‘Natural’ Product Claims Can Be Murky1 Apr 2016 / Paul Epps
Whole Foods Markets Inc. last fall started selling a new brand of laundry detergent called Nature’s Power, whose green bottle claims the product is made “with plant-derived soaps.”
Its top active ingredient, a commonly used cleaning agent called sodium laureth sulfate, is found in plenty of its mainstream peers, including Arm & Hammer, which like Nature’s Power is made by Church & Dwight Co. Sodium laureth sulfate can be produced from coconut oil, palm oil or petroleum.
“It is the same chemical compound, regardless of what it’s derived from,” says Clarence Miller, a professor emeritus of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University in Houston.
A Church & Dwight spokesman said the sodium laureth sulfate in Nature’s Power “is plant-based and not the same” as the sodium laureth sulfate found in Arm & Hammer. Whole Foods declined to comment.
Let’s also note that in addition to being made by the same company as Arm & Hammer, with the same active ingredient as Arm & Hammer, Nature’s Power sells for 114 percent more than Arm & Hammer.
In other ‘green’ product news, S.C. Johnson, makers of Windex, also sell a multi-surface cleaner under the Mrs. Meyer’s brand for 127 percent more than Windex.
‘Natural’ and ‘organic’ are marketing terms, and ‘green’ is what you have to shell out to buy ‘natural’ products.