Most people assume that the word “natural” on a label means that nothing in the product is chemical or synthetic. This may not be true. We’re currently investigating three products to see if they’re delivering what their labels suggest:
On the front of each container are the words “Nature makes it work”. But what do these products really contain? And is it really “nature” that makes the product effective?
Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats No More Spraying Stain & Odor Remover With Natural Repellent: The ingredients listed are sodium lauryl sulfate, cinnamon oil, and lemongrass oil, along with water and sodium benzoate.
The oils may be natural, although the label doesn’t say that, but sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is definitely not natural. Wikipedia defines it as “a synthetic organic compound” that is “is synthesized by treating lauryl alcohol with sulfur trioxide gas, oleum, or chlorosulfuric acid to produce hydrogen lauryl sulfate…. The resulting product is then neutralized through the addition of sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate.”
The Environmental Working Group EWG) rates it as a moderate concern for organ system toxicity. The Mercola website says, “Nearly 16,000 studies mention the toxicity of sodium lauryl sulfate….” and also, “A number of studies report SLS being damaging to oral mucosa and skin. This is not at all surprising since SLS is actually used as a skin irritant during studies where medical treatments for skin irritation require an intentionally irritating agent.”
Sodium benzoate is a preservative that is “produced by the neutralization of benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide.”
Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats Litter Box Odor Destroyer Litter Odor Eliminator: The list of ingredients says, “Water, Proprietary Odor Control Formula, Methylchloroisothiazilinone, Methylisothiazolinone.”
We have no way of knowing what is in the “proprietary odor control formula.”
The last two items are preservatives. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics says, “Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) …. have been linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions and possible neurotoxicity.” The EWG rates methylchloroisothiazilinone as a moderate hazard, giving it a six out of ten score, and Wikipedia defines methylisothiazolinone as “a powerful synthetic biocide and preservative”.
Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats Litter Box Odor Destroyer Litter Deodorizing Powder: The ingredient list for this product is very short: “Zeolite, Fragrance”.
Zeolites are “solids with a relatively open, three-dimensional crystal structure built from the elements aluminum, oxygen, and silicon, with alkali or alkaline-Earth metals … plus water molecules trapped in the gaps between them”, according to the website Explain That Stuff. The term refers to “over 200 different minerals” approximately forty of which are “naturally occurring” and many others which are artificial or synthetic.
As for the general term “fragrance,” the FDA’s website says, “Fragrance and flavor formulas are complex mixtures of many different natural and synthetic chemical ingredients…” So there’s no information on exactly what this substance is either.
The “Nature makes it work” claim coupled with the very vague list of ingredients on these products suggest to us that an investigation is needed, to see whether a class action should be filed. If you’ve used any of these three products, please fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience was.