Soapmaking: Part 1

December 29, 2009

Soap began as a simple technology; combine lye leeched from wood ash with water, and then add pure animal fat at the correct temperature to make soap.  But as most things in this world, advancements in technology have told us that we can do it better, faster, and cheaper.  And soap became just that: better at cleaning, easily available at any local grocery store, and cheaper.  But as this shift was taking place, names of unpronounceable chemicals began to be listed on the sides of soap packaging.   “Triclosan” is an FDA approved pesticide.  “Dioxin” is a chemical that was used in Agent Orange.  “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate” is a chemical that has numerous health risks, including cancer and infertility.  And stories of animal testing appeared on local and national news sites.  And some began to question.

Soap is just one small battleground in the larger war faced today.  I decided to make soap because it is often forgotten amongst the “Global Warmings” and the “Stem Cell Researches” that control popular discussion.  And it is a bit funny, “Who would ever bother to make soap?”

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