From sheep. Used in clothing. Ram lambs and old “wool” sheep are slaughtered for their meat. Sheep are transported without food or water, in extreme heat and cold. Legs are broken, eyes injured, etc. Sheep are bred to be unnaturally woolly and unnaturally wrinkly, which causes them to get insect infestations around the tail areas. The farmer’s solution to this is the painful cutting away of the flesh around the tail (called “mulesing”). “Inferior” sheep are killed. When sheep are sheared, they are pinned down violently and sheared roughly. Their skin is cut up. Every year, hundreds of thousands of shorn sheep die from exposure to cold. Natural predators of sheep (wolves, coyotes, eagles, etc.) are poisoned, trapped, and shot. In the ., overgrazing of cattle and sheep is turning more than 150 million acres of land to desert. “Natural” wool production uses enormous amounts of resources and energy (for breeding, rearing, feeding, shearing, transport, slaughter, etc.). Derivatives: Lanolin, Wool Wax, Wool Fat. Alternatives: cotton, cotton flannel, synthetic fibers, ramie, etc.
Sterols. From various animal glands or from plant tissues. Steroids include sterols. Sterols are alcohol from animals or plants (., cholesterol). Used in hormone preparation. In creams, lotions, hair conditioners, fragrances. Alternatives: plant tissues, synthetics. Tallow/tallow fatty alcohol/stearic acid Rendered beef fat. In wax paper, crayons, margarines, paints, rubber, lubricants, candles, soaps, lipsticks, shaving creams, other cosmetics. Chemicals (., PCB) can be in animal tallow. Derivatives: Sodium Tallowate, Tallow Acid, Tallow Amide, Tallow Amine, Talloweth-6, Tallow Glycerides, Tallow Imidazoline. Alternatives: vegetable tallow, Japan tallow, paraffin, ceresin.
Ingredients in cleaning products can also cause a similar contact rash. “These types of skin reactions aren’t immediate,” says Dr. Hummell. “Initially, it may just look a little red or irritated. But over time you become sensitized to it, and within days, a more chronic rash may appear.” (In this way, it’s similar to a poison ivy reaction.)
Skin reactions like these generally don’t trigger life-threatening complications like throat swelling, heart problems, or asthma attacks, the way that other allergies can. But because they can cause serious discomfort and irritation, identifying the cause (and then avoiding it) is still important.