By Steve Graham, Hometalk
To get serious about having a vegan home, you must look beyond the pantry and the wardrobe. A large number of home improvement products contain animal ingredients. Unfortunately, it is hard to identify all of these animal byproducts because most home improvement products are not required to list ingredients.
To avoid animal ingredients, consult the Vegan Society’s Animal Free Shopper directory or look for the “no animal ingredients” label. However, note that there is no independent verification of the “no animal ingredients” label. It may mean different things to different manufacturers, and it does not guarantee an avoidance of animal testing.
Here is a partial list of products that may contain animal ingredients. In many cases, synthetic ingredients or petroleum products have largely replaced the animal ingredients, but these substitutes may be a greater concern for some eco-conscious homeowners.
Many hammers, axes, knives and other carpentry tools still have real leather handles. Even if every hammer and knife you own has a 100-percent plastic handle, tool belt and tool aprons are most often made of leather. Some people also have secondary environmental concerns about the chemicals used in leather tanning and production, and the resulting pollution.
Rubber tool parts may also contain animal ingredients, including animal fats and casein, a milk protein derivative.
Casein also is a common binder in paint. It is widely used in natural paints as an alternative to synthetic binders. Some paint colors also include animal ingredients. For example, Golden Paints notes that it uses no animal ingredients, with the exception of bone black pigment, which is derived from ground cattle bones.
Also, many paints and paint ingredients are tested on animals. Even Golden and other companies that avoid animal testing say they cannot guarantee all their suppliers avoid animal testing.
Natural paint brushes have animal-hair bristles. Many are pig hair, but some artists’ brushes and other specialty products contain hair from more unusual animals such as the Siberian weasel.