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Palm oil, a commonly-used cooking oil, was once seen as a healthy alternative to trans fat. It was the answer to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through its use as a biofuel and it alleviated the poverty of the farmers who produced it. However, growing research suggests palm oil is doing more harm than good.
Over the past few decades, the oil derived from the fruit of oil palms has boomed into a global industry. So much so that nearly half the packaged products on grocery store shelves contain it, including products marketed to health and eco-conscious consumers like you. The list of palm oil products includes food such as granola bars and peanut butter, cosmetics such as shaving cream and lipstick, to personal hygiene products such as soap and toothpaste. Palm oil farming and expansion contributes to unsustainable deforestation to devastating the natural habitats of orangutans. The next time you head to the store, see if you’re buying a slice of the rainforest.
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