Confused about what is “natural” and what is “organic?” You’re not alone.
Recent reports have shown that the lack of regulations in the natural cosmetics and skin care industry causes great confusion for consumers, and can be downright misleading. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) in Washington, D.C. issued a report indicating that of the 10,500 ingredients used in natural- and organic-labeled items, only 11 percent had been tested and approved by the FDA.
Did you know that a product can be labeled organic, even if it contains only one organic ingredient? Did you also know that many of the other ingredients in a given “organic” or “natural” product may actually be hazardous to your health – even carcinogenic?
Claims written on the labels of many cosmetics and body care products are not currently backed up by any federal agency in the same way that organic food products are backed by the USDA. Words like “noncomedogenic” on a bottle of lotion simply mean to the industry that the product doesn’t cause pimples. Unfortunately, there is no standard to actually back up that statement.
Studies have shown that ingredients in fragrance oils can include 30 to 40 chemicals and dangerous phthalates which may interfere with the development of male reproductive organs. If a company uses the term “Fragrance-free,” it simply means that they have not added any fragrance to make the product smell like something else. But, believe it or not, that rule doesn’t count if a fragrance has been added to the product to counteract the natural smell of the actual ingredients. Again, the consumer remains uninformed.
The EWG’s Skin Deep Report analyzed the ingredients of thousands of products and identified those that contained possible carcinogens and ingredients of concern. Repeatedly, the Skin Deep report lists coal tar and lead acetate, often found in dark colors of hair dye; phthalates and plasticizers, which interfere with reproductive organs; paraben chemical preservatives and sodium laurel/laureth sulphate, which may be carcinogenic and are found in everything from shampoos to shaving cream; formaldehyde, present in nail polishes, and silica, often present in toothpaste and face powders.
Recently, a variety of popular brands, purporting to contain “organic” and “natural” ingredients were analyzed by the EWG and given Hazard Level scores for their products. Here is a spreadsheet detailing the findings. Brands are listed across the top of the page. Click on the manufacturer’s name tab to see how their products ranked. http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AmQUe_l_s2kvdGlsZmZZY2VGOV83dkhUb1ZGUWlpMVE&gid=3
So what can you do to protect yourself and your family? Be informed. And be vigilant about reading product labels, and checking out the ingredients. The hazard level and related studies of virtually any chemical ingredient can be checked on the EWG’s site at: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/
At Valley Green Naturals, we strive to produce personal care products that are safe for ourselves, our families, and the environment. We recommend ordering our custom-blended products with pure essential oils, but we also offer phthalate-free fragrance oils for customers who desire a wider choice of fragrances. Our lotions, creams and shampoos are paraben-free and contain cold-pressed and certified organic oils. We research every ingredient that we use in our products, and each one (never rating higher than a Level 0 or 1) is listed on our product labels. At Valley Green Naturals, we will call a product “organic” only when we can back it up with our supplier’s USDA National Organic Program (NOP) Certification.
And best of all, we love answering questions and educating our customers! Drop us a line to ask questions about our products or ingredients anytime – or just to say hello!
We love hearing from you!
To your natural good health,
Cindy, Art, Mary & Doug
The Team at Valley Green Naturals, LLC