Palm oil is one of the most common vegetable oils in the world, and it's used in all kinds of products. This oil is harvested in places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Africa. Palm oil plantations require millions of hectares of cleared land, land that was once carbon-rich soil and home to countless species.
When companies clear land for palm oil plantations, they are tearing up forests that, per square mile, can hold 99 million kilograms (over 218 million pounds) of carbon. By clearing these forests, palm oil plantations create the equivalent of driving a car between New York and San Francisco 76 times.
The danger of palm oil plantations is not limited to just the carbon impacts. Orangutans, rhinos, elephants, and many other species are endangered partially due to habitat loss because of palm oil plantations.
In addition to the environmental and animal rights issues that come with palm oil, consuming it is also bad for human health. When processed, it's known to cause organ toxicity, especially in the kidneys and lungs.
For the next two weeks, don't use any products with palm oil in them. Comment below to take the challenge!
Quick tip: there are different types of palm oil, so product packaging may list palm oil, palm kernel oil, or fractionated palm kernel oil. Many processed foods like cookies, crackers, and granola bars contain palm oil, as well as some cosmetic products like shampoo.
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