Seven years ago when Jessica Alba was pregnant with her first daughter she tested a popular mild baby detergent and broke out in a rash. Having suffered health issues as a child that required repeat hospitalisation Jessica began to question the rise of autism rates and ADHD among children in recent years and how she might be able to protect her unborn baby from this.
She believed that a rise in chemicals in everyday products was contributing to these childhood illnesses. So in response she started The Honest Company which sells a variety of organic and eco-friendly baby and personal-care products. And the company is now making over a billion dollars. Yes a billion!
In the past Jessica has worked to gain support for the Safe Chemicals Act, which would require products to be tested for chemicals before they are sold and was also honoured at the Environmental Media Awards with the Green Parent Award.
Overnight a story written by the New York Post hasn’t painted Jess’ business in the best light:
The story gives a scathing insight Jessica’s booming baby business and claims many of her products are in fact toxic themselves. The writer says the profits made by Jessica’s company have been made by “not by being honest with consumers but by spreading lies about her competitors.”
She goes on to say:
“her diapers are plant-based, gluten-free (in case your gluten-sensitive kid wants to snack on them, I suppose) and are made of an “absorbent core with fluff pulp harvested from certified sustainably managed forests. They also contain sodium polyacrylatepolyolefin, Polymer Spandex, Polyolefin and Polyurethane.
Her dish soap contains cocamidopropyl betain, phenoxyethenol and methylisothiazolinone. Her facial wipes contain polysorbate 20.
Alba stokes a kind of chemphobia, repeating a standard line used by radical environmentalists that “there are 80,000 chemicals in consumer products — chemicals that frankly haven’t been tested.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. And here’s where Alba’s misinformation campaign kicks into high gear.
Chemicals are regulated under nearly a dozen federal agencies and regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency continuously reviews the safety of chemicals and requires chemical manufacturers to provide the agency with all available health and safety data as part of the approval process required before manufacturers can use a chemical in their products.”
And when it comes to the actress’ fragrance-free diapers, the writer does not hold back:
“The Honest Company — which produces fragrance-free diapers — suggests on its website that a conspiracy designed “to disguise the toxic stink of those unpronounceable VOCs [volatile organic compounds]” is the real reason the competition uses fragrances.
The website further suggests that these fragrances are “made up of hundreds of other chemicals and may contain everything from allergens and carcinogens to hormone-disrupting phthalates.”
Reasonable people know that fragrance is added to diapers to cover up another toxic stink — the one coming out of your baby — but claiming there’s a conspiracy afoot to harm kids is the far better marketing strategy for Alba’s “honest” company.
Sure, chemicals can be toxic — if consumed in certain amounts. Heck, water is dangerous in high doses! And it’s easy to get nervous when looking at some products’ ingredient lists. Still, chemicals in products — including those fragrances used in diapers — are used in trace amounts, often improve the safety of those products and have undergone hundreds of safety tests.”
And then there is the reported feud with Gwyneth Paltrow after Jessica released her book The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You and claimed her advice was more ‘grounded’ than Gwyneth’s. Gwennie hit back with a review of Jessica’s cleaner on her mega site GOOP, quoting the Environmental Working Group that The Honest Company‘s cleaner “may contain ingredients with potential for acute aquatic toxicity; respiratory effects; nervous system effects.” Which is the opposite of what Jessica is saying about her products.
She’s clearly a savvy business woman and obviously really believes in her products but maybe this is a reminder for us all that it’s important to always read the fine print and educate ourselves rather than believe what is being marketed to us.
We love us some Jessica Alba and praise any woman running a business as it ‘aint easy. We’re sure she’ll go kick some butt ‘Sin City’ style and sort out any mis-communication pronto.