Jessica Alba has a billion dollar baby supply enterprise called The Honest Company, and it is based on the idea that “the products people use should be safe and non-toxic (surprisingly, many companies don’t!)”. Sounds nice, who could argue with that?
ACSH friend Julie Gunlock, that’s who.
Gunlock, of the Independent Women’s Forum and the Culture of Alarmism, has a fascinating opinion piece in today’s New York Post that pulled back the curtain on Alba’s enterprise and her assessment: Alba’s product is not baby supplies; it’s fear.
The article explains that the company’s main tenet is pushing the infamous “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t consume/use it” anti-science mantra other “celebrities” have spread. Alba has claimed that there’s a conspiracy by all other companies to hurt our children by sneaking chemicals, carcinogens and allergens into our diapers but that her company cares about children and they would never do that.
Thankfully, Gunlock is here to point out just how absurd this is. First, she explains the science: “Sure, chemicals can be toxic — if consumed in certain amounts. Heck, water is dangerous in high doses!” She continues by pointing out these products are safe: “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.”
But perhaps the best part comes when she points out that the The Honest Company doesn’t even follow their own message, as they put unpronounceable chemicals in their products too. Gunlock explains that the diapers “…also contain sodium polyacrylatepolyolefin, Polymer Spandex, Polyolefin, and Polyurethane. Her dish soap contains cocamidopropyl betain, phenoxyethenol, and methylisothiazolinone. Her facial wipes contain polysorbate 20.”
Its not all criticisms of Alba though, as Gunlock “commends” Alba’s profiteering: “Her marketing tactics are below-the-belt: She tells the world that she’s the only one who can be trusted, implying the rest are out to harm, maim, poison and kill. The “Honest” Company thrives on alarmism, and a false promise of safer, healthier products at a high price. It’s a strategy that makes some people rich and many more riddled with anxiety. We can salute her for her marketplace success, but we shouldn’t let her get away with pretending that she’s saving the world.”
ACSH’s Nicholas Staropoli adds “We are longtime supporters of Julie’s work and this piece comports quite well with our prior admiration. Alba thinks her ‘small’ billion dollar company is saving the world from the evil toxin industry but all she is doing is breeding fear and mistrust in good science and safe, well tested products. The real reason she is doing this is not to save our nation’s babies but to pad her own wallet. My advice to the four time Razzie nominee: if you want to make a quick buck, instead of profiting off fearmongering, go make Good Luck Chuck 2. I’m certain Dane Cook is available.”