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We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Watchout for fake organic cosmetics

As published over at Organic Consumers Association

"The Worst Fake "Organic" Cosmetic Brands Revealed: OCA Spreadsheet Summarizes "Organic Cheater Brand" Personal Care Product Hazard

The OCA has prepared a spreadsheet summarizing "Organic Cheater brand" products and their Hazard Rankings according to the Environmental Working Group's "Skin Deep" Cosmetic Safety Database. The tabs at the top of the spreadsheet list various brands horizontally: click each tab to view that brand's product scores from the Skin Deep" database. By far the majority of fake organic products score in the "Moderate Hazard" category. Conversely, Dr. Bronner's Skin Deep product scores show that the vast majority of true NOP certified organic personal care score in the safest "Low Hazard" category. A couple of brands, Jason "Pure, Natural & Organic" and Nature's Gate "Organics", even had some of their fake organic products score in the unsafest "High Hazard" category.

Perhaps even more disturbing, two of the "organic cheater" brands who are the subject of OCA's Complaint to USDA NOP, have reneged on their signed promise to provide product and ingredient information to Skin Deep so that their products' safety can be assessed. Those brands are Eminence "Organic" Skin Care and Head "Organics". Another two brands, while they have not reneged on any promises, have also decided to not submit product and ingredient information to Skin Deep: Ilike "Organic" Skin Care and Surya Sapien "Organic". As noted in the Complaint, all these brands utilize surfactants made in part or entirely from petrochemicals as primary cleansing ingredients, which contain no organic agricultural material whatsoever. Eminence in particular deceptively claims that Alpha Olefin Sulfonate, the primary cleanser in its "Organic Stone Crop Bodywash", is from a "plant source," when in fact this cleanser is commercially available only in pure petrochemical form.

Both Nature's Gate and Eminence do produce a few true USDA NOP certified organic products under their respective brands. However, the vast majority of their product lines are not certified under the USDA's National Organic Program, because their main cleansing and moisturizing ingredients are generally based on conventional or petrochemical, rather than organic agricultural, material. As a general rule when shopping for organic personal care, check for the USDA seal to be sure you're buying true organic personal care rather than fake organic products.

View The Spreadsheet"


Plum said...

Hi All, the statement from ilike organic skin care on this complaint about the use of teh word "organic" is posted here: http://www.szepelet.com/inthenews/53

C Robb said...

Interesting points to be found at the link and I hope many of my readers check it out. I do believe that a firm definition of the word "organic" is necessary with a vigorous adherence to the standard. I understand that the procedure to get certified is expensive but I think it is the best bet. I definitely believe that the use of the word on personal care products should be just as stringently regulated as it's use in the food business. I also take your point about the different international standards. It would be good to see the US catch up particularly in the use of the word "natura" but also in strengthening the standard for "organic".

Anonymous said...

Szep Elet strongly supports movement toward clearer AND more universal standards for qualification and communication of what is and is not "organic". The clarity and understanding of, adherence to and compliance with standards in the U.S. has been lacking. Furthermore, there has been little progress toward universally understood and accepted ... See Morestandards or requirements that cross international boundaries.
No one from the OCA or other parties behind the complaint has ever contacted Szep Elet for information. And the portion of the complaint which covers ilike organic skin care products totals only 2 short paragraphs yet includes statements such as "...few if any of the ingredients are actually organic."
While the U.S. is a very important market for ilike organic skin care, our products are distributed in 41 other countries around the world (under the Ilcsi organic skin care brand in all countries outside of N. America). Several years ago it was decided that our products would be certified through the widely recognized and respected German based certifier BDIH.

C Robb said...

Thanks for the reminder that there are other more rigorous certification standards. The EU seems to be way ahead of the US when it comes to dependable food regulation. I'm unsure about the dependablility of "organic" certification of skin care products. What's the situation in the UK?

Anonymous said...

Eminence is a fake company. It's not made in Hungary, it's made in Richmond B.C. by a company called Vitelle Labs. They use numerous preservatives and non-organic ingredients. If their ingredients were ever tested to compare against the ingredient list, they would be busted.

C Robb said...

Thanks for the followup info.