Dia de los Muertos3The so called “Safe Cosmetics Act” has been rolled out again, with even more attendant shock and awe PR from the misguided zealots at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics using misinformation on  Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.  If one were to rate the importance of this bill . . . what with a fragile economy in slow recovery, an unemployment rate stuck at over 9%, entire states in disarray (WI) or in near-complete shutdown (MN),  so many environmental catastrophes (Exxon-Mobil/Yellowstone River Spill) or near catastrophes (Las Alamos National Laboratory Site Fire), (Nebraska Nuclear Power Plant Missouri River Flood) . . . it logically would be of low priority. To me, there appears to be so much more urgency to address myriad larger problems facing the Nation, I sometimes feel like Atlas with that giant granite weight crushing any hope that used to glimmer that our elected leaders are going to stop their partisan bickering and get on with the business of governing and helping remedy the continuing effects of a massive economic recession.  I put the importance of HR 2359 at about a –minus –minus –minus ridiculous number.  I don’t know about you, but I would much prefer our lawmakers to be focusing their time and efforts on some of these macro issues desperately in need of their attention.  You know, like making sure our kids can go to school 5 days a week instead of the 3 or 4 now having to be imposed because of necessary budget cuts in many states.  Hello!  That’s surely going to help regain academic status in the world, isn’t it, and perhaps not possibly lose an entire generation to ignorance?  And you can be damned sure my colleagues and I have more important things to do than weed through a poorly written bill, obviously crafted by those with little or no knowledge in the multiple scientific disciplines necessary to understand the minutia of cosmetic formulation, and especially pertaining to essential oils and natural plant extracts – the very ingredients consumers most want in their natural personal care products.

Samara Botane/Nature Intelligence opposes Safe Cosmetic Act 2011 (HR 2359).  

As much as I and many other colleagues in the personal care, spa, herbal, natural perfume and aromatherapy industries may wish it weren’t so, we are once again faced with having to raise our small voices to defend the integrity of our professional pursuits to bring safe, effective personal care products into the marketplace . . . to avoid unnecessary, sometimes impossible regulations that are not going to make cosmetics any safer than they are now and only raise consumer prices because of the additional money, time and effort to comply.  

Never mind that, when this bill was first introduced in 2010,  we have previously pointed out that lead has not purposefully been added to lipstick by unscrupulous manufacturers gleefully twirling their mustaches, and that it naturally occurs as an element of the Earth’s surface and is in EVERYTHING in microscopic amounts, especially natural botanical ingredients.  It is in your water.  How many times must one state a FACT before it is understood and accepted?  This is still one of CFSC’s major talking points.  It has grown to epic proportions and wends its way into many lists of toxins to avoid, such as Green America’s 9 Toxins to Avoid in Personal Care Products, a document not referenced nor annotated with any scientific substantiation.  Those inclined to do more research on this matter would quickly find “Easily Led” a comprehensive thorough investigation of the claim (now urban legend), ending with the caveat, “The bottom line is that U.S. medical literature has yet to record a single case of anyone’s coming down with lead poisoning through lipstick use.” Of course, the CFSC has  trotted out “Lead in Lipstick” in an attempt to overstate the danger  in a desperate, somewhat hysterical hue and cry that microscopic levels of lead in lipstick at the highest tested 0.00000306 are of sufficient danger to browbeat our legislative representatives once again to put forth a bill that will never make its way through the process to become law, as it is now written.  All of this frenzied PR hype (rolled out by CFSC before the bill was even publicly announced) cannot counter “A Perspective on the Safety of Cosmetic Products: A Position Paper of The American Council on Science and Health”.   Nor can it counter the response from the Personal Care Products Council in 2010, nor their current response.  If you’d like pleasantly-presented, factual, scientific based information on cosmetic safety, PCPC has produced this series of short videos for the consumer. You can search this site for a specific ingredient or browse by product category. If you are looking for an easily-searched, more scientific database, try Toxipedia, where you will find no alarming leading questions like “Are you sure about your lotion?” or untrue statements like “Most sunscreens aren’t safe.” such as are found on EWG’s Skin Deep.  You will also not be subjected to a ineffective numerical rating system for product hazard, just scientific research and facts, no opinion . . . how refreshing.

Never mind that we have carefully critiqued and debunked Annie Leonard’s cleverly crafted propaganda video “The Story of Cosmetics” as the supreme shock and awe scare tactic hype it is.  Oh, but it’s cute, and cute appears to trump rational fact and common sense these days.  The sad thing is that the frenzied imagery of a masked assembly line worker purposefully inserting poison (international skull and cross bones = SCARY) into a cosmetic container, followed by the same skull and crossbones ruthlessly stamped on a baby (even more SCARY) in the bathtub does not seem to invigorate the critical thinking necessary to separate fact from overblown fiction.  And, this fictional video seems to incite, rather than inform those not capable of critically assessing information by comparing with credible reference and countering  professional opinion. How sad.

Examine the current FDA Authority Over Cosmetics and you will see it is comprehensive.  It is true that there are issues of concern to be addressed.  I believe the FDA will continue to do due diligence to insure the safety of cosmetic products.  I believe that the industry will be more than willing to assist this effort and comply with reasonable regulations.  HR 2359 is not the answer.  At this time when we have so many stressful  problems facing us, let us focus on what is urgent and necessary.

Please join me in opposing HR 2359 by signing the petition.

 

Photo:Courtesy
Mother Nature will tell stories at the Omni Center's "World Peace Wetland Prairie Earthday Celebration" Sunday, April 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the World Peace Wetland Prairie at 11th and S. Duncan in Fayetteville.My reflection on Earth Day last year wasn’t very rosy.  I’m not sure I have great news now that another one has rolled around.  This year, with the passing of Representative Paul Ryan’s 2012 Republican Budget Plan in the House of Representatives, clearly that side of the aisle is bent on slowing any progress towards addressing the coming calamity of climate change and protecting the environment. The bill includes a huge cut ($1.6 billion) in the Environmental Protection Agency budget and hits the Energy Department hard with harsh cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and doesn’t touch the approximate $4 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies – the most profitable companies in the world.  I think this is wrong-headed. 

Rather than wallow in my disappointment thereby contributing to your own consternation that we are still slipping backwards on important environmental issues, I feel it’s more important to share a few positive ideas and actions.

earth_day_WA DCEarth Day Network has a plethora of activities, videos, campaigns and important information throughout the year. 

If you are in New York City, you might want to check out some of the events hosted by New York University during NYUEarthWeek from April 11 through April 28.  This Sunday, the fabulous Vandana Shiva will be featured at a luncheon. 

Kaboose has a wide range of activities for kids to keep them busy and exposed to environmental issues.

If you are a teacher, EdHelper provides a variety of printable Earth Day puzzles and activities.

And, how about a view of Earth courtesy of NASA.

Wherever you are, I hope that you are enjoying the gifts of Mother Earth and paying forward by stewardship.  Happy Earth Day!

 

We_the_People Sometimes you might feel put off, or even insecure, to speak up when you think something isn’t quite right and should be changed.  There are those who insist in a “representative” democracy that you should simply vote for your representatives in Congress and your state legislature and leave it to them to make the right decisions.  It is easy to think that you are just one person, one small voice and you can’t possibly make a difference.  Plus, just who has the time to get involved these days?  Who can compete with all those corporate lobbyists who have such great access and influence when it comes to lawmaking?  What about those powerful NGO’s and well-funded Interest Groups?  Sometimes, even advocating for a stop sign in your neighborhood can bring stressful opposition from your neighbors.  And, trying to agree with one another can certainly be difficult.  Avoidance  might often seem the better choice.

I hope you don’t think so.

Let’s first define the difference between advocacy and lobbying as often they are confused. Advocacy is the act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause or policy.  Lobbying activities are aimed at influencing members of a legislative body on legislation. 

Recently, an unprecedented landmark Supreme Court decision, called “Citizens United”,  unleashed unlimited corporate money that can now be donated to political campaigns.  This means that good ideas that come from the people, from the grass roots, can be challenged even more greatly than they already are by the guys with the big bucks.  Constitutional scholars and policy wonks will be discussing this decision for decades.  And, there is already an effort brewing in Congress to pass laws that will rescind this imbalance of power in our democracy, which could potentially destroy it. 

Capitol_Poppies This SCOTUS decision is perhaps the most important reason to get involved with issues that will affect you and your business colleagues, and hopefully it is a wake up call.   It is my opinion that getting involved is not only a right, but a responsibility. If we believe in the value of our democracy, it is up to us to participate vigorously to insure it exists for our children and grandchildren. Here are a few “pep talks” that will hopefully stir you off the sideline.

1.  One person can make a difference.  Asking an elected official for support can produce results that serve the public and bring awareness of the issues like those of small business to more people.  A single advocate – a respected individual in the community – has been able to bring together like-minded people to convince a key member of Congress to change or eliminate language in a bill if he/she is convinced of the adverse consequences.

2.  Advocacy is essential to our democratic form of government.  The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to petition the government – the simple act of informing our policy makers about important public issues.  Without advocacy, our issues simply will not be considered.

3.  Lobbying is easy.  There is nothing mysterious about lobbying.  At its heart, lobbying is the simple act of telling a story and being persuasive.  An advocate can make an important difference in a legislator’s position on an issue or pending bill by explaining through personal experience the importance of your cause to the affected community.

4.  Policy makers need your expertise.  Legislators depend on solid information to help make their decisions, and they want to hear from the people they represent.  Becoming a reliable source of information for your legislators will carry weight in their decision-making, especially if you, the advocate, are the expert on the issue.

Those of us who are Indie Beauty Network members are fortunate to have Donna Maria Coles Johnson at the forefront of issues facing small personal care products businesses.  She is drawing terrific leadership from within her membership and organizing a cohesive message for greater impact.  Currently, we are working to oppose H.R. 5786 Safe Cosmetics Act 2010, which, we believe, will have grave consequences for not only personal care products manufacturers, but others who use manufacturing ingredients such as essential oils in an alternative practice.  You can read the petition statement and sign the Oppose The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 petition.

Thanks for listening.

Marcia

 

Samara Botane Products You may think if you are a natural perfumer,  aromatherapist, massage therapist, or other alternative practitioner using essential oils or other raw botanical extracts or materials in your practice, craft or art,  that this bill will not directly affect you. At least you don’t think so.  However, you could be dead wrong.  If you are not a licensed doctor (M.D. or D.O. have the broadest authority) who can legally write a prescription, then you may be at risk under H.R. 5786 if you make essential oil blends or synergies for your clients or natural perfumes sold to clients (the general public). Thus far, essential oils have not been legally designated as either prescription or over-the-counter drugs.  The definition most used is, “A volatile oil, usually having the characteristic odor or flavor of the plant from which it is obtained, used to make perfumes and flavorings.”  In other words, they are manufacturing ingredients.

In H.R. 5786 (subchapter B), the definition of ‘ingredient’ reads:

“The term ‘ingredient’ means a chemical in a cosmetic, including – -
(A)  chemicals that provide a technical or functional effect;
(B)  chemicals that have no technical or functional effect in the cosmetic but are present by reason of having been added to a cosmetic during the processing of such cosmetic;
(C)  processing aids that are present by reason of having been added to a cosmetic during the processing of such cosmetics;
(D)  substances that are present by reason of having been added to a cosmetic during processing for their technical or functional effect;
(E)  contaminants present at levels above technically feasible detection limits;
(F)  contaminants that may leach from container materials or form via reactions over the shelf life of a cosmetic and that may be present at levels above technically feasible detection limits;
(G)  the components of a fragrance, flavor, or preservative declared individually by their appropriate label names; and
(H)  any individual components of a botanical, petroleum-derived, animal-derived, or other ingredient that the Secretary determines to be considered an ingredient. 

It is probably worth your while to ponder these definitions and take in their full impact.

Here in Washington state, the definition of ‘manufacturing’ in the state revenue code (RCW) reads:

"Manufacturer" means every person who, either directly or by contracting with others for the necessary labor or mechanical services, manufactures for sale or for commercial or industrial use from his or her own materials or ingredients any articles, substances or commodities.” (RCW 82.04.110)

"To manufacture" embraces all activities of a commercial or industrial nature where labor or skill is applied, by hand or machinery, to materials so that as a result thereof a new, different or useful substance or article of tangible personal property is produced for sale or commercial or industrial use . . . “

As you can see, this definition applies to the individual ‘person’, whether they are registered or incorporated as a business or not.  We can find similar manufacturing legislation in every state of the Union.  There is no exemption for individual practitioners, as many would define themselves.

I urge all my customers and clients, whether large corporations, small businesses or individuals to become more aware of the growing legislative efforts across the world that may affect the use of essential oils.  Please join the other 3,593 (and growing) signers in the advocacy efforts to oppose H.R. 5786 and make a point to stay abreast similar legislative issues.  

Thanks for listening,

Marcia

 

titanic_245x257

This morning, while juggling the usual busy-ness of business, I took time see what I could add to the important effort being put forth by the indie personal care products industry to try to avert the potential disaster known as the H.R. 5786 Safe Cosmetics Act 2010, aggressively, if misguidedly, championed by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and others. I read the latest earnest and heartfelt blog posts from my colleagues, knowing that they too could be spending their time more productively and enjoyably than having to deal with this nonsense.  And, it is non-sense in the strictest definition, when you peel the layers to examine in more detail.  To bring you up to date with what my fellow indies are saying, this succinct recap with a sampling of quotes and links to indie opinions on Essential U will be helpful to get you up to speed if you are not already familiar with the Opposition to this flawed bill  that could result in grave unintended consequences for the indie personal care products community.

I was pleased to see that Annie Leonard’s (CFSC’s latest partner in fear mongering) disgraceful  Story of Cosmetics was outstandingly critiqued by Lee Doren, author of How the World Works, a 2009 IPPY award winning book.  How Annie can continue to drink the CFSC Kool-Aid is really amazing after this scathing well researched and factually accurate indictment.

I then girded my loins to  read the latest propaganda on Campaign for Safe Cosmetics itself,  knowing that I would find either delusion or untruth, and most probably both.  I wasn’t disappointed. So filled with vagaries, blatant spin and misstatement, where do I start?  The latest missile on the CFSC website is entitled, The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010: What It Means for Cosmetics Companies. It is, no doubt, their attempt to challenge those of  us opposing the SCA.

Under the sub-header, “How will the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 impact small businesses?”
”The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics strongly supports small businesses and we have always been major advocates for elevating the work and values of the independent businesses that are the driving force of innovation toward health and safety in the personal care products industry.”

Gee, that definition fits my business, as well as many of my colleagues standing up against the SCA, yet why do we feel the CFSC is  working against our interests, and not the “major advocate” they claim to be? Most of us were early signers to the Compact, why do we now distance ourselves?

“We are fully committed to working together with companies in our Compact for Safe Cosmetics community and others to ensure that the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 does not unfairly burden small businesses that are already committed to making the safest products possible.”

Now, this is just flat untrue. CFSC has never “worked with” their company signers in the true sense of the phrase. In my experience as a signer for several years, theirs was a top-down agenda. I was never solicited for advice, comment or approval. There was no “partnership” as implied above. There was never a visible desire for or effort towards consensus from all stakeholders.  Scrutiny from those of us in the indie personal care products industry has revealed that many, if not most, of the signers in the SFSC “community” are very small businesses most likely blissfully unaware of the potential harm that could come to them as a result of passing the Safe Cosmetics Act 2010 and its unintended consequences. Or, because these small company signers have experienced non-responsiveness and non-support from CFSC (with regard to this and other legislative issues, and grossly inaccurate toxicity claims), some companies have requested to have their company name removed and CFSC has not honored their requests. My beloved nerdy husband and partner, Rob, did a short analysis back in 2008 when we requested to be removed.  He found an approximate attrition rate of 33% of the then 733 total Compact signers. A random sampling of those companies removed found 65% of them still in business, indicating that there were voluntary requests for removal by the companies themselves for one reason or another. Hmm, I wonder how robust this list of companies would look now with all who have since requested their names removed or CFSC actual compliance with earlier requests from those companies still listed. Or those with links to nowhere (intimating that the company is probably out of business) removed and the list currently updated. Those of us who have successfully had our company name removed report that it took repeated contact and demand over a long period of time, from 6 months to over a year or more! Does this sound to you like CFSC is “fully committed to working together”? Or are those unsuspecting companies just pawns in a larger agenda?  If you are a signer, please add your personal comments below.

“There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 that it will "kill small businesses." This couldn’t be further from the truth and is an unfortunate misrepresentation of the facts.

Where is the substance in this statement? Do they actually ever cite or reference specific misinformation being promulgated out here to back these vague attacks? Anything with some factual teeth?  No.  We in the indie community have found and have accurately corrected gross misrepresentation of the facts by CFSC, most especially the unsubstantiated scientific facts on which they base their agenda, until we are blue in the face.  However, they continue to ignore our reasonable and factual objections and continue to up the adversarial ante, seemingly incapable of introspection or, most importantly, the desire to ascertain the real facts upon which any effective legislation must be based. Our protests fall on dead ears.  This is how they show “strong support” of and “elevate the work and values of the independent businesses that are the driving force of innovation toward health and safety in the personal care products industry.” If you are new to this issue, please refer back to the synopsis of blog posts here for background, support and veracity of my statements here.

CFSC goes on to present further distortion of the language in the bill.

“ The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 contains specific provisions to protect and help small businesses, including:

  • Fee exemptions for small businesses with less than $1 million in annual sales.
  • Data sharing and transparency: small businesses will benefit by having access to safety assessments conducted by other cosmetics companies and suppliers that are currently kept private, and it will open up the information flow so all companies have easier access to the information that will help them make the best decisions about product safety.
  • "Producer right-to-know" provisions that will enable cosmetics companies to get full information from suppliers about toxicological data and safety information for cosmetic ingredients, including the chemicals in fragrance and preservatives.”

Looks like a Pollyanna picture of goodness and transparency, right?  They don’t tell you that registration fees IS the only burden that small business is possibly exempted from if this bill were to become law. That small business is not exempted from having the burden of reporting relatively useless ingredient minutia (sometimes trace ppm), as well as safety data for that minutia – some of which has already been researched and established by the FDA (or published by other scientific researchers) for the most part.  Data sharing?  Do you honestly believe that Johnson & Johnson or Estee Lauder are going to open their research database to every mom and pop soap company or indie personal care products manufacturer? You can only guess how many lawyers will get richer as a a result of this inclusion, if it actually exists in the final law.  “Producer right-to-know” provisions?  This part of the bill is undoubtedly aimed at the plethora of synthetic chemical producers who concoct “better living through chemistry”, manufacturing some of those long names that Annie Leonard and CFSC scare you with. Frankly, some of them scare me, too, but I am also educated enough to know that not all chemical innovation is bad for you. It is here that the sensible indie movement towards naturals meets the giants of the cosmetic industry on shared opinion.

Here is but one example of possible far-reaching and damaging unintended consequences under this “Producer right-to-know” requirements of the SCA.

We at Samara Botane purchase some essential oils from small cooperative or family distillers around the world. These are small to mid-sized producers, often family owned, who have been growing or wildcrafting aromatic plants for generations for aromatic distillation to obtain essential oils. We were introduced to these small producers in the late 80’s and early 90’s at myriad gatherings during the explosion of new aromatic plant research,  emerging aromatherapy schools and conferences around the globe to share scientific research based on the chemistry of essential oils and to explore the indigenous cultural use more in depth by those of us in the West.  These producers are not always expert at identifying the exact chemical constituents of their products, although many are much more expert now than when we first started importing. They provide the required MSDS, CAS and other legally required information for identification for international commerce, but their expertise is not always in the end “use” of their product. Nor should it be; we look them for their artistry and years of experience in the sustainable management of the crops themselves and the proper distillation for a quality essential oil.  It is up to us, the importers, and aromatherapy experts to ethically test and analyze further research  for the many safe uses. Many of these essential oils are already classed as G.R.A.S. (Generally Regarded as Safe) and are used in the food and flavor industry as well as natural skincare and personal products. You can only come to the reasonable conclusion here that unintended consequences would possibly adversely affect these small producers across the globe.

The very fact that we emerging indies exist and have been researching, developing and providing alternative, safer personal care, as well as more in-depth consumer information is a primary reason that the “biggies” are slowly moving in the direction of more natural ingredients, which we indies believe are safer.  Sure, it’s a behemoth and cumbersome industry, and there is “greenwashing”, but hey, there is also progress towards more safe and sustainable ingredients.  Without the continued good work of the indies who started the “green” revolution in personal care products, will the biggies still feel a need to manufacture better, more natural products if we aren’t there to prod and innovate them, especially if they contain natural ingredients more costly than some of their synthetic chemical counterparts?  Since the primary mission of most big corporations is to make a profit, what do you think?

Our primary business is supplying essential oils – on our retail website, to massage and aromatherapy schools and other professional institutions, hospitals and clinics, and to small personal products manufacturers. All could be adversely affected if the SCA bill becomes law, increasing the domino effect of unintended consequences.

If you purchase personal care products, or supplies from small, independent personal product companies and ingredients suppliers, please heed our voices of reason.  Read the Oppose SCA petition here and , please sign.  You will see that I am not alone, we are now approaching 2,140 signatures as I prepare to launch this missile into cyberspace.  We need many more of you to speak up on our mutual behalf.

Rant_girl_350x241l Thanks for listening and thanks for your support.

Marcia (Rant Girl)

 

I don’t know about you, but this year’s Earth Day leaves me bereft,  feeling somewhathot-earth225x225 frustrated and depressed that I am not doing enough and that we, collectively, are still in denial about the human impact on climate change and resultant planet degradation. Those of us not still in denial who live in the so-called “developed” countries appear to be apathetically slow to make meaningful ecological choices, and we are too easily influenced by “pseudo-greening” or “green-washing” that is meant to deceive the actual reality of continuing to practice a destructive status quo. Based on evidence, it appears that we continue to create problems, not solve them, in spite of all those good intentions we project (or lie about, in some cases). Let’s look at a few facts that confront us. 

According to IPCC, farmers who practice rain-fed agriculture could see a 50 percent reduction in yield in the coming decade. This has led to coining the term, “food insecurity”, which itself seems too gentle a term for the reality of mass starvation.  Rain-fed agriculture is a major source of food and fiber. About 60% of world staple food production relies on rain-fed agriculture. Rainfall is also responsible for meat production through grazing and for wood from the forest. In Tanzania and other Sub-Saharan African countries where irrigation is very limited, almost all food and most cash crops such as cotton, tobacco and wood depend on rainfall (Rockström, 2000). It is a fact that the talks at Copenhagen failed miserably and that the powerful shut out the voices of the not-so-powerful. The rich technocrats (Bill Gates, Richard Branson, etc.) would have us believe that climate engineering is a simple solution to solve the problem, in spite of the many reluctant scientists and engineers who cautiously report in any one of the 209,000 papers found here on the Google.

These statistics alone should be alarming enough to spur us to action for a reversal of harmful practices like CO2 emissions, but layers of other negative influences complicate our possible actions.  Influences that many of us feel powerless to stop.

man_eating_earth226x211 The concept of (self regulated) corporate social responsibility that emerged in the 70’s, with no actual watchdog over emerging multi-national corporations is widely debated, with proponents advocating that corporations benefit in multiple ways by operating with a perspective broader and longer than their own immediate, short-term profits. Critics argue that CSR distracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses; others argue that it is nothing more than superficial window-dressing; others yet argue that it is an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations (Wikipedia).  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OCED) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are the only corporate responsibility instrument formally adopted by state governments. This critical analysis from 2008 gives us more detail about the limitations of developing countries to monitor or regulate foreign corporations, and  there has been little conclusive evidence that these corporate investments do promote growth and employment in developing countries. Human rights are neglected or abused, ecosystems are disrupted, completely wiping out indigenous people’s livelihood in some instances.

This week, Senators John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham plan to introduce a climate bill that will eliminate the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  “First of all, one of the conditions of the bill we’re hearing is that it will eliminate the EPA authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, which is a slap in the face to everything that Earth Day stands for . . . Secondly, it will include cap-and-trade provisions between utilities, so you could have a nuclear power company trading with a coal power company, but if it’s too expensive for them to meet their emissions targets, they could buy offsets . . . and, unanimously, all of the statements that are coming out of the different working groups here at the Bolivian Climate Conference are condemning carbon markets.”, Activist Daphne Wysham, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, and co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network reported today.

The interconnected complexity of all this seems overwhelming.  Can I, and others like me,    Healing_Mother revive and cultivate optimism and actually take meaningful action, especially when our government and major corporations seem to be dragging their feet or acting against our greater interests in this regard?  In spite of the powerful country-corporate refusal to listen, there are thoughts and ideas coming out of Bolivia this week for us to contemplate. 

A key initiative to come out of the Bolivia Climate Conference is a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. The key points here encourage me and hopeful that after this long discourse intended to move you to gather more information to support alternative solutions, you still have the time and inclination to contemplate them yourself.

Happy Earth Day,
Marcia

P.S. I have to give great thanks to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now, who I share my breakfast with every weekday morning for at least a decade now.  I also weep with sadness for us all that the great Bill Moyers Journal, another great source for my social, environmental and economic chops, will be leaving PBS. I am encouraged to know that Bill Moyers Blog will continue to be carried online by PBS, at least for now.  Nobody is saying the reasons for his retirement out loud, but I suspect the more conservative Board at PBS is a factor, especially when we see no progressive replacement. 

 

I’m tipping my hat to colleagues who joined me in blogging, tweeting, emailing and shouting “Stop” to the potential affects of this bad bill.  The bill failed in Committee today 7 to 4.  Some Colorado legislators reported they had received up to 700 emails regarding the bill.  I listened to streaming radio from the hearing and those on our side were far more aware of the facts than either the representative from Compact for Safe Cosmetics or some of their small business supporters and individuals who testified.  Although learned in his field and knowledgeable regarding environmental toxins and endocrinology, Dr. David Norris, PhD, Deptartment of Physiology, University of Colorado, was not well versed in cosmetics themselves nor skin absorption and allowable dilutions and was a weak proponent of the bill as a result.

I wasn’t able to listen to the hearing today early on, and missed the testimony of many of those on our side.  Many thanks to Cindy Jones, Jerrell and Elissa Klaver, and others for their testimony and taking valuable time away from other important aspects of their lives and businesses. 

Together, we made a difference and this bill was defeated in Committee today.

 

Here’s a quick update and addition to our conversations surrounding FDA Globalization Act and CO HB 10-1248 Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act.

Friend and Colleague, Tony Burfield, has been fighting the good fight re: aromatic ingredient regulations in the EU. He runs the fab site Cropwatch and is a contributor on aromaconnection. He’s headed to speak at the British Society of Perfumers Safety & Regulatory Issues Symposium at Cambridge on 11th March 2010, …talk entitled "Is excessive regulation destroying the perfumery art?"

I’ve passed on to him what’s happening here re: FDA Glob Act and CO HB1248. He’s hopeful that there might be "some victory for common sense looming" and will be using information about our movement to help staunch EU march to over regulate. He is grateful for what we are doing here and passes on,  "In SE Asia anti-IFRA and anti-REACH groups are forming, since producers of natural products feel that their livelihoods are being put in hexapody by the effects of creeping legislation." This is hopeful news.

P.S. new word for my vocabulary "hexapody". :-) Love those Brits.

 

In the aromatherapy products community, safety is by far the most discussed topic. We spend hours in online discussion groups, social media outlets, on our websites and in our blogs in an effort to convey accurate and safe advice to those using essential oils and ancillary products.  Let us be very clear.  We at Samara Botane want safe aromatherapy products that carry no or minimal risk to consumers. 

Several years ago, many of our colleagues in the small personal care products industry joined with us as enthusiastic signers to the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics. Sounded good and what looked to be a way to carry a larger message about personal products safety. We trusted that CFSC would represent an honest, peer-reviewed scientifically verifiable position. A closer review now indicates that many of their references reflect insufficient data, some reflect low hazard and yet they include these substances in a larger list of potentially toxic ingredients. Additionally, we assumed and trusted that, as signers, our interests would be taken into consideration for any actions bearing our signatures as supporters.  When the FDA introduced the FDA Globalization Act of 2008, it appeared as if CFSC was pressing for stringent, and perhaps unnecessary, regulations to be included in the act requiring product registration fees that would be prohibitive for many of the CFSC small business signers. At that time, it also began to become apparent that perhaps an overzealous rush headlong was overstating the immediate necessity for some of the requirements suggested to be included in the act and that perhaps established authorities were not being consulted to provide scientific documentation that would anchor CFSC’s position with actual facts and tempered scientific reasoning. There was an attempt to discuss our concerns with the leaders at CFSC, however, after several months we at Samara Botane requested we be removed as a signer when they were nonresponsive to our inquiries. It took over 2 months for them to comply with our wishes to have our name removed.  We were not alone.  Other small business colleagues did likewise and express similar stories.

Donna Maria Coles Johnson, President/CEO Indie Beauty Network, spearheaded a movement to insure member voices were heard at the FDA and she attempted to also dialog with CFSC.  She and several IBN members travelled to Washington, D.C. on two occasions to meet with the Congressional Committee working on the FDA Globalization Act.  The act has now been shelved, however, it could become active again. Donna Maria was diligent to communicate with and solicit input from IBN members throughout this process, gaining broad support from the membership.  Here are some of  her reports during this part of our story: 
Why I Oppose New Cosmetics Laws That Do Not Contain Exemptions For Small Businesses
Why I’m Headed Back To Capitol Hill On Behalf Of America’s Small Businesses
Campaign For Safe Cosmetics: A New Report

It appears as if CFSC is now determined to press for these cosmetic ingredient requirements without consideration for small business exemption or insuring that other concerns are first addressed. They are now taking their efforts to the states themselves. As an endorsing organization of the CFSC, the Women’s Lobby of Colorado, is supporting state senator Boyd’s and representative Primavera’s HB 1248 The Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act. CFSC is prominently featured on relative Women’s Lobby documents.  Based on Samara Botane’s experience with the nonresponsiveness of CFSC, and their failure to adequately advise signers  we wonder if the 36 small Colorado companies listed here have expressly authorized CFSC or the Women’s Lobby to use their names on this document, which intimates support of the act. We wonder if they are even aware of the act or the broader implications of the CFSC agenda that could impact their small business. Additionally, we do not know where the Women’s Lobby is gathering their facts, but their fact sheet is not entirely accurate.  Washington state has NOT passed a similar law as stated.  House Bill 2166 was introduced in the Washington legislature and referred to committee in 2007 and no further action has been taken.  There is not an existing similar law in Washington state.

We at Samara Botane encourage all small personal care businesses who either reside in or do business in Colorado to contact the legislators to oppose this bill.  Please read these blogposts from colleagues with additional details, concerns and cautions:
Oppose the Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act Donna Maria Coles Johnson, IBN
Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act :: Take Action Immediately, Kayla Fioravanti, Essential Wholesale
Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act Kelly Bloom, Southern Soapers 
Tunnel Vision, Robert Tisserand, Aromatherapy Expert and Author
Colorado Safe Cosmetics Bill, Cindy Jones PhD, Sagescript Institute
The Colorado Safe Personal Care Act: How Will it Affect You, Lisa Rodgers, Cactus & Ivy
You Can Die From Salt, Too, Anne Marie Faiola, Bramble Berry
Oppose Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, Katherine Corkill, Sterling Minerals
From the President – Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, Leigh O’Donnell, HSMG
Colorado versus the cosmetics industry, Sarva Natural Artisan Soaps
When Safety in Personal Care, Isn’t Safety At All, Jerell Klaver, Salus Natural Body Care
The Colorado No Product Law, Marge Clark, Nature’s Gift
Tilting at Windmills: The Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, Emily Topsham, GCD Spa
Costly Confusion in Colorado: The Bubble Bill, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, IBN

Oppose the Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, Aromatalk
House Bill 1248 Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act., MK Independent Beauty Consultants, We Will Not Fall Blog

Related Articles:
Colorado Proposes Ban on Cosmetics It Claims Cause Cancer, Cosmetic Design
Bill Proposes the Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, Global Cosmetic Industry

Tell Colorado Legislators to Back off the Mary Kay Lady: Oppose HB 1248, Ben, Peoples Press Collective

We hope we have included all to date, please add additional blogs or articles in your comments so that we can continue to assemble a comprehensive list.  Thank you.

Marcia Elston and Rob Stitt
Samara Botane/Nature Intelligence

 

I thought we had cleared up this misconception years ago, however, it seems there are a number of essential oil purveyors claiming to carry essential oils  that are specifically certified as therapeutic grade by the FDA and show this seal below as proof.  Don’t be fooled.  They are not telling the truth.  In reverse order, this is one path to their deception.

 imageThis last trademark has been registered (as a word mark) by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 370 W. Center Street,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 4, 2009, published for opposition on July 1, 2009 and official registration granted on October 6, 2009.  This registration has the disclaimer, “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use ‘certified pure therapeutic grade’ apart from the mark as shown.

A third trademark has been registered (as a word mark) CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade also by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 370 W. Center Street,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 4, 2009, published for opposition on July 14, 2009 and official registration granted on September 29, 2009. This registration also has the disclaimer, “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use ‘certified pure therapeutic grade’ apart from the mark as shown”. There is a long list of products shown to be associated with this word mark.

A second trademark has been registered (as a word mark) CPTG also by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 370 W. Center Street,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 31, 2008, published for opposition on June 10, 2008 and official registration granted on May 9, 2009.

image A first trademark has been registered (as a word mark) CPTG also by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 1145 South 800 East, Ste. 134,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 31, 2008, published for opposition on June 10, 2008 and official registration granted on May 9, 2009. Under the trademark registration, they show application to the following products: Essential oils; Essential oils for household use; Essential oils for personal use; Lavender oil; Massage oil; Massage oils; Natural essential oils; Aromatherapy oils; Bath oils; Body oils; Cosmetic oils; Cosmetic oils for the epidermis; Essential oils for flavoring beverages; Essential oils for food flavorings; Essential oils for use in manufacturing of gelcaps and other dietary supplements; Essential oils for use in the manufacture of scented products; Oils for cleaning purposes; Oils for toiletry purposes; Skin and body topical lotions, creams and oils for cosmetic use; Food flavorings prepared from essential oils; Oils for perfumes and scents; Peppermint oil; Perfume oils; Tanning oils.

DoTERRA, LLC is yet another multi-level marketing natural products company based in Utah who has applied through the U.S. Patent Office to “own” (exclusive use) a registered word mark.  This registered word mark has not been provided to them by the FDA as they claim and is meaningless in proving that an outside certifying body has declared or designated that DoTERRA’s essential oils are certified pure therapeutic grade.  DoTERRA, LLC owns the right to exclusive use of the mark (however not the exclusive right to the actual words “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” which is revealing)  This seal or word mark is nothing more than a commercial trademark that they have registered and paid a fee for.  However, DoTERRA is purposefully misinforming potential customers and down liners by email by claiming FDA approval and that the FDA has provided them with the label that they, themselves registered and own.  The FDA does NOT certify the quality of essential oils by therapeutic grade and they do not provide a certifying label as claimed.  Following is an email from DoTERRA sent to a potential customer:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: d?TERRA Member Service <service@doterra.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 5:01 PM
Subject:  
To: Recipient Name and Email Removed for Privacy

Dear Recipient Name Removed for Privacy,

We apologize if one of our consultants has mislead you in anyway (sic).  All of our oils are FDA approved as being Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG). DoTERRA’s, CPTG essential oils are 100% pure natural aromatic compounds carefully extracted from plants.  They do not contain fillers or artificial ingredients that would dilute their active qualities and are free of contaminants such as pesticides or other chemical residues.  All of our products are taken through a series of tests including  AFNOR and ISO standards for purity, and all of our manufactures must maintain a GMP certification.  Therefore, we are passing government regulations.  The FDA has provided us with the label of CPTG. We hope we have resolved your concern.

Member Services
doTERRA International, LLC
370 West Center Street
Orem, Ut 84057
800-411-8151
service@doterra.com

Clearly this company is misleading people by claiming that they have a designation and approval provided to them by the FDA that in my expert opinion simply does not exist.  Stay tuned for part II of this series which will focus on FDA regulations that actually apply to essential oils and the part III will provide you with questions to ask a supplier that will ascertain their knowledge of essential oils and expertise in the industry.  

We at Samara Botane and many others in the essential oil trade have are dismayed about the misrepresentation of facts surrounding essential oils that occurs here in the United States, especially within the multi-level marketing industry.  We encourage people to diligently research any essential oil company before choosing them as a supplier.

Marcia Elston
Samara Botane/Nature Intelligence
http://www.wingedseed.com 

Please feel free to repost this entire message in its entirety, unedited, on your blog as well as social media outlets and newsgroups. 

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