Palm oil is the world's most highly sought-after vegetable oil due to its multifaceted uses and cheap cost of production. However, producing this versatile oil comes at a high cost to one of the largest biodiversity on the planet. Over the last two centuries, Indonesia and Malaysia have become the main producers and exporters of palm oil but they are also home to the largest number of mammal species in the world that have seen a staggering decline in populations. Furthermore, palm oil production has caused excessive release of greenhouse gases, increased disruption of forestland, and economic poverty for smallholders in Indonesia and Malaysia. This note addresses how palm oil production specifically in the U.S. has contributed to deforestation and global environmental impact through its personal care product industry. First, a historical overview will depict how palm oil has become the most highly sought-after vegetable oil followed by a more in-depth analysis that will focus on the uses of palm oil globally and domestically. The Paris Climate Conference is discussed to explore how different nations are addressing their hand in deforestation caused in part by palm oil production. Lastly, recommendations to reform existing laws and propose new regulations in the U.S. will be discussed. This will explore the ways in which the SEC, FDA, and EPA all have a pivotal role in the personal care industry and how that role directly impacts deforestation resulting from palm oil production.
Weston, Kelsey. (2023) "Soaps and Shampoos: Proposals to Reform Regulation in the United States Personal Care Market to Decrease Deforestation from Palm Oil Imports," Environmental and Earth Law Journal (EELJ): Vol. 13 : Iss. 1 , Article 3.
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