Shoveling Snow

Answer: No (probably)

Hi all, Mr. GGC here, and with a snow storm heading for the east coast I wanted give you an answer to a question I had. Is there palm oil in rock salt? And the short answer is no (probably). I bring this up for two reasons, one it’s an example of how you have to change your thinking when tackling this challenge. And two, it illustrates the difficulty in finding out what’s in products not consumed or used on your body.

The Search For Answers

I will admit it…I’m the type of person who waits till I really need something to buy it. And rock salt is no exception. With snow headed our way I realized today that I was out of rock salt. Knowing the stores would be out of the pet friendly variety I hopped on Amazon to order some (we love free 2-day shipping with Prime). I found a pet friendly product and just as I was about to order it I realized I had not thought to check the ingredients for palm oil. As you know from our last post about finding palm oil, it can be listed under many different names. And in the case of products not consumed or used on your body the ingredients may not be listed at all. The list of ingredients on the product I was looking at was short, so I knew there had to be more in it.

Now to illustrate my second point. It’s hard to find out what’s in something if the ingredients are not listed. First, I checked the Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard for the company, and no luck. I wasn’t surprised because the rock salt is made by a smaller company and you certainly can’t eat it. Next, I tried an app that searches a database of products to see if it was listed as containing palm oil or not (P.S. look for a review of that app in a later post). Again, no luck. Then it was time for a search of the internet. Again, no luck on my specific product but I did learn a lot about what’s in rock salt and the damage it can cause to surfaces, plants, and people.

Common Active Ingredients In Ice Melt

  • Calcium Chloride (Cacl2)
  • Sodium Chloride (NaCl)
  • Potassium Chloride (KCl)
  • Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2)
  • Urea 

Oil In WaterGoing back to high school chemistry you can see most are salt based. This was a good sign for the palm oil challenge. My next thought was to see if any type of oil was used in rock salt. Most of my research turned up no information but I did find at lot of information on ice melting in oil versus water. As it turn out, ice melts very slowly when immersed in oil because the two substances can’t bond. In laymen terms the melted water stays very close to the ice keeping it colder and slowing the melt process. Further internet searching revealed that palm kernel oil melts at 75 degrees. This also means it begins to solidify at temperatures below 75 degrees. These two research points led me to believe that palm oil would be a poor choice as an ingredient because it would slow the melting process and leave a residue after use in cold weather.

So with this conclusion I went ahead and purchased my rock salt. This single purchase illustrates how you have to be more conscious when buying products and the research that might be required to get an answer. It seems like a lot of work for rock salt, but is convenience more important that protecting the environment? I also anticipate, like other things, it gets easier the more you do it. Now if you are looking for a definite palm oil free option for dealing with icy walk ways you could always use sand, saw dust, or ashes to increase traction on slippery surfaces. For me though, a law student, I don’t like liability so rock salt it is for me.

Please let us know if you have a more definitive answer to the question!!

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