5 Takeaways From The Documentary Stink!

The documentary Stink! will pull at your heartstrings while simultaneously stirring up feelings of anger + honestly, some fear. Stink! follows Jon Whelan, a father of two girls, who’s on a mission to discover the source of an odd odor in a pair of Justice [who remembers the days of shopping there ; )] pajamas he bought his daughters for Christmas. The discovery leads to a story about advocating for a choice in the products + chemicals we consume.

While we don’t want to spoil the whole documentary, we thought it was important to share these 5 takeaways —

Stink! begins by emphasizing the common myth that someone is checking the products we consume before they’re being sold, to guarantee they don’t contain harmful chemicals. It brings to light that this is simply not the case [but stay tuned!]. The FDA does not have the authority to require companies to disclose what chemicals they put in products.

Companies are protected by trade secrets which are considered proprietary [owned by the company]. Due to this, a consumer cannot be informed about certain details about products because the “secret” would be revealed.

Trade secrets usually consist of the chemicals + ingredients which make up two major parts of products — fragrance ++ flavor. So when you read the list of ingredients in your deodorant or perfume + see the word fragrance, that word is a placeholder for potentially hundreds of chemicals. We don’t know about you, but we found that alarming!

Since we don’t know all of the chemicals which are being pumped into our bodies, we could be harming ourselves without even knowing [+ unfortunately, we most likely already are]. After sending the pajamas to a lab, Whelan discovered there were endocrine disrupting chemicals [read more about them here] + flame retardant chemicals in them.

These chemicals can be incredibly detrimental to our health + we don’t even know they’re in our products! Endocrine disrupting chemicals have the ability to mutate our genes. So as Whelan states, they are genetically modifying our bodies. Not only do they impact us, they also impact babies who are still in the womb. The chemicals a pregnant mother encounters, transfer to her baby. That means all of us were probably born with a large number of chemicals already in our bodies.

Compared to other countries, US restrictions regarding the safety of products are poor. Therefore, foreign countries who have business relations with the US know its standards for safety aren’t as high as others. Therefore, we are given products which pose a larger health risk. Unfortunately, this is leading to America becoming a dumping ground for more harmful products other countries don’t want.

The documentary was made in 2015 when the Toxic Substances Control Act [TSCA] was still unreformed. Fortunately, in 2016, President Obama signed the Lautenberg Act which brought great changes to the TSCA [which hadn’t been modified since 1976!]. This act requires products to be cleared by the Environmental Protection Agency before going on the market. It also imposes stricter guidelines for trade secrets such as time limits. The Environmental Defense Fund put together this handy chart, enabling us to easily see the differences this act makes.

Aka — products used to be able to enter the market without being tested for harmful ingredients, but now protections have been put in place which greater increase consumer safety!

We believe one of the most important takeaways from the film is advocating for freedom of choice. Everyone in the documentary urging for the disclosure of information was only asking for that — information! They wanted consumers to possess the ability to be informed about what ingredients they are putting on + into their body. The lesson we can learn from them, is to fight for what we believe is just. We deserve the right to information which is necessary for us to make an informed decision about the products we use daily.


Overall, Stink! takes you through an eye-opening experience. Although some reforms have been made, it’s still extremely important to be aware of the ingredients you’re consuming. Keep in mind, trade secrets still exist so we still don’t have all the info. We fully support all natural products + brands who are transparent about their ingredients [check out these posts for natural deodorant + chapstick brands for example]! In the end, we want you to be the healthiest + happiest woman you can be : )

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the documentary ++ any natural brands you love in the comments!

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