Friday, May 10, 2013

Toxins in Children's Products

It is deeply troubling to us that there are thousands of health food stores, specialty children's shops and so many other retailers that offer products for children that are toxic. One simply has to walk down the personal care aisles of any store and randomly pick up a personal care product and one will see synthetic ingredients. It is well-known in the business world that there is no legal definition of the word "natural." Armed with this knowledge, predatory manufacturers and greedy, unethical retailers peddle their chemical products using the word natural because they have found that there are no repercussions for them, rather, if they cheat you, they realize huge monetary rewards.  Most people have no idea that the government has, strangely, refused to cite, indict or fine any manufacturers or retailers for misrepresenting chemical ingredients and largely synthetic chemical personal care products as "organic" or "natural."

It is especially bizarre that, even with much notable identification of such labeling fraud and:
  • USDA federal regulations defining the word "organic" and the legal and illegal use of the word organic on product labels and in marketing/promotional materials
  • FDA policy statement that requires personal care product companies "must comply with USDA regulations for the organic claim" if they refer to or imply that their products are organic via product labeling
  • Lanham Act—under FTC purview—a federal law designed to protect consumers and businesses from false advertising and unfair competition
...neither the USDA, the FDA or the FTC has made any effort to protect consumers from widespread fake natural and phony organic personal care product labeling claims since the National Organic Program law was passed in 2002. 

Here are links to the USDA National Organic Program's Organic Labeling web site page, a link to the FDA organic cosmetics policy page and a link to learn about the Lanham Act:

It is truly outrageous that, despite the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) law being in place for so many years and numerous consumer complaints filed, there are hundreds of companies using "organic" or "organics" in their company names and claiming that thousands of unnatural and non-organic personal care products are organic and natural (!) when the majority of such products are not very different from conventional mass market, industrial chemical products.

As a USDA certified organic business that has invested significant resources over the past twenty years to earn our USDA organic certification, we are particularly disturbed that the so-called "healthy" stores do not support the USDA National Organic Program in their personal care aisles. How do we know this? Since 1997 we have contacted nearly two thousand retailers via telephone, trade shows, direct mail, email and many personal visits to try to speak with them about our USDA certified organic products. We were, frankly, stunned by the utter lack of knowledge about and disinterest in learning about the Organic Program and organic labeling rules by the owners and staff of the health food stores. After all, these are the very people who portray themselves to the public as experts in the areas of environmentalism, healthy living, and green, earth friendly practices! How do you feel about this?

The saddest part about all of this for us is that pregnant women and nursing mothers are using all manner of chemical products -- rubbing toxic chemicals into their bodies and into the bodies of their children, in the womb and newborn infants.

So do remember that we have a beautiful line of body care products for children, and that every one of our baby products has USDA organic certification. Of course we also have a wide range of certified organic products for the whole family!  If you haven't yet done so, please do look over our organic baby product offerings now and be sure to share our web site with your friends and family.

Are you a parent, a protective aunt or uncle, or a doting grandmother?  If you are and you care about the children in your life, you should take a few minutes to look over this recent, important and surprising report about toxins in children's products.

UPDATE: As of September 20, 2016, there has been no change in enforcement activity of fraudulently labeled "organic" personal care products. However, there is a joint USDA National Organic Program and Federal Trade Commission Roundtable discussion event to be held on October 20, 2016  in Washington DC purportedly to "examine" the consumer's perception of "organic" labeling in the personal care marketplace. Please click through on the following important link, read, send the FTC your comments, and share!

This article was originally published May 10, 2013.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

How Toxic Chemicals Get Into The Plants—A Great Visual Demonstration

The photo above depicts an intriguing experiment reported by Sleuth Journal that shows, via chemical dyes in water, how plants absorb chemicals into their cellular matrix in a short period of time. This experiment also demonstrates why toxic chemicals applied to plants (and to the soil plants are growing in) cannot be washed off—the chemicals are inside the plant!

This visual demonstration clearly shows why "natural" personal care products are not a good choice. Agricultural petrochemicals and genetically-modified—pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, defoliators, growth regulators, fertilizers, etc.applied to plants themselves or into the soil are taken up into the plant—leaves, seeds/oils, roots, bark and flowers—and cannot be washed away. In fact, many toxic chemicals applied to plants are attracted to oil (this oil to oil attraction is called lipophilic) and this means that toxic chemicals will be attracted to and concentrated in the oil fractions of the plant—seed oils and even essential oils.  

You may be surprised to learn that, in the USA and other countries, there is no legal definition of the word "natural." Without any laws governing the use of the word "natural," many personal care companies use the word with no regard to an educated consumer's perception of the word or even to the dictionary definition. Too many personal care product manufacturers use the word "natural" to describe very unnatural products laden with conventional industrial cosmetic chemicals, toxic fragrances and preservatives, etc.

So, with the chemical-intensive growing, harvesting and processing of "natural" oils and other plant materials, the conventionally-grown and chemically-processed materials do not have the purity or the vitality levels of certified organic botanical ingredients. "Natural" personal care products made from conventionally-grown and industrially-processed botanicals and oils will certainly contain residues of agriculture chemicals and also residues of toxic by-products resulting from chemical processing of ingredients.

In contrast to the loosey-goosey applications of the word "natural," there is a very explicit definition of the word organic in the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) federal regulations. What constitutes a true certified organic product? In summary, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations prohibit the application of toxic petrochemicals in agricultural growing and harvesting practices and also prohibit the use of toxic petrochemicals and irradiation in the processing of certified organic ingredients. For example, common industrial personal care chemicals such as petrochemical or synthetic biological and GMO fragrances, flavors and preservatives, oxide colors and dyes and sunscreen pigments, chemically-reacted emulsifying waxes, detergents and fatty acids, petrochemical acrylics or synthetic biological protein polymers, thickeners, etc., are all prohibited under the USDA NOP organic regulations.

For those seeking pure personal care products to cleanse their bodies and hair and to nourish their skin, your best choice for personal care products is to use only those products made by the few ethical companies that have earned the third-party verified, USDA National Organic Program organic certification. It is important to note that personal care product companies that are certified to our USDA federal organic regulations are subject to annual and surprise inspections of their facilities and third-party verification by USDA-accredited organic certifying agents of all of the company's invoices, purchase orders, production logs, maintenance logs, product labels, all marketing materials and much more to ensure compliance with the organic rules. Organic certification is a time-consuming, expensive and invasive endeavor for a company to voluntarily submit to, but, in the end, how else can we assure you that the personal care product that you purchase is truly organic?

For the finest quality in personal care products, choose USDA organic certified products as the USDA National Organic Program regulations are the highest and most strict organic standards in the world. 

(Check out Sleuth Journal's entire eye-opening "That Really Happens? The Truth About Trying To Wash Pesticides Off Produce" article.)