Boka Ela Mint Floss

overall rating:

1

planets

Julia Martin
8/4/2021
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Boka started as a mouth and teeth care subscription service and since 2016 has sold a line of toothbrushes, toothpastes, and floss on their online store. Boka acknowledges society’s tendency to care deeply out what chemicals are present in food and skincare products while neglecting to care about what their oral hygiene products contain and aims to change that narrative. They emphasize the importance of oral health as an indicator of serious health problems and design their products with health in mind. Boka cares about putting as few ingredients in their products as possible in order to simplify dental care products from the long lists of chemicals that many companies add to their products. This floss is a great choice for consumers compared to others on the market but Boka still has a long way to go in improving transparency of their supply chain and working conditions.

What it's made of:

2.5

Boka floss distinguishes itself from other floss on the market because it is made from natural vegetable wax and is free of both teflon and petroleum. This ingredient makeup not only makes the floss more sustainable because it does not rely on petroleum which is a very non-renewable material, but it also much safer for users from a health standpoint. Teflon has a very low coefficient of friction which means it is a very slippery material and is well known as a coating for non-stick pans. Teflon works well as a coating for dental floss because it allows the floss to glide smoothly in between teeth and gums, but its chemical makeup poses a risk to consumers. Brands like Oral-B Glide floss use teflon to coat their floss and recent studies on consumers who use Glide floss show that teflon can make its way into the bloodstream and pose a risk for hormone imbalance, kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, and autoimmune disease. Instead of putting its consumers in danger, Boka makes their floss from vegetable wax which is sourced from the leaves of carnauba palm trees. Even though Boka floss is a cut above the rest, it is not advertised as being biodegradable which could bring it’s sustainability to the next level. Another idea would be putting the floss in plant-based compostable materials instead of the plastic it’s currently sold in. Humans go through millions of yards of floss, and selling a fully biodegradable option would improve the overall life cycle of floss. 

How it's made:

0

Unfortunately, Boka reveals very little information about their manufacturing process and the supply chain of their floss. The process likely includes harvesting the wax, shipping it to a processing plant or factory, manufacturing it by twisting pieces of wax together to form long chains, and putting into containers. Overall, the process is relatively simple and probably does not require exorbitant amounts of energy and resources, but it is impossible to know for sure since Boka does not publish any information on this topic.

Who makes it:

0.75

Although they do not specify, the vegetable wax Boka uses likely comes from carnauba trees in Brazil. Workers harvesting wax from the trees are known to have very poor working conditions like making very little money, not having enough breaks, and being forced to start working when they are very young. On top of that, the harvesting work is very labor intensive and the trees grow in hot regions where the workers may not have steady access to water. It is not confirmed that Boka sources their wax from such conditions, but based on trends in the vegetable wax industry it is likely that they do. I encourage Boka to publish more information about how their wax is sourced and switch suppliers if the laborers do indeed have poor conditions.

Boka does show a promising social commitment through their partnership with Surge, a non-profit organization that works to provide people with clean water and toilets in Haiti, Uganda, The Philippines, and The Dominican Republic. Because Surge is a program focused on hygiene and sanitation, Boka donates a toothbrush to Surge for every toothbrush they sell. It is encouraging to see this partnership from Boka, but I would also like to see ways they are ensuring wellbeing for their own employees.