There’s WHAT in my Baking Soda?

Fragrance chemicals….

Yes, I said it… There are fragrance chemicals in much of the baking soda sold now… Even in the baking soda you bake with. Unless you are extremely lucky… and there’s no rhyme or reason as to when it might be fragrance free, because no-one who might know will tell as to why there are any problems with it in the first place.

For months now, I haven’t been able to get any baking soda that isn’t fragrance (or otherwise) pre-contaminated… and I use it instead of soap products, which I don’t tolerate, to clean me, my teeth, my clothes and everything else that needs cleaning… Because my body doesn’t tolerate soap, even organic olive oil soap, probably because there’s something about modern lye that doesn’t agree with me…

If I lived in a cave, it might not matter, but I’m stuck here in the suburbs, and despite being housebound, there are people who make assumptions on my rare appearances outdoors, like when I have to go to the recycling and garbage bins… And I am just well enough to notice, and to care… And it just doesn’t feel good physically, or emotionally…


My local Bulk Barn store owner picking up 50 lbs of fragrance contaminated baking soda during a February snowstorm

The most recent Arm and Hammer bulk sample, was even worse than the previous one, although the type of contamination is different…
The owner/manager says he took the sample from a brand new bag he just cut open and used the jar I had given him when he picked up the 50 lbs of fragrance contaminated baking soda I’d purchased in December. He was even so kind as to deliver the jar full.

Arm and Hammer is saying there is no way their stuff is contaminated before it goes in the bag, Bulk Barn won’t tell me who the middle man is, and the bags are really unlikely to pick up contamination during the time between anyway – but I’ve had fragrance contamination on the INSIDE of the bag, when the outside had no fragrance residue.

I buy it in 50 lb bags to avoid retail contamination, but for the 2nd time in as many years, the contents were so fragranced that I couldn’t even use it to clean my toilets. This new jar full makes it 3 times.

Arm and Hammer (Church and Dwight in Canada) and the franchise head office that I purchase it through, are denying there could be any fragrance residues in their product because “no-one else has complained”.

Except that the first time it happened, in the summer of 2011, Arm and Hammer issued a refund without questions! Too quickly, unless there were other complaints. This time they were too quick to brush me off.

Most people wouldn’t notice, since their lives are so full of fragranced products anyway. I notice because I’ve had to eliminate fragrances and other VOCs for so many years, because I am “sensitized” to them (and poisoned by them), much like someone with celiac disease reacting to trace amounts of gluten contamination.  So I know when there are trace amounts of certain chemicals (even though I don’t know which ones).

Dr. Lynn Marshall, the previous director of the Environmental Health Clinic at Sunnybrook & Women’s College Hospital, outlined my health needs as follows:

The most effective means of managing this condition is by avoidance of known triggering chemicals, and minimization of exposure to other “everyday” synthetic environmental chemicals in food, water, air, and consumer products. As with intolerances to foods themselves, it is highly challenging and expensive to minimize such exposures.

She (Ms Sepp) requires food (water, air, and consumer products) containing the lowest possible amounts of synthetic chemicals permanently to help maintain, and hopefully improve, her health status

50 pounds of fragrance contaminated baking soda

So, if indeed they have only baking soda in that facility, then I suspect it is contamination via air handling systems, perhaps from carpet cleaning in their offices, or fragrance emitting devices in the washrooms, since they claim there are no other products produced at that facility and this has been an episodic problem for me.

The head of Quality Control at a place in Toronto that distributed bulk goods to stores all over town used to be amazed when I would call and tell her they had changed their baking soda, and ask who was it from this time… No one else ever called. Yet every time I did, they had indeed changed suppliers. It wasn’t even fragrance contaminated product, it was just different. It smelled and behaved differently when it hit water.

So yes, I can tell when there’s fragrance in something that isn’t supposed to have any. But if they deny the problem and refuse to look into it to fix the problem, then what?

I would think a company that sells a product that isn’t supposed to have fragrance in it (because it is consumed internally) should be happy to hear if someone notices a problem, so that it could be corrected, instead of denying and blaming the person who brings it to their attention.

Does anyone else care if their food grade baking soda has fragrance chemicals and allergens in it before it even gets packaged? Before you bring it home?

Fragrance that isn’t meant to be consumed in baking soda that is to be consumed…

It definitely gets fragrance in it after it hits the store if it’s in a cardboard box, since cardboard only keeps dust out. This means people are buying a product, often to deodorize, but also to consume, product that has already absorbed all kinds of things, things like toxic fragrance chemicals, before anyone even gets it home.

Since I use baking soda for so many things that I require at least 100 pounds of it a year,  (and much more if I am going to try to detox any new clothing or bedding), I am left wondering how I can wash myself and my clothing, if I can’t get uncontaminated  baking soda. Personal hygiene and clean clothing are really not optional luxuries…

Any boxed baking soda that sits in a store will absorb the chemicals that are in the store air. They do, after all, sell it to absorb odors. It’s just one of its many uses.

I’ve even had a whole case of boxed baking soda arrive saturated with dryer sheet chemicals from sitting in a delivery truck that carried both. I couldn’t figure out why the case itself, made with nice thick cardboard, had air holes punched in it, as if it was a case of fruit requiring ventilation instead of a product that absorbs everything in the air.

Cardboard (without holes) can act like a dust protector. It doesn’t protect baking soda (or toilet paper) from volatile chemicals and other odiferous things in the air, like in a supermarket full of laundry and cleaning chemicals. Cardboard absorbs them too. Most plastic bags are also sponges for fragrance chemicals, perhaps the plastic phthalates attract the fragrance phthalates?

Now Pre-Contaminated

These manufacturers know baking soda absorbs odors, they even mention it on the box, so why don’t they protect it so people can buy it uncontaminated, in case they do want to ingest it, or otherwise just avoid buying pre-contaminated product?

Packaging that does protect the contents from exterior airborne or contact contamination,  are the cellophane or foil bags, and for a time, the double kraft paper / nylon polyethylene bags that hold 50 lbs.

In Canada, we cannot buy the 13 pound bags of Arm and Hammer baking soda that are sold in the US. We can only get small cardboard boxes, which, in addition to not protecting the contents, generates a lot of waste if you use 100 of them a year.

To find uncontaminated baking soda, I’ve had to turn to less common ways of getting my stash of fine white powder, the only thing that I can use to wash my hands, brush my teeth, wash my fruit, wash my clothes, wash my body, clean the toilet, and do many other things with. I cannot use soaps or detergents. I need uncontaminated B.S.

Some places, like health food and environmental stores sell baking soda in bulk by the pound. Buying it like that is not an option for me because it starts absorbing fragrances and other VOCs as soon as it’s out of the bag.  I discovered that they get it in 50 lb bags, and most places are willing to sell it to you like that, sometimes even with a small discount, since they don’t have to do anything more than get it in and out the door.

I’ve managed to avoid most post-production contamination (except some on the bag exteriors from people with fragrance residues on their hands) by ordering it in these huge heavy bags and picking it up (or having it picked up or delivered) on or as close to the day the store gets it in.

This method works great as long as the product is uncontaminated when it is bagged.

I am again having a hard time getting baking soda that is not pre-contaminated.

I can’t find anyone to go to Costco so I can try a case-full from there. They used to have sealed shrink wrapped cases that would prevent some contamination, unlike plain cardboard which absorbs all the fragrances and chemicals from the area, and A&H  apparently use a different plant to package the boxes than they do for the 50 lb bags.

The other source for baking soda that I used to get (they supply Bob’s Red Mill, Fleishmann’s, and others) had something happen in 2009 that changed the taste and smell and which makes me choke and get dizzy when it hits water. To me, it smells something like diesel when it’s wet. The current QA guy started working there in 2010 and couldn’t find any indication of any changes or events in the records (assuming he told me the truth, and assuming the changes would have been recorded somewhere).

Apparently there is only one other source of food grade baking soda in North America, possibly in the same town as Arm and Hammer, but they don’t provide product to us ordinary people, they just sell to industrial users, like large national bakers. I haven’t yet been able to track down which company it might be, if they manufacture anything else that could contaminate it on premises, or how I might be able to get me some.

If I can track that down, and they do have something that might work for me, I’d still need to find a way to get it to me here. (Not an easy feat, as lately  I haven’t even found anyone to pick up some coffee beans for me… Moving to a new city as a housebound adult who cannot be near the chemicals in regular laundry and personal care products means there are little to no opportunities to meet people and develop relationships with them, so that they will want to offer help when it’s needed).

So, not having spare clothes to begin with, and then not being able to wash the ones I’m wearing all the time, is making me feel less than human. Or a very unhappy human… Or both.

It wouldn’t matter if I lived in a cave, far from other humans, in a world where appearances (and smell) don’t matter, but I don’t think I have to tell you, we live in a smell obsessed society where if something doesn’t smell like a fragrance chemical, it’s thought to stink, and the commercials sell all kinds of products to mask that “stink”.

I think it stinks that it’s so difficult to get baking soda that doesn’t stink of fragrance.

I have only a few tablespoons of safe stuff left, only because I have been conserving it, hoping I will be able to get some safe stuff again “soon”, and then be able to wash “all” my few articles of clothing… but then what?

What if I can’t find or get any baking soda from another source? What if that 3rd source is actually the source Arm and Hammer uses for it’s “Specialty Products” /bulk customers, who refused to consider their product gets contaminated?

What if fragrance in baking soda isn’t only my problem, but is a problem for everyone?


I welcome your assistance in finding and receiving safe, uncontaminated baking soda.

Don’t forget to check out Secret Scents

This might also be of interest to some of you:

I tried to find any research about aluminum in baking soda and could not find it. It seems to be a confusion spread by people who don’t know there’s a difference between baking powder and baking soda. These 2 blog posts should clear that up.

The Great Baking Soda Anti-Hoax


Marketing what isn’t there: aluminum-free baking soda

54 responses to “There’s WHAT in my Baking Soda?

  1. I buy large bags & there is usually some fragrance on the baking soda. By putting small amounts in pans and stirring every few days for weeks, the odor has always dissipated.

    Good luck in your very frustrating ordeal.

  2. I buy baking soda from Sam’s Club. It is in a plastic bag so I have never smelled anything in it. I have exactly the same fragrance problem as you and am very sensitive to products. Nothing can have an odor!
    Arm & Hammer make cat litter that is supposed to be fragrance free but I have stopped using it because of the perfumed smell it has.

    • Kitty litters get fragrance in them because they use the same conveyor belts/equipment for the unscented as they do for the scented (it took years of me ragging on various quality control people to get them to admit this to me, despite it being the obvious cause). A few years ago I did find a brand that didn’t make a scented version, but they introduced one and ruined their unscented one in the process. I had to switch to a very expensive brand that I suspect was GMO, but it was the only litter that I could tolerate in the house, and I had 3 indoor cats then.

  3. Wow! I did not know that. I use it for laundry and cleaning also. I buy baking soda from Costco in a plastic bag, but I have not smelled any fragrance so far…and I have a very sensitive sense of smell when it comes to fragrances.

  4. It’s not that they are purposely adding fragrance (or whatever it is that is now happening with Natural Soda), it’s that they are allowing the bs/sb to do what it naturally does, and that is to absorb stuff from the environment.
    I can’t just air it out, as the chemical residues affect me even when I can’t smell them.
    I can’t use it to wash my clothes because it aggravates my fibromyalgia something fierce when there are trace levels of some chemicals.
    Maybe it would air out enough to scrub my toilet with, but I don’t have a safe dry place to do that which wouldn’t affect my air quality and adversely impact my health in the process.
    The 13 lb bags might have safe uncontaminated bs/sb, but they are not available in Canada. won’t ship here, and I suspect postage would be really expensive if someone were to ship it privately.

  5. I remembered something else I encountered that had a diesel type smell to it. I bought a couple of pairs of organic underwear direct from the distributor once (to avoid retail fragrance contamination) but when I got them home they smelled like gas/diesel/fossil fuel of some sort. I don’t remember now if I tried to wash them or not, but I did end up calling to say I couldn’t use them and wanted a refund or exchange…

    The owner of the company started checking with the people at the warehouses along the way, and discovered there HAD BEEN A SPILL! They then checked their stock and found that some more had absorbed fumes through the packaging.

    I don’t know if the Natural Soda (Bob’s, etc) fume is diesel or gas or what (I have mistaken paint fumes for gas fumes before, sometimes I can’t identify what I am smelling, but I only have physical symptoms from fossil fuel/petrochemical substances), and to me it is like a fossil fuel smell, and it chokes me up.

    I wish that both quality assurance people there hadn’t started working there the year after the problem started.

    I can’t be the only person who notices, although I might be the only one who complains…

    Regarding the Natural soda product, it took me over 3 years to find them, as the folks who were putting their names on the labels weren’t talking… and I didn’t have the energy to search more myself, it was by accident that I discovered them.

    Anyway, I hope that someone with a lab takes interest and starts testing various samples, so that the manufacturers will take proper precaution to keep phthalates and other chemicals out of these basic essentials.

    And if anyone wants to try to bring me a 13 lb bag of baking soda across the border (postage for it is insanely not worth it) so that I could test and see if that is contaminated or not (note that the car would also need to be free of fragrance and other contamination and/or the bag would have to be wrapped in foil or mylar, as most cars have been cleaned with fragranced products or have absorbed 2nd and 3rd hand fragrances from everything that goes into the car from stores and homes that have anything with fragrance), let me know! I’m in the Ottawa area…

  6. Baker Soda, I buy are from ancient alkaline Lake Beds; Not chemical made (or by-product). If they are contaminant, like the Card board Box; I smell them, Baking Soda, for flavours or fragrances, (like gas or diesel). AS, I found by working in a Warehouse, Cross Contaminations are possible by way they are handled and

  7. Talk about shooting the messenger! You would think they would want to know about it? You should send them a link to this page. It’s not good publicity. What with climate skeptics now being shown up as what they are: deniers; there is nowhere for people like this to hide. It’s a business and they need to look after their customers. No 1. In a Australia, I’ve had to go through companies that make other chemicals too, but thankfully, they were aware that this product needed to be kept separate. It’s common sense, really! I hope you find someone else who can supply you really soon. It’s probably the one product that makes our lives easier.
    Good luck, Linda

    • Pretty pathetic, isn’t it…
      You can tell how much a company cares about its customers by the way they respond to problems.
      Even if the problems are something they hadn’t considered capable of creating a problem.
      I posted recently about phthalates (from fragrance, personal care products and plastics) in supermarket food.
      This is just another example of it.
      If people who read the post click on the links enough times, the companies will take notice.
      I’m pretty sure most websites have that capacity, to see what brought people to their site.
      And thanks, it looks like I’m going to need luck!

      • Hi Linda,
        Wow can I relate. I myself have recovered from lymes disease and the severe chemical sensitivity that came with it. I still can’t stand the bombardment of toxic fragrance found in just about everyplace I go. I myself have contacted grocery stores to notifie them of the food contamination that is occurring from their chemical, fragrance, detergent section. They just think I am crazy. I am looking into having food tested to prove the contamination exists. This is a major problem in most grocery stores today. Looking for chemists and scientist to help with this endeavor is difficult. I really appreciate your site. Feel free to contact me anytime for any reason. I am very serious about bring this truth to light. Thanks again for all your hard work my dear!

  8. Hi Linda,
    just a thought: you could try asking a compounding pharmacy if they can tell you where they get their’s from. I’m not sure if things work the same as over here in Australia, but here we have compounding pharmacies that make up particular things like tri-salts for people. They would use pharmaceutical grade products and may know where you could get some too? I realise it might cost more, but it’s worth a try. I say this because that was how I located mine over here. Mine wasn’t pharmaceutical grade, it was just food grade. I wish I could post you a big bag!

    Take care
    Miche (clicking on that link a lot!)

    • Thanks Miche … I actually tasted the baking soda in my trisalts a week ago and thought of that possibility (I rarely take them anymore but started brushing my teeth with them because of the bs/sb in there).
      I want to find out what the difference between food and pharmaceutical grade bs/sb is. Did you ask?

      I would need to research the compounding pharmacies in this area (mine was bought by mail-order from Toronto, where I used to live) to see what they use (and if they’d notice or care if the product was fragrance contaminated.

      Not that they do compounding, but the biggest chain of drug stores in this province is the most toxic with heavy fragrance chemicals too, and all the local postal outlets are in there, creating chemical barriers to anyone with respiratory problems, migraines and MCS/ES.

      I would still run into the access issue again – needing someone to drive and haul for me.
      Re mailing some, a FB friend looked into mailing me a 13lb bag from the US and it would cost $50!!!

  9. Hi Linda: I am possibly the only other person to have this same issue. In fact, I could’ve written this post. Like you (as an MCS’r), I use baking soda for cleaning, shampoo, etc. so it’s essential that it is pure and unscented. I have now tried a couple different packages of Arm & Hammer, Nice! brand (from a drugstore) and Bob’s Red Mill. Oddly enough, it doesn’t smell to me when it’s dry (and believe me, I’ve got the sniffer of a K-9 dog). However, when I add water to it, WHOA!!! It REEKS (and I don’t mean a little bit) but smells like air freshener which is like kryptonite for me. Even my normie boyfriend smelled it the last time. A tiny bit got on my dress from when I was attempting to wash my hair and he took a good whiff after I complained and immediately threw the dress on the floor. So, it’s not just you and me (the Canary Club)!!

    I posted on the Immune Listserv and was referred to you. Someone also suggested that somebody they knew who is super sensitive can only tolerate baking soda from Frontier (a co-op). Here’s my theory: I don’t believe they are adding fragrance to the product. I think that Arm & Hammer produces a number of scented (and in some cases), highly fragranced products–cat litter, laundry detergent and even refrigerator de-odorizers. My guess is that these products are produced in the same factory as the baking soda and that’s how it’s getting cross-contaminated. I read some reviews on today from folks who had purchased the cat litter referenced in one of the above posts. One of the chemically sensitive reviewers had a problem with it but others did too and said they couldn’t even enter that room of their house as it was so overpowering it had permeated that area of their home.

    Since I don’t believe off brand manufacturers have their own processing facility, I think they’re buying it from Arm & Hammer and private labeling it (or worse yet, packaging it for them with the other company’s packaging in the Arm & Hammer plant). I think that, like you, that’s why I’ve been unable to come by “clean” baking soda.

    So, the question remains: is Frontier’s baking soda really any different? Who knows? I don’t know who their ‘supplier’ is and I’m pretty exhausted trying to source a simple, but necessary, commodity.

    • You are not the only other one, and I am glad you have written a comment about it here.
      And yes to the problem being so much more so when wet!

      Arm And Hammer told me that their consumer (small package) and bulk/specialty facilities are different.

      They said they do NOT package/manufacture their other scented products in the baking soda facility(ies?)
      That’s the 1st thing I asked.

      As to how their product was getting contaminated?

      The guy at the specialty/bulk facility refused to acknowledge that it could be happening. I asked about carpet cleaning, other cleaning, even if they used air “fresheners” in the toilets there (he didn’t know).

      If they are packaging the stuff for themselves and other labels, why they don’t have impermeable packaging for bs/sb, I do not understand, since one of the reasons they sell it is to “absorb odors”.

      If you are buying it in boxes, they could be picking up store fragrance since paper and cardboard absorb everything.

      Can you get a 13lb bag from a Costco and see if that too has fragrance in it?
      That would be a helpful bit of sleuthing.

      Those are not available in Canada (and shipping would cost over $50)

      I thought perhaps the thick kraft paper with polyethylene liner might be enough to prevent exterior contamination in the 50lb bags I get here, but today I learned otherwise.

      I was able to confirm that the Bulk Barn warehouse is now definitely contaminating the big bags that they are getting from a middle man (who’s identity they will not reveal)

      The last sample from them which my local store manager brought was really bad with store smell even tho he said it was from a brand newly received bag. I didn’t really believe him. But the last case of rice cakes and rice milk that I picked up from them also were saturated with this stench (spices and I think the synthetic fragrance/flavors from candies). I had to abandon the whole case of rice cakes (they have been outside in a plastic bag, and even the roaming skunks, raccoons and squirrels haven’t touched them), and wash the individual rice milk containers so I can bring them inside and touch them without my hands burning – so there’s definitely a chemical VOC getting thru the cardboard cases!

      Tonight, a friend brought me a 50lb bag he’d special ordered from a different Bulk Barn franchise, just to see if there would be any difference. The outside of this bag reeked of that spice/fragrance/flavor blend, but I had hopes the inside might be ok. Sadly those hopes were dashed. It reeked even when dry!!! More so, of course, when wet.

      I dumped my jar full outside, but some had clumped inside and as I was rinsing it (getting a headache) it seemed I got a whiff of the plain fragrance without the BB stuff, but that’s when I was dumping the last of it down the drain.

      So it is still very possible that the middle man or A&H are also/still contaminating it.

      I don’t know who Frontier gets their bs/sb from… That’s another sleuthing project.

      Bob’s gets theirs from Natural Soda.

      The QA guys at Natural Soda both started working there the year after I detected a problem with their product, they were unable to discover anything in the records that might have changed, and that problem still exists.

      So, as a list of what I’ve been thru…the stuff bagged Nov 18 (lot 2322) was highly fragranced inside w/o the BB issues added.

      Lot 3042 (bagged Feb 11) the sample from a newly delivered to the store and opened bag brought to me March 23nd I think, and lot 3084 (bagged Mar 25), delivered to a BB store and brought to me April 23rd, were both highly Bulk Barn contaminated, and possibly A&H and /or middleman contaminated as well, but impossible to tell with all the added BB contamination.

      What I need to do now is find someone other than Bulk Barn who gets the 50lb bags in this area, to see if those are uncontaminated or not, and hopefully also be able to talk to the middleman, in case they have something to do with contaminating it.

      I discovered that the 6packs of small boxes that COSTCO gets are no longer fully plastic wrapped like they were in 2010- they are open on top and bottom with just enough plastic to keep the boxes together – and they come on shrink wrapped skids of 324 units, no cardboard cases, and these skids are shipped in trucks that carry both foods and chemicals like dryer sheets etc in them. So, plenty of opportunity for the baking soda boxes to get contaminated (the food too), and that had in fact happened to me when I was in the small town – I learned the trucks carry everything together, instead of separating foods from volatile chemicals.

      They should be paying us to track down all this contamination that is happening because the stuff isn’t packaged properly in a toxic world!!!


  10. I too have recently found this issue. I have been using the plastic bags from Costco for awhile now with no issue. The past 2 bags that I got reeked even dry. The outside of the bag had no smell! Only once opened. I too use a TON of baking soda. I am very upset by this! I hope that there is a solution!!

    • Oh dear… That is disappointing, BUT it seems to confirm that the problem is coming from their plant(s).

      We have to complain to them when this happens! They tell me “no-one else has complained” when I call.

      I use at least 100lbs a year and will require a lot more, double or triple that, in order to detox some new clothing and bedding. I’m pretty sure as environmental concerns grow, and the toxic composition of regular products becomes more well known, that baking soda use will grow too. And no-one wants pre-contaminated bs!

      • Yep I just called and they said same thing “no one else has an issue” “maybe you should go see a dr and see if you developed allergies”. I also use over 100lbs a yr too.

        • They told you you might have an allergy to baking soda???
          Or to the fragrance contamination they are allowing?

          • LOL no idea really. I told her that I never had this issue before and that it’s new. She asked if I’d seen a dr recently. Then suggested I see one because maybe I developed some new allergies or something…basically inferring that there is been nothing changed and that if I have an issue that it’s because I developed some issue.

            • Sheesh… That is a really disturbing response… “Blame the Messenger” instead of accepting responsibility…

              Did you write down who said it and when?
              Maybe we need to start keeping really good track of their responses.

            • You know gals, lots of companies have been bitten in the backside by negative publicity and customer relations that have gone ‘viral’ on the web. As a blogger, Linda, you could start documenting in a matter of fact way who you’ve talked to, what their response was and how you were treated in that encounter. We may be exquisitely sensitive to fragrance, but based on Amazon reviews I’ve seen of some other Arm & Hammer products, we are not the only ones complaining of over-the-top fragrance. Please consider posting your encounter with them on Arm & Hammer’s Facebook page and/or following up in writing to someone who matters at the company. However, you might want to start exploring an alternate supplier of fragrance-free baking soda in the meantime (just bein’ a realist here). :0)

  11. VERY interesting article from 2011 about Natural Soda…

    This could explain why I am tasting and smelling something like diesel in their product (which includes Bob’s Red Mill)

    “the Bureau of Land Management is considering an application by Natural Soda for an oil shale research and development lease under which the company would test a method of heating and producing kerogen remaining in shale underground after the nahcolite has been removed.

    “We have some very smart people involved” in the oil shale project, said Brad Bunnett, Natural Soda’s president.”

    They might be working too close to the shale oil…

  12. Sigh… another interesting paragraph below… Explains what I and a few others have been smelling and tasting in their bs/sb…

    “Natural Soda, based in Rifle, Colo., … has been extracting nahcolite, or baking soda, mixed with oil shale in the Piceance Basin. Now it wants to try using superheated water combined with other substances to extract oil from kerogen.”

    The Bureau of Land Management approved oil shale research, development and demonstration 160-acre tract leases for Natural Soda Holdings Inc. and ExxonMobil Exploration Co. in the Piceance Basin in northwestern Colorado.

    I think the terms “food grade” and other grades that we ingest in any way need to be redefined…

  13. And all I wanted was some uncontaminated baking soda… I was NOT expecting to discover another completely idiotic and resource intensive way of extracting fossil fuels from the earth.

    Baking soda (no matter how it is produced) no longer seems to be such a benign earth friendly substance…

    “Natural Soda Holdings mines sodium bicarbonate by injecting hot water underground to dissolve the baking soda in a solution that is brought to the surface. Its research proposal calls for using this mining technique to remove the sodium bicarbonate found with the oil shale and then injecting a heater into the ground to unlock the liquid petroleum from the oil shale, according to BLM”…

  14. Wow! I can honestly say that I had no idea of how a simple thing like Baking Soda could be the difference from actually being able to live..and if that is gone..what do you do? I found this next article very interesting…maybe you could get a hold of the manager of the plant..and go from there? You might even find that they sell Baking Soda somewhere in Canada….Here is the article!! And I didn’t know that we had that MUCH TRONA ORE in the Green River Wyoming area!! But perhaps you will find a source directly from the plant? If you have found anything since then…please let me know.

    • Thank you so much Rebecca!

      I think I read this months ago, but have lost it in my brain fogs…
      I DO very much need to get back on the case of finding a tolerable bs/sb, so this is very timely, as I can refresh my knowledge to ask manufacturers smarter questions.

      I have discovered that they often don’t want to talk with retail customers who are looking for 50 – 200 lbs a year… They might speak with or actually listen to the concerns of those who purchase skids full (one supplier said 56 x 50lb bags per skid), but when so few of us complain, or try to put up with the contamination to the detriment of our own health, it doesn’t seem to impact their sales enough for them to bother doing anything about it.

      A few of us have tried to speak with the Arm and Hammer people this year, but to no avail.

      I need to contact Bulk Barn *again* (as they didn’t respond previously) to ask what their testing revealed (if they even did it).

      Natural Soda also didn’t return my last call. I was going to ask if they have been mining the trona from a different area since 2009, perhaps it’s from an area one with more shale oil or oil shale (I forget which way they say it).

      The Natrium product sample I received from Quadra Chemicals was in a plastic container and it all reeked of (got contaminated with) the plastic chemicals. I’d asked for them to use glass…

      So much work trying to find an uncontaminated (by petroleum/byproducts) version of something so basic…

  15. I live in Canada but I buy my baking soda from the USA, there is a company called Thrive here is the link They sell the baking soda in large tin cans, which you need a can opener to open. They come with an air-absorber in there to keep them fresh. This is the only baking soda I can use as it is scent free. My only complaint is the shipping cost, for 4 cans it cost $20 US to ship, but for me it is worth it as I cannot find baking soda in Canada that is of this grade.

    • Thanks Melinda.
      I LOVE the can idea! (as long as it’s not lined with BPA)
      I have to wonder about the “air-absorber” though.
      I looked at the website and it seems to be a multi-level marketing type organization where you have to buy from a consultant at a party or otherwise. I haven’t had good experiences with people trying to earn a living via this type of business…
      It’s also not clear who they get their baking soda from… They could be repackaging the A&H or Natural Soda products, which I have problems with (I am extremely sensitive to some things).
      Still, it might work for some people…

  16. I ended up signing up with them just because of the baking soda. They must think that I am a cook because I order so many large cans of their baking soda. Not sure what cans are lined with, you could always call the company or email them to aks, they are very helpful and friendly.

  17. I actually enjoy some of the fragrance, when it comes to using BS as a deodorizer. But the only Arm & Hammer BS which is truly fragrance-free, is the kind sold in the 12lb plastic bags at Sams Club, Walmart, Costco, etc. It is clearly their finest product, and is truly odorous–the way sodium bicarbonate is supposed to be. Here in the states, Walmart ships for free on all orders over $35–so at $7.57 each, I buy 5 bags at a time that last me several months. And at that price I am purchasing A & H’s finest sodium bicarbonate for only 63 cents/pound. It’s cheaper per pound if you buy the 4lb box (56 cents/pound) at Walmart–but less convenient, and ya, usually fragranced up. Hopefully Walmart Canada offers a similar online, free shipping deal.

    • Thanks bachelor,

      More of us might enjoy fragrances if they weren’t full of toxic chemicals and absorbed into things that are supposed to be fragrance-free, like baking soda!

      Quite a few people in the US reported that they too detected fragrance chemicals inside the 12lb bags. Some of us are plainly more affected by these chemicals just like some people have to avoid ALL contact with peanuts or gluten or suffer serious health effects.

      In Canada, we do not have access to the large boxes or any bags of A&H unless you get the commercial 50lb bags. I have no idea why.

  18. Hey Linda – did you ever figure a resolution to this problem?

    • No, I gave up. Too many obstacles.

      • That sucks. Can I ask what you use now to detoxify fabrics?

        • I can’t do anything now (good thing I live alone and am housebound).

          I don’t have the equipment (almost 6 years without a washing machine, or dryer, because i don’t have the assistance needed to aquire them) or vented space here for soaking and detoxing new clothes. I hand wash my few safe old things with filtered water, sometimes a wee bit of borax or food grade hydrogen peroxide, or a little bit of contaminated baking soda that gets very well rinsed out.

          I’m stuck between a few rocks and hard places due to systemic lack of access to non-toxic essentials. I also have really limited energy to do anything about it, as the obstacles are systemic and addressing life cycle issues and attitudes takes a lot of energy.

          If you need do-able ideas for detoxing laundry, this post has all kinds of suggestions (provided one has access to what is needed):

          • I’m sorry your situation is like this. It is not fair at all. Have you ever tried LDN? It seems to help some patients with sensitivities.

            • Thanks.
              No, I haven’t tried it although I do know people who have. I don’t do well with most ingredients in drugs, and also don’t have access to the health care system.

              I’m still alive, even though things are really challenging, and my life is very different than most people’s, but I am also grateful to have a chemically safer and affordable place to live now, which many people don’t.

              I’d be a lot more functional if I had access to other basics (and clean air every day), but we don’t live in that world yet.

              The discrimination is systemic, and it seems a lot more people are going to have to get hurt before this changes. Until it happens to them or their children, most people just aren’t interested. And once it does happen, there’s often little energy to change the world when survival becomes so difficult.

              Healthy advocates are needed.

            • There will be. This problem is not going to go away and in fact is spreading, so there will be. I was wondering why blankets I soaked in baking soda were smelling funky.

              I soaked them in water mixed with grapefruit seed extract and then washed with Ology fragrance-free detergent and made it more tolerable.

            • Hopefully you can get all the problematic residues out.

              A good way to test baking soda is to get maybe 1/8 cup (or more) and dump it into some warm filtered water and have a whiff when you stir it.

              I get clouds of fragrance fumes from 2nd and 3rd hand fragrance contamination, most is 3rd hand, I think… and from the stuff that originates from Natural Soda, (like Bob’s) what smells like a cloud of diesel fumes.

              Of course if the indoor air is full of fragrances and other VOCs, it won’t be very noticeable. And for most people who aren’t allergic to or immediately getting symptoms of being poisoned by synthetic substances and other fragrance ingredients, and who use baking soda for cleaning (as opposed to ingesting), it may not be much of an issue.

              However, I really don’t think it’s too much to ask that we be able to buy uncontaminated, fragrance-free products and materials.

  19. I am looking for uncontaminated baking soda too. I am also in canada (Ontario). Has anyone found anything okay yet?

    • I couldn’t find any distributors in the Ottawa area and the Toronto (chemical company) folks wanted to charge me as much for shipping as for the 50 lb bag, not doing samples…

      If you are in the Toronto area, you could contact Grain Process Enterprise. They supply many bulk stores, and also have a direct to public outlet (or did, many years ago).

      They alternated between manufacturers, so it could be a good way to sample product.

    • Have you tried this? I have ordered things from Vitacost and love them BUT I don’t have nearly the same sensitivity issues. I just thought maybe if it’s in a bag it would be better?

      Only 16 Oz packages though.

      • Sorry for the late comment release, it landed in the spam folder and I just found it.

        Cross border shopping is really expensive now with the exchange rate, shipping, duty (and weighty stuff like bicarb can be ridiculously expensive – someone was trying to ship me a bag of the A&H from Costco in the US – they don’t sell those in Canada – and the shipping was going to be ridiculously expensive, so the idea was abandoned).

        I also don’t remember if Frontier gets their bicarb from Natural Soda like Bob’s Red Mill, or if it was another issue I had with them early in my quest (and am too tired to read back through everything now), but I do remember I’ve had other cross contamination issues with Frontier, so I am doubtful their bicarb would be suitable for someone who is really sensitive.

  20. Oh how ???

    From e360 digest

    03 Jan 2017: Indian Industrial Plant
    Converts Captured CO2 Into Baking Soda

    The zero-emissions Tuticorin Chemicals plant near Chennai, India.
    A coal-fired industrial plant in southern India has begun successfully capturing CO2 emissions and converting them to baking soda. The project’s developers say the process, which will capture up to 60,000 tons of CO2 each year, is the world’s “first industrial-scale example of carbon capture and utilization,” according to The Guardian. It costs just $30 per ton to capture the CO2, compared to the $60-90 per ton price tag that came with previous carbon capture systems. The technology is installed at Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals near Chennai in southeast India. It uses a form of salt to bond with CO2 molecules exiting the plant’s boiler system. The plant then reuses the captured gas to make baking soda, also commonly known as soda ash, a chemical used in the manufacturing of a variety of other products, including glass, paper, and detergents.

  21. Hi Linda I’m too brain fogged today to read all the comments so I’m sorry if this is a repeat. I get reactions from paper box board ALL the time. I wonder if the fragrance soaked boxes from detergents are responsible once they are added to the recycling slurry. My egg cartons sometimes REEK of fragrance chemicals. My other concern is warehouses and supermarkets themselves, Do They spray for bugs? and if yes how are products protected? Transport trucks are sprayed pretty regularly too…. I would love to know if you have found a safe source as this has definitely been an issue for me too. And Arm and Hammer will certainly be hearing about it from me

    • The boxes (and egg cartons) are definitely 2nd and 3rd hand fragrance contaminated, as are the contents (and eggs – I can’t eat eggs unless I get them direct from a farmer and in new (or old) fragrance free cartons)…

      Plus, recycled paper – full of frags!

      And yes, pesticides are a problem too, especially when we’ve become sensitized…

      Baking soda (and food) should NOT be sold in boxes or packaging that doesn’t provide a VOC barrier!

      Better yet, the VOC containing products should never be allowed into the same space as food is grown, processed, and sold, ie frag and chem free supply chains…

      I did not manage to find a safe source, I got too knocked out for 2 1/2 years from pesticide drift and some dental work and related challenges.

      I don’t have enough energy to push everyone to be accountable when they don’t care. It’s easier to educate people who do care and still are well enough to go out and kick some ass…

  22. Pingback: 11 Reasons To Stop Using Fragrances and Implement Fragrance-free Policies | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  23. I have bought bs from simply clean…
    comes is a lined paper bag inside a box… not sure where they get it.. I am using it for cleaning and since my house has fragrance anyway…the best I can hope for is the bs has less then the smells I am trying to get rid of.

  24. From Melinda above there is no baking soda I can find at the link she posted called Thrive.
    Have you found some other product yet or clean bs?

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