iceberg. Now, I have a whole pile more reasons that I choose not to do so.

Oh gosh. Candles. Susie and I spent several HOURS emailing back and forth about candles one day. What an education she gave me! By then, I had totally discontinued candles at home and stopped shopping at stores that have candles in them (no small feat). There are a small number of exceptions on that last part (stores that carry candles but that are large enough that I can keep my distance and make a brief trip in/out of the store without the candles causing me to react). Anyway, one day I was contacted by someone who was introducing me to a third party person. This third party person was an endometriosis patient going into the candle-making business. Essentially, the first person was introducing me to this endo patient in an effort to help her figure out how to pinpoint an endometriosis organization to donate part of her company’s profits to. This was a noble idea. Unfortunately… the more I learned about candles, the sooner I realized that selling candles to benefit the endometriosis cause (when candles can make endometriosis patients sicker) wasn’t something I could support… however well-intended the idea might have been.

Anyway, you know where I stand on endometriosis organizations. If I had a million dollars available to donate to an endometriosis organization, I (very sadly) wouldn’t be able to come up with one I’d donate any of my money to. (Again, she wanted to raise money for the endometriosis cause). So, I couldn’t really answer her main question about what organization to donate to. As I took a closer look at her letter, there was something about candles that I had a question on and I emailed Susie (before emailing her back). Well, Susie was her usual brimming wealth of information on the topic of candles (like so many other topics). By the time she and I finished our email-fest, I had concluded that I had been living in the dark (so to speak) about candles. You see, I knew about issues like lead candle wicks or the obvious fragrance (toxin) issues. However, Susie educated me immensely about other dangers (indoor air pollution and soot) with link after link and study after study that left me thinking, “wow… I can’t believe I used to use candles frequently and never knew all of this stuff!”

So, anyway… before you burn any more candles I should probably search my records for the “candle email-fest” I had with Susie. I was going to turn it into a post at the time and I never got around to it (in part because I had too much information for just one post after Susie was done with me). Now, I’m wishing I had found the time to post it because the data was stunning to me regarding candle-induced indoor air pollution and candle-induced illness. It was eye-opening.

I understand preferring low levels of light. I just don’t want to see you getting sicker. The information Susie sent me made quite an impression on me. I haven’t looked at a candle photo the same way since. (In other words, when I see photos of burning candles online… I now think of soot and illness rather than the peaceful images that candles conjure up for many).


Have I told you lately that you rock? Oh, yes… I have! That’s right. I tell you that often, don’t I? 😉

Thank you so much for posting this information for Amanda (and anyone else looking for a good lip balm that doesn’t contain nasty petrochemicals). You just saved Amanda some time! Not to mention that next winter I will know what to use instead of toughing it out through the winter with nothing like I have been doing.



19 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 4:27 pm }


How cool is Jasmine? She even included the list of ingredients!


20 AmandaNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 4:33 pm }

Jeanne – I think I could do with that candle info because I can see it being easier to persuade Tim to give them up with a bit of research behind it ;o) I shall be sad to stop using them as I love them for meditation purposes, but I have felt so ill these past few months that I want to do all I can to help my body heal…

Yes, I shall join the Endo and MCS group… it wasn’t that I felt unwelcome, just that I didn’t have anything to add, but you are right, I *am* chemically sensitive, I just hadn’t thought about it properly before… I should have really, because my body has always struggled with things (first with the asthma as a child and then with the sudden intolerance to wheat after my first lap and of course the fact that I have always had bad reactions to medications – I was taken off the combined pill at 16 having been on it for a few months because of high blood pressure, the two mini-pills they tried made me bleed constantly, and anaesthetics always make me sick, as does the morphine they always end up giving me afterwards and that as soon as my mind is clear enough to refuse, I politely refuse!) I know there is a LOT going on in my body beyond the endo – did you know my uncle is an iridologist and when he looked at my eyes he said quite frankly that my biggest problem was my body’s inability to get rid of toxins and waste and I was quite simply “poisoning myself” and I needed to do all I could to help my body cleanse itself of them – he saw all that from my eyes!! Shame the doctors don’t look at things holistically like that and see these connections… so, yes, I will go join that group – 11 is a good number 🙂
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Poetry Books =-.

21 AmandaNo Gravatar { 07.08.10 at 4:35 pm }

Oh and Jasmine is GREAT!!
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Poetry Books =-.

22 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.09.10 at 1:05 am }


Please remind me to search my records about the candles. I’m sure I have it. It’s just a matter of finding it as it has been a good year or more since the “candle email-fest”. Yes, we’ll get you some research to share with Tim. Bear with me as it’s buried in my email. Yes, I agree you want to do anything that will facilitate healing.

I see that you joined the “Endometriosis & MCS” group today. That’s awesome! I’m glad you don’t feel unwelcome and I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll have much more to add than you give yourself credit for! Yes, my dear, after everything you’ve shared with me in nearly two years now of being connected online, I think it’s safe to say that you do have chemical sensitivity issues. (Disclaimer: Mind you, I don’t ever and wouldn’t ever dream of diagnosing anyone with anything). However, whether one is or isn’t chemically sensitive isn’t necessarily very hard to spot, generally speaking.

I should mention that allergies and sensitivities are two different things altogether.

However, I am aware of much of your medical history and it certainly would appear to me that you’ve had some “classic” chemical sensitivity issues over the years.

Your reactions to anesthetics may be one of the biggest clues that you’ve mentioned to me.

I didn’t know about your uncle. I would not be the least bit surprised if difficulties with toxins and wastes are a major issue for you… based on everything you’ve told me in the time I’ve known you.

Yes, I believe that a holistic approach where practitioners look at the whole person and the big picture can be very helpful.

Again, I’m happy that you joined the group today.

Yes, Jasmine is awesome!!


23 JasmineNo Gravatar { 07.09.10 at 1:35 am }

I’m blushing, Ladies. Always glad to help, especially since I’ve been through many “natural” lip glosses and balms only to be disappointed with their texture, flavor, smell, and how they made me feel. Because I love Dr. Bronner’s soaps so much, I decided to try his lip balms. My lips haven’t been dry since 🙂
.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..just another manic monday =-.

24 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.09.10 at 1:58 am }


I just love Dr. Bronner’s soaps. Not only the actual products themselves but from what I have read about the company, they go out of their way to use responsible manufacturing processes and they are responsible corporate citizens. Just the fact that they label their products as “free of petrochemically modified ingredients” puts them on the cutting edge from my view. How many products bother to give petrochemicals much thought… much less avoid using them and labeling products so consumers can make informed choices. Sounds like a “win” all the way around to me.


P.S. Keep blushing because you deserve every ounce of positive feedback you get. You fight for so many important causes and you spread information, compassion, and support wherever you go. Thank you, Jasmine! 😉

P.P.S. With such a nice comment thread going here, I wish I could tweet this post. Alas, I am no longer a Twitter user. Any chance of a retweet? I’m really thrilled with the amount of traffic this post has been getting between Facebook shares, StumbleUpon, and Twitter. The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. 😉

25 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.09.10 at 2:00 am }


Here is some information about Dr. Bronner’s products:

Bronner’s soaps and fair trade


26 JasmineNo Gravatar { 07.09.10 at 4:02 am }

I’m always extra excited to find a company with not only high quality products, but one that is fair to producers and the planet.

Besides Dr. Bronner’s, I love Rishi Tea for their organic, naturally caffeine-free, teas. And I recently discovered GreenHeart Shop, where I purchased some organic cotton undies 🙂

For more information:

Rishi Tea


.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..just another manic monday =-.

27 AmandaNo Gravatar { 07.09.10 at 5:58 am }


The more I talk to you and the more I read on the Canary Report, the more I am sure you are right! Just this morning I was thinking about how often I feel sick and dizzy and nauseous and I always put it down to stress/exhaustion/hormones… but chances are it is something in my environment – take for example I suffered from terrible dizziness and nausea when working in a day nursery and I just assumed I’d moved too fast and then when I got labyrinthitis I assumed it had been that building up – but now I think about the fact that I spent almost the entire day cleaning – we had checklists we had to follow so on top of the usual sterilising of bottles and cleaning of the bathroom after changing a dozen nappies (diapers), we had to wash all the toys, clean the kitchen area after every meal, even wipe the walls down (don’t ask me why) – but all those cleaning chemicals *eek*

Then there is the fact that when I was a child (around 7 or eight) there was this one room in the school (my classroom) that made me feel sick all the time – to the extent that the teachers moved me into another classroom… I never did figure out what it was but that room made me so ill.

And back to the plastics thing – I HATE plastic anywhere near my mouth or even touching small pieces (as I mentioned before) and I always thought I was just “weird” – I even asked my hypnotherapist to help me get over my reaction to it – but you know what? That was the one thing that the hypnotherapy didn’t stop, so it is obviously something I need to protect myself…

Ok, I shall stop rambling now, I just had to let you know I appreciate your help xx
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Poetry Books =-.

28 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.10.10 at 11:08 pm }


I’m sorry for the delay moderating comments. Things have been busy! Thank you for the resources/ideas you provided. Yes, I too get excited to find companies that are fair to producers and friendly to the planet. Thank you, Jasmine. 😉


Again, sorry your comment got stuck in moderation. I have been having trouble keeping up with everything lately. (Readers, I’m not complaining. The more comments, the better. Please… bring it on)!

Anyhow, I remember you having that trouble with feeling sick, dizzy, and nauseous. I wasn’t aware that you were exposed to all of those commercial cleaning products at that job. 🙁 That could explain a great deal. It sounds like you really did do a lot of cleaning at that job!

I also didn’t know about your childhood classroom making you sick. It must have been pretty severe if they actually moved you to another classroom. 🙁 It makes me sad that to this day there are still classrooms making teachers and students sick. I’ve heard of several teachers who became ill with MCS following exposures to toxins in the schools they worked at.

Check out this story of a brave teacher who took her case to court:

Canadian teacher fights for her right to workplace accommodations

Yes, I think protecting yourself against plastics is a smart idea! Did you get a chance to check out Taina’s Plastic Manners blog or Beth’s Fake Plastic Fish blog? Those two blogs give helpful ideas for alternatives to plastic. You’re not “weird”. Your body is smart enough to try to protect itself. That’s an ability to treasure! 🙂

You’re not rambling. (Even if you were, you’d be hard pressed to compete with me in the rambling department). I’m just glad some of the puzzle pieces are starting to fit together for you.

I appreciate your work for endometriosis awareness and multiple chemical sensitivity awareness. I also appreciate your unwavering support and positive spirit!


29 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.10.10 at 11:30 pm }


After reading your comment about what happened to you when you were in school, I was reminded of a caller who dialed in to the radio interview of Susie Collins regarding multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). I know you have listened to that program (Readers: an archive of the interview is available at the link above). Do you remember a radio show caller named Susan Brinchman? She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for School Mold Help (SMH).

Below is a link:

The Center for School Mold Help: Comprehensive School Mold Prevention, Education, & Solutions

I thought you might find this site interesting in light of your unfortunate experience at school when you were a child. Who knows what made you sick way back then but maybe this will help someone reading this.


30 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.12.10 at 3:29 am }

Hi all,

There seems to be some confusion on a recent Facebook thread on my wall regarding what my point was about Dawn detergent. First, I should note that I updated the word “soap” to “detergent” in the blog title when it was brought to my attention that detergent is the proper term.

Aside from that minor change, I stand by what I have said in this post. Some of what I’ve said here is my personal opinion. For example, I shared my opinion about Dawn detergent and talked about whether the marketing of Dawn during the Gulf crisis (such as the video in this post) is a public relations move on the part of Procter & Gamble. I never suggested that Dawn was more or less effective than any alternative product for cleaning oil off of birds/wildlife.

I am not a scientist and have no business getting into a discussion about whether Dawn is or isn’t the best solution for this problem with oil-slicked wildlife.

I just wanted to clarify why I changed the blog title and emphasize that I may share opinions here that others disagree with but that I would never, ever knowingly post information that is incorrect.

I do not believe I’ve done so with this post. I try to choose my words carefully so as to make it clear when I’m sharing my opinion and when I’m posting facts.

As regular readers hear know, I take great pains to try to back up the facts with as much supporting information/research as possible.

Like anyone, I am entitled to my opinions. This is my blog and that makes it a “safe space” for sharing my opinions.

Sometimes, the line of demarcation between fact and opinion can get blurred. If anything in my wording in this particular post contributed to any confusion between the two, I am sorry for that.

I stand by what I’ve said in this post. Thank you.


31 Susie CollinsNo Gravatar { 07.13.10 at 6:14 am }

Jeanne, thanks for the shout out!
.-= Susie Collins´s last blog ..BP blowout cleanup workers are getting sick =-.

32 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.13.10 at 11:23 pm }


My pleasure!


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