What is natural pumice?
Can the product commonly found in stores really be called natural? For what usually passes as natural pumice is so far removed from its original state, claims of being natural stretch the word's meaning to...well, meaninglessness.
Maybe it all comes down to what one's definition of natural is. If you mean derived from a natural product, vs. synthetic ingredients - like the glass-based artificial pumice stones also on the market - then, yes, ...kinda sorta.
Carrying this logic to the extreme, though, since everything under the sun originally comes from nature (glass coming from sand, for example), there's nothing that is not natural. Natural plastic! Natural junk food!
Here's the definition I resonate with, from Webster's New World Dictionary: "Produced or existing in nature; not artificial or manufactured."
Few realize the vast majority of so-called natural pumice body care products are adulterated through an energy-guzzling, high tech process. While perhaps not made from artificial ingredients to speak of, they are a world away from pumice's pristine state.
Not knowing any better, one might assume store's neatly wrapped, soap-bar-shaped pumice was cut from some huge pumice slab, as from a New Hampshire granite quarry or something.
No such critter. Here's how such natural pumice comes about. First the stone is collected, often with polluting earth-moving equipment, from huge open-pit mines, often in distant countries. Then stones are crushed to granule and powder with giant, kilowatt-thirsty machinery, heated up with similar energy-guzzling gusto, along with a stirred-in liquid foaming agent and epoxy binder. The resulting hot bubbling froth is then injected into uniform molds.
Sounds manufactured, no?
But, hey, it's using a natural main ingredient. The frothing agent may be one, too, but why do I doubt it?
Granted, such products can have advantages over whole, un-reformed pumice stone, depending on what one wants or expects. They offer a uniform filing surface with predetermined abrasion level, such as it is; some are easier to keep hygienic, and, of course, they're widely available.
I don't discount their place in the market so much as take exception to such businesses participating in the green-wash marketing epidemic these days. They try to spin away all the yucky brown in the product with that magical word natural. Its actual environmental hue, of course, is not so verdant.
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