We invited volunteers to submit articles about orangutans and the issues to enlighten and inspire others. Here is our second submission.

Why is palm oil bad?   by Tiffany Richard, volunteer writer.

oil palm fruits on treeThe oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) produces a big red fruit bunch that is rich with oil. After they refine the oil it is called palm oil. Palm oil can be found in various products like Starburst, Twizzlers, Skippy peanut butter, Vaseline, organic 'natural soap' and many more other products. Though it might sound harmless because it's just a fatty oil, it's more than harmless. As mentioned, it is a fatty oil with a lot of saturated fat in it which means it boosts cholesterol levels, raises blood pressure, and brings a higher risk of having a stroke or heart disease. One of the reasons why manufacturers use palm oil is because it's cheap. For that one reason alone you may decide to avoid it, but there's an even worse concern.

Orangutans are great apes that can be found only in the tropical low land rainforest of the Asian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Bornean orangutans are classified as endangered, and the Sumatran orangutans as critically endangered. Why are they endangered? They are endangered because of the fast growing palm oil industry. Palm oil industries are cutting and burning the rainforest to make room for rainforest plantations. In the process, some orangutans are killed in the deforesting process while others are left homeless and orphaned. Isn't that sad that their losing their homes? They spend 90% of their time in trees (that includes nesting and sleeping). Orangutans that get displaced wander into farmland are known as agricultural pest and are often killed. Sadly at this rate, endangered orangutans will be extinct 10-20 years.

Sadly it's hard to avoid palm oil because, like I said before, it's in many different products ranging from food to make up. But here is a list of ways you can try to avoid it:

  1. Palm oil is under different names so that you don't know it's palm oil. Here are some of the names it's labeled under:
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Vegetable Fat
  • Palmate
  • Palm
  • Palm Fruit Oil
  • Stearic Acid
  • Sodium Kernelate
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Sodium Laurieth Sulfate
  • Palmityl Alcohol
  1. Most prepackaged snack foods that are made under large companies will most likely have palm oil in it.
  2. Pick products that have clearly labeled oils like corn oil, olive oil and 100-percent sunflower oil

I hope this article about palm oil persuades you not buy anything with palm in it and help save orangutans.