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Apr 222010
 

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. 

 Posted by at 4:42 pm
Mar 242010
 

For Schools To Open in Spring 2021, Teachers and Students Need to Mask Up

Americans are rightly concerned about the negative educational effects of the pandemic, especially for underserved student groups like low-income students of color and students with disabilities. All across the country, there is growing pressure to find ways to safely get as many children as possible back in schools. Despite our best efforts, online learning is just not as good as in-person, and the consequences of a full year online may be devastating. At the same time, the pandemic is spiking all across the country, threatening school reopening plans in many places.

One policy solution that will keep Covid-19 transmission rates low and help get students back into schools is mandated mask wearing, and state and district leaders who want a return to in-person teaching and learning might be mulling such a policy. There are certainly school districts that have been open throughout the fall without mask mandates, and we don’t yet know whether the most recent spike will affect district policies after the holidays. But we know that masks have become increasingly politicized and partisan, so we have been studying a range of data to understand the prevalence of, and support for, masks in schools. Based on our analyses, we think that mandated mask wearing is the most feasible and highest-leverage policy to get kids back in the classroom.

Back to school on a budget: 11 back-to-school savings tips

Cash-saving tips for back-to-school shopping without busting your budget.

  1. Take Inventory—Consider what you’ll actually need before hitting the stores. Has your child grown out of their schools clothes or will they do so by September? Can you reuse last year’s school supplies or will you need to replace some items?
  2. Set a Budget—Create a shopping list and stick to it, so you avoid impulse purchases. That fancy-schmancy Transformers’ Trapper Keeper can push your budget over the edge. Find out the best budget deals like this domtar cougar paper.
  3. Use Coupons—There may be great deals, but coupons can make them even greater.
  4. Shop Early—Stores are rolling out their best deals of the year early in the shopping season. As they say, the early bird gets the worm.
  5. Go Mobile—Tap into your mobile phone with apps like “RedLaser,” which allows you to scan bar codes and find any cheaper prices online or at other retailers.
  6. Check Social Media—Twitter and Facebook are great places to find deals offered to a brand’s social-media fan base. “Like” or “Follow” the merchant and keep an eye out for coupons and sales announcements.
  7. Buy in Bulk—Take advantage of bulk offers on pens, crayons, paper and other items your kids will burn through over the course of the year. You might team up with other parents for bigger bulk purchases that will bring prices down even lower.
  8. Spend more to save more—Sometimes it costs money to save money. For example, retailers often offer a 15-percent savings pass for purchases of a set minimum amount.
  9. Exchange—Gather your family and friends — along with their kid’s school wardrobes — for an exchange night of hand-me-downs that will save everyone money.
  10. Wait until Labor Day—Labor Day is the traditional time for big sales on school clothing. You might take a chance and wait until then to buy items for a fall and winter wardrobe for your child.
  11. Buy for yourself—Back-to-school sales aren’t just for kids. You might stock up on office supplies, jeans and other items that traditionally go on sale during this season.

First, the simple truth is that parent support for mandatory masking in schools is high and growing. For instance using the nationally representative USC Dornsife Understanding America Study (UAS), we found that parent support for mandatory face coverings in schools has increased substantially since the summer, from 45 percent of households when we first asked in July, to more than two-thirds in October (69 percent) (for more on our methodology, see here and here).

Perhaps the increase in support is due to the large number of students currently in schools with mask-wearing policies—our most recent wave of data (administered in November, 2020) found that 90 percent of students currently in attending school in person or hybrid were required to wear masks. If you’re experiencing masks in school and finding that the benefits outweigh the costs, you may be less resistant to the policy.

Second, despite popular perception, mandatory mask-wearing in schools is supported by a majority of all racial/ethnic, regional, and partisan groups. When we last asked in October, 82 percent of Democrats supported mask-wearing and 51 percent of Republicans. Mask-wearing was supported by the majority of Asian (85 percent), Black (82 percent), Hispanic (75 percent), and White (62 percent) families, as well as 58 percent of families living in rural areas and 79 percent of families in urban areas. While support was higher in some groups than others, the vast majority of families across all groups support mask-wearing policies.

What explains the variation across groups in support for masks? One factor may be experiences with Covid and, relatedly, beliefs about the risks of Covid to children. When we asked parents whether they agreed that children are at serious risks of Covid health effects, 89 percent of Black households agreed, compared to 70 percent of Asian households, 69 percent of Hispanic households, and only 44 percent of White households. Black households were also less likely than other groups to agree that school closures were more harmful to children than the risk of Covid. We found similar patterns across other demographic and regional groups, echoing these groups’ support for mandatory mask-wearing.

Third, we can’t open schools without teachers, and recent evidence suggests that teachers are overwhelmingly supportive of mask policies. A recent survey of a representative sample of Los Angeles-area teachers, for instance, found that mask wearing was the single most critical need for teachers to feel comfortable returning to the classroom—75 percent of teachers said it was critical (compared to just 36 percent who said a vaccine was critical, for instance). Teachers also supported smaller class sizes and spacing, which likely can be achieved given that not all students who are welcomed back to the classroom will actually return. In short, teachers are by-and-large comfortable returning to the classroom if they are protected with masks and adequate spacing.

Where does this leave state and school district leaders? On the one hand, our results suggest that parents are mostly on board with mandatory mask wearing in schools, particularly in urban and democratic areas. At the same time, urban districts tend to serve more low-income students of color whose parents may be more reticent to send them back to school. As urban districts do start to hatch their reopening plans, they should consider how they are going to address parents’ concerns and serve students whose parents opt for at-home or hybrid options.

Certainly, the win from Biden might begin to reshape the conversation around masks and in-person learning. At the very least, we can expect a Biden Department of Education might project a more favorable rhetoric around mask wearing in schools. And the new administration will likely take their role in Covid monitoring much more seriously, perhaps by creating a federally mandated national data tracking system to study the impact of school reopening on Covid transmission. But state and district leaders shouldn’t wait for the U.S. Department of Education to tell them what to do. They should work with health experts in their state to safely reopen their schools, with masking and appropriate distancing, as soon as possible.

 Posted by at 7:02 pm
Mar 042010
 

skin_micro_180 In Leonardo’s time, scientists of his caliber rarely considered the skin to be anything more than a decorative covering, necessitating removal to study the more fascinating parts underneath.  Today, most of us know that our skin is our largest organ and serves as armor to protect all those precious inner parts. According to the skinhelpers.com, the skin doesn’t appear to be complex or interesting, and before the invention of the microscope in the 17th century we really didn’t understand how it works. This is how okinawa flat belly tonic works.

Now, we can see how intricate the skin actually is, along with the vital role it plays, this is the reason why Anoque has created a Natural Men’s Skincare brand, focused on helping men put their best face forward, have more confidence and take care of themselves and their skin, the epidermis (outer layer of skin) continually produces new cells to renew itself, while shedding outer cells as they die off and shed.  You might not know that much of the dust in a room is actually tiny fragments of human skin.  As much as thirty to forty thousand skin cells fall unseen from your body every minute. continually replaced by vibrant new cells rising to the surface. We might call this renewal system your “skinecosystem”.  Hah. Say that 10 times real fast. A Brazilian wax is a type of bikini wax where hair is removed from the pubic area except for one small area. A traditional Brazilian wax is where all hair is removed. Other definitions exist so once you’ve decided what you want, make sure you make it clear to the salon. The practice originated in Brazil where women first began wearing very revealing swimsuits such as thongs.

And if that’s what you want to wear on the beach, you already have a good reason for getting this type of bikini wax. Another is avoiding the hassle and side effects of frequent shaving, such as razor-burn and itching. A Brazilian waxing blog will give you a smooth appearance for four to six weeks whereas shaving usually needs to be repeated every few days for a similar result. Need some new shaving products?

Reasons for not getting a Brazilian wax are pain and, if you’re a sensitive soul, embarrassment. Basically, you’ll be naked from the waste down for 15 to 30 minutes in the company of someone you’ve just met. Reports of pain levels vary. Some women say it’s not that bad while others claim its agony. So I suppose it depends on your pain threshold. The pubic area is a very sensitive part of the body, so somewhere in between is probably about right. All women agree it’s not comfortable. The up side is that the pain diminishes with every treatment as hair re-growth is weakened. Read more about pelvic floor strong.

Another disadvantage of Brazilian waxing is your skin may react badly to the hot wax, you might want to opt for applying skincare fridge in daily bases. Beyond that, the cons are the same as those associated with other methods of pubic hair removal. For example, as hair grows back, itching and ingrown hairs are common problems. Where any kind bikini wax beats shaving is in the fact that these symptoms should fall with each treatment.

Your skin produces natural oils and waxes from the tiny sebaceous glands that keep the skin flexible and supple.  These waxes also contain the body’s own germ-killing chemicals, acting as disinfectants against harmful microscopic organisms. Skinculb are best for slim your jaws.  Another important function of the skin is the production of Vitamin D when exposed to sunshine, a very important nutrient for a healthy immune system. It is also your body’s radiator, producing perspiration over the skin surface when necessary to cool you when your body overheats.  Overall, the skin is a pretty important organ and well worth taking care of, especially if you are planning some serious skincare treatments.

Skin Permeability:

The epidermis’ outermost layer is called the stratum corneum, and is important for allergy and sensitivity.  The SC is comprised of a network of cells on the surface that provides immediate protection from the outside world and helps restrict loss of water.  This outermost layer requires lipids (fats) to form a healthy cutaneous barrier.  Combined with the dying cells that compact and form a sort of “cement”, healthy skin does a good job of providing a sturdy barrier.  However, when there is disruption in the number and compactness of the intercellular lipids, the skin barrier can become more permeable. This disruption can explain how some toxins might seep through SC cells, enter the tiny blood vessels in the dermis and subcutaneous fatty tissue and possibly spark an antibody-mediated reaction.  This explains why some people do not suffer with allergic contact dermatitis when exposed to poisonous plants. Their skin barrier is intact and able to effectively protect the body from the toxin.  Atopic dermatitis can also be sparked by numerous allergens, inhaled, ingested and contacted substances.  Some foods (especially eggs) or inhalants (dust mites and cat dander) have been established as being the most common allergens. Want to know what is the best whitening cream for face and body? This product can help your skin look more radiant and clean. Try out testo prime.

Causes of Skin Barrier Damage:

Essential fatty Acid Deficiency:

Usually most Americans have adequate supplies of cholesterol or ceramides for the skin, both from dietary sources and internal metabolism, but they may not get enough polyunsaturated fatty acids (essential fatty acids, EFAs) that are only available through diet. The skin barrier requires an abundance of omega-6 essential fatty acids and daily natural products to protect the skin, we recommend the microdermabrasion kits which contain these ingredients. Most of the time overweight and obesity can lead to skin related conditions, prevent most of them with these meticore weight loss reviews.

There are two primary types of omega-6 EFAs, linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, both of which are only found in foods. Linoleic acid is found in the oils of safflower, sunflower, corn, soy, and sesame. An enzyme is responsible for converting linoleic acid into gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid that is needed to complete the skin surface lipid structure. GLA is found naturally in evening primrose oil, black currant oil, and borage oil.

Changes in Humidity:

rain_200 Exposure to humidity changes seems to cause an increase turnover rate of skin cells, which exhausts the oils in the skin barrier and exacerbates inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

Dehydration:

Many of us know that we need to drink lots of water.  You may not know, however, how important it is for healthy skin. The surface skin is thicker than the interior tissues of the body. Circulation comes to the base of the skin, and the water has to seep upwards through all the strata of the skin to reach the outer layer. The exposed surface of the skin is also constantly losing water due to environmental factors such as sun, wind, and chemicals, to name a few. When the body itself is dehydrated, circulation to the base of the outer skin may be shut down as an emergency measure so that water is not lost through evaporation from the skin’s surface. Chronic dehydration shows in the face with wrinkles, lines and furrows. It’s best to drink filtered water. There are many quality filtration systems on the market. Touch Up Laser is an effective procedure to get rid of many other unwanted  conditions.

Ultraviolet Radiation:

sunshine_220 We know that both types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, can lead to skin cancer and eye problems if left unprotected from the harsh radiation. What most people don’t realize is that UV radiation also increases skin permeability and can be a significant factor in sensitization. Studies have shown that skin lipid synthesis significantly declines 72 hours after UVB exposure but recovered after 96 hours, suggesting that UVB-induced barrier damage may not be permanent.  Wait a minute, you may say, you just told me that the skin needed sunshine to produce vitamin D, important for the immune system.  How many of you have a tendency to overdo when you do get out in the sun?  This is where the most damage occurs.  It is a fact that rates of skin cancer are typically higher in areas of the body that are generally kept covered and only exposed during sun bathing.  Regular, consistent, small amounts of exposure to the sun (without burning) has a protective effect on the skin, increases vitamin D, can improve mood, help with depression and myriad other benefits.  Rule of thumb is that a very fair-skinned person with northern heritage should only get 10-15 minutes of sun exposure over the majority of the body during peak hours.  Someone with darker skin and a heritage that originated closer to the equator should be able to get longer exposure without doing more harm than good.  So, moderate sun exposure can actually help reduce the potential for cancer risk.  It is difficult to get all the necessary vitamin D from dietary sources. So make sure you get moderate sun and avoid over-exposure, especially during peak sunshine hours.

We’ll cover more about  skin and its care in future blogs, as we are going to attend a skin clinic to be able to provide you with more information.

It’s never too soon to start building good dental habits with your kids. Why? Because poor dental habits easily slip into the routines of children and their parents if they’re not careful. Every once and awhile, we all need a reminder about the best habits to build, as well as the ones we need to avoid.

We love brightening and maintaining our young patient’s smiles. Sometimes, that’s done through procedures like dental sealants or composite fillings. Other times, it’s done through educating and assisting our patients and their parents in building good dental habits. If you start them now, you’ve got an excellent chance they’ll last for a lifetime.

Here are ten quick, easy-to-remember tips to help build outstanding oral hygiene:

GOOD DENTAL HABITS: START WITH A PEDIATRIC DENTIST EARLY

The best habit you could possibly build for your child is to get them to the pediatric dentist early in life. How early? When baby’s first tooth erupts from the gums, you should call the pediatric dentist within six months. Start your child at the dentist when they’re young, and you’ll begin a good dental habit that will reap benefits for a lifetime.

BAD DENTAL HABITS: CONSTANT USE OF A SIPPY CUP

 

When your child has trouble settling at bedtime, or when they’re needing to be pacified during the day, it’s tempting to simply stick a bottle in their mouth. However, using a sippy cup in these ways not only builds a bad habit, but overuse of a sippy cup can train the mouth to produce less saliva, which can ultimately lead to cavities. Sippy cup use isn’t harmful in and of itself, just make sure that it’s only used for drinking and not as a supplemental pacifier.

GOOD DENTAL HABIT: REPLACE OLD TOOTHBRUSHES

As your child grows and begins to use their own toothbrush without your help, make sure they know when their toothbrush should be replaced. A good rule of thumb is to replace a toothbrush every three months or even sooner if the brush shows sign of significant wear. If your child uses an old, tattered brush, they may be spreading nearly as much bacteria in their mouth as they clean out! Prevent tooth decay easily by reading these steel bite pro real reviews.

 

 Posted by at 7:45 pm
Mar 032010
 

I’ve blogged before about this great organization, spearheaded by Sylla Sheppard-Hanger and now joined by the dedicated Geraldine Zelinsky.  I’ve known both of these remarkable ladies for over 15 years now.  How time flies when you’re working hard and having fun.

Flag_SBProds_2010_280 For those of you who aren’t familiar with UAE, here is their mission, “The United Aromatherapy Effort, (UAE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Charitable organization born out of the September 11th tragedy. The mission of UAE is to provide stress relief and aromatherapy to relief workers, and troops during emergency work and afterwards. Many people try mutual massage which makes feel them very relax. We collect and disseminate donated aromatherapy products to those affected by disaster or war in conjunction with chair massage and other natural therapies that include an at home massage. Historically we have responded to the World Trade Center Disaster, NY (2001), Florida Hurricanes (2004), the Gulf Coast affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005-6), and in 2007-8 the California wildfires and the Gulf Coast Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Recently in 2009 we shifted our focus to the Military, both abroad and at home and are now supplying 4 Soldiers on the Ground (Afghanistan and Korea) with donated aromatherapy supplies they then disseminate to other soldiers.”

Since the beginning, Samara Botane has been happy to be donating diffusers, essential oils, light therapy lamp and aromatherapy products to bring stress relief,  help with minor skin problems and aromatic uplifting to those brave persons who serve so valiantly in times of emergency and disaster through this heartfelt organization.  Starting last year, UAE began working with troops in the field in Afghanistan and N. Korea.  A lovely thank you from troops outside Kabul at Camp Phoenix was the flying of the American flag on the base in honor of UAE last December 21. The flag was carefully removed, folded and sent to Sylla along with a letter from Brigadier General, Lawrence E. Dudney, Jr. expressing the gratitude of the troops.  The flag has now been travelling across the country from company to company while we all take pictures of it in our shops and warehouses.  Ultimately, Sylla and Geraldine will make a collage of the photos to send back to Brigadier General Dudney, Jr. to share with the troops.

Mar_Rob_Flag_2010_325 As we did this, from opening the package with the flag to carefully replacing it securely to ship on to the next UAE company supporter, it has been an emotional time. We feel pride well up in our throats, as well as apprehension for the safety of our troops in our hearts.  We hope that we are doing some small thing for those who do so much, and it’s nice to know their appreciation.  We certainly appreciate them.

Rob and I took these casual pictures on the fly over the weekend, while squeezing a short break from taking inventory working with a temporary professional crew. I wanted to have our great staff in the pictures, but the timing didn’t work out and they weren’t here.  We are in our ‘blending room’ where staff fills thousands of those little bottles of essential oils and I work to formulate new blends for products when I’m not in the office on the computer or planting and tending the gardens.  The sign in the window is from our first store in Seattle, with the original Samara Botane logo and hand wrought copper samaras; a nice reminder, a glimpse of the evolution of our journey every time we look out that particular window.

I know these are tough economic times for many of our clients and customers.  UAE can always use money for postage and shipping, even in small amounts if you can spare it.  I’m sure they would appreciate hearing from you.

 Posted by at 4:20 pm
Mar 012010
 

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

.”The bill creates the “Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act” such as moisturizer for sensitive skin, which prohibits a manufacturer from knowingly selling, offering for sale, or distributing for sale or use in Colorado on and after September 1, 2011, any personal care product that contains a chemical identified as causing cancer or reproductive toxicity.”  HOUSE BILL 10-1248

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.

 Posted by at 7:30 pm
Feb 272010
 

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.

 Posted by at 3:06 pm
Feb 252010
 

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

 Posted by at 5:52 pm
Feb 232010
 
by Kayla Fioravanti
Reprinted with permission

If you live in Colorado or sell cosmetics into Colorado it is time for you to speak up.  Colorado has a proposed a bill before them during this session known as The Colorado Safe Personal Products Act.  This Act is so broad and vague that if it passes in this form the personal care shelves in stores would go bare.  You can read the entire bill here.  To follow the bill as it is updated click here and change the range to House Bills 1201-1250 and then scan down to 1248.   

Capitol_front

As of February 3, 2010 the bill was assigned to House Judiciary Committee. There is a hearing scheduled March 1, 2010 for sponsors and those opposing the act to be heard.  The committee meets in room 0107 (in the basement of the Capitol) beginning at 1:30 pm.

You can find the phone number and email addresses of your Colorado State Representative here.  The bill is sponsored in the house by Dianne Primavera phone # 303-866-4667 click here to email, Dennis Apuan phone # 303-866-3069 click here to email, Karen Middleton phone # 303-866-3911 click here to email, Joe Miklosi Cap phone # 303-866-2910 click here to email. 

The Women’s Lobby of Colorado is holding open meetings.  They support this bill and even have the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics logo on their website.  Sadly, they have fallen for the bad science that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is using to cause hysteria.  The voices of small businesses in the personal care industry need to be heard.  The Women’s Lobby of Colorado meetings are held at Colorado Education Association on the corner of Colfax and Grant—1500 Grant St—from 12:00-1:15 pm in the Bluebell Room. You can park free in their lot if you sign in in the lobby. Lunch will be provided. Upcoming meetings will be held March 3, March 17, March 31, February 3, April 14 and April 28. 

I will go into the faults of this bill in greater depth within the next few days, but in the mean time let me point out some of the serious flaws of this bill. 

"The bill creates the "Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act" (act), which prohibits a manufacturer from knowingly selling, offering for sale, or distributing for sale or use in Colorado on and after September 1, 2011, any personal care product that contains a chemical identified as causing cancer or reproductive toxicity."  HOUSE BILL 10-1248

Quick Response:  Will these chemicals be ones that cause cancer when topically applied at normal usage percentges or will this information come from studies in which rats were injected with 100% concentration of said ingredients?  There is a big difference between putting an diluated ingredient on the skin than injecting an ingredient into the body at full concentration. 

"THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (23) DECLARES IT TO BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS STATE (24) TO TAKE STEPS TO ENSURE THAT PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS SOLD AND (25) USED IN THIS STATE ARE SAFE AND DO NOT CONTAIN SUBSTANCES THAT (26) CAUSE CANCER OR REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY."  HOUSE BILL 10-1248

Quick Response:  There should be acceptable limits set and not a complete ban on ingredients.  Many things in nature in high doses are known to cause cancer; for instance the sun! 

"2 (1) "AUTHORITATIVE BODY" MEANS THE FOLLOWING AGENCIES OR (3) FORMALLY ORGANIZED PROGRAMS OR GROUPS RECOGNIZED AS (4) AUTHORITATIVE FOR PURPOSES OF IDENTIFYING CHEMICALS THAT CAUSE (5) CANCER OR REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY:

6 (a) THE UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, (7) OR ITS SUCCESSOR AGENCY;

(8) (b) THE UNITED STATES FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, OR ITS (9) SUCCESSOR ENTITY;

10 (c) THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND (11) HEALTH, OR ITS SUCCESSOR ENTITY;

12 (d) THE NATIONAL TOXICOLOGY PROGRAM, OR ITS SUCCESSOR 13 PROGRAM; AND

14 (e) THE INTERNATIONAL AGENCY FOR RESEARCH ON CANCER, OR (15) ITS SUCCESSOR AGENCY." HOUSE BILL 10-1248

Quick Response:  I think this portion of the bill gets to the heart of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), aka Skin Deep, aka Campaign for Safe Cosmetics entire agenda.  The EWG wants to be that "or successor agency" mentioned in in the above list, my guess is the United Staes Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel is not listed as a resource for information on cosmetic ingredient safety.  Having any open ended "or successor agency" declare what causes cancer and what doesn’t is dangerous. 

The EPA is an interesting choice as an expert on cosmetics.  I read over there list of cancer causing chemicals and only a very small handful are used in cosmetics at all.  I will give further detail on this list and provide a link to it this week. 

"5 25-5-1204. Prohibition – sale of personal care products (6) containing unsafe chemicals. ON OR AFTER SEPTEMBER 1, 2011, A (7) MANUFACTURER SHALL NOT SELL, OFFER FOR SALE, DISTRIBUTE FOR SALE, (8) OR DISTRIBUTE FOR USE IN THIS STATE ANY PERSONAL CARE PRODUCT (9) THAT CONTAINS A CHEMICAL IDENTIFIED AS CAUSING CANCER OR (10) REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY. (11) 25-5-1205. Enforcement by private citizens – civil penalty. (12) (1) ANY PERSON ALLEGING A VIOLATION OF SECTION 25-5-1204 MAY (13) BRING AN ACTION AGAINST THE MANUFACTURER IN A COURT OF (14) COMPETENT JURISDICTION IN THE COUNTY WHERE THE VIOLATION (15) OCCURRED. UPON FINDING A VIOLATION, IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER (16) RELIEF AUTHORIZED BY LAW, THE COURT SHALL ORDER THE (17) MANUFACTURER TO CEASE AND DESIST CONDUCT VIOLATING SECTION (18) 25-5-1204 AND SHALL ORDER THE MANUFACTURER TO PAY THE (19) PREVAILING PARTY REASONABLE ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS.

20 (2) A MANUFACTURER THAT VIOLATES SECTION 25-5-1204 IS (21) SUBJECT TO A CIVIL PENALTY OF UP TO FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER (22) VIOLATION PER PRODUCT FOR A FIRST OFFENSE, AND UP TO TEN THOUSAND (23) DOLLARS PER VIOLATION PER PRODUCT FOR A SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT (24) OFFENSE. PENALTIES COLLECTED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE (25) DEPOSITED IN THE GENERAL FUND." HOUSE BILL 10-1248

Quick Response: Translation, the State of Colorado cannot afford to enforce this insane bill so they are leaving it in the hands of citizens to sue cosmetic companies.  After California passed California Proposition 65 there was wide spread abuse.  The lawyers got rich in California and companies wasted countless man hours and dollars defending themselves from all these lawsuits. 

This bill does not address "naturally occuring" substances found in natural ingredients.  For instance, lead would be banned, but lead is in water and cosmetics contain water.  The issue is severly complicated with naturally occuring substances since there is a complete ban and not tolerable levels.

A great example of by-product of some cosmetics is formaldehyde. In 1987, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen under conditions of unusually high or prolonged exposure.  In cosmetics there is not an unusually high or prolonged exposure to formaldehyde.  tissues. Formaldehyde is water soluble and is not stored in fat so it can be metabolized very quickly with a half life in the human body of about 1.5 minutes.

For a list of formaldehyde preservatives read here.  Formaldehyde is naturally produced our bodies, the air that we breathe, and even the food we eat.  Formaldehyde is emitted as a natural by-product in the cooking of certain vegetables like, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

How many small companies could afford to do business in Colorado if this bill passes as it is written today?  Would you risk being fined $5000 or $10,000 when citizen take up bounty hunting cosmetic products for the promised cash reward?  If you were completely innocent could you afford to defend yourself from these potential lawsuits?

 Posted by at 10:49 am
Jan 152010
 

I put my arms around him yes
and drew him down to me so he could
feel my breasts all perfume yes
and his heart was going like mad
and yes I said yes I will Yes.
James Joyce

According to the New Advent Encyclopedia Section, there were at least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs. One is described as a priest, another as a bishop and the third suffered in Africa with a number of companions, although nothing further is known. The popular, and now modern, customs associated with Saint Valentine’s Day have their origins in conventional belief in the geographical regions of England and France during the Middle Ages. This belief stems from the observation that half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair.
Thus, in Chaucer’s Parliment of Foules,
For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s Day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”

For this reason, the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and the proper occasion for writing love letters and sending tokens to one’s object of affection. The French and English literatures are rife with allusions to the practice in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Those who chose each other under these circumstances called each other their Valentines.

One romantic legend, according to History.com contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II believed that single men made better soldiers and outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius after realizing the injustice of the decree and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

The oldest valentine in existence is thought to be a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the tower of London in 1415. Valentine greetings and tokens of affection were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, although written valentines didn’t appear until after 1400. The first commercial valentine in the United States is attributed to Esther A. Howland who made elaborate creations with lace, ribbons and colorful pictures, known as ‘scrap’.  The scanned image at right is one of several elaborate, lacy valentines belonging to my long deceased great grandmother.
A typical verse:
I send you this, with hope and fear
With hope that you will tender be;
Yet all the while, I tremble dear,
Lest you should not be fancy-free
I could not bear the hopeless fate
To hear the cruel words – too late.

Would that we could have such tender Romeos today to bare these fragile inner feelings and show such deep emotional love. Certainly not in this age of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Resident Evil 4.

In Roman mythology, Cupid (meaning ‘desire’) is the god of erotic love and beauty, aka Amor, and son of goddess Venus and god Mercury. We have exploited this young deity in art, literature, confection, adornment and perfume at this time of year, some would say to excess. And, while we moderns are probably not going to participate in the elaborate ancient celebration of Lupercalia, which occurred in ancient Rome on February 15, and when some of the weirdest customs were indulged, it is perhaps another precursor to our modern celebratory immersion in romance and fertility.

Those of us who garden in the northern climes can’t ignore the fact that February 14 is also the approximate time for the beginning of the Spring thaw, another significant allusion to fertility.

While we may never know all of the facts of the history that lies behind Valentines Day; most of us are smitten with the idea of heartfelt expression and indulgence to bestow favor and admiration on those we care deeply about or wish to have a romantic relationship with.

Any expression of universal love in light of the overwhelming humanitarian disaster in Haiti must include our commitment to the brave and beautiful people of that impoverished country.  During the first quarter of 2010, Samara Botane will donate 10% of all all sales (not just web sales) to Partners in Health.  PIH works to bring modern medical care to poor communities in nine countries around the world. Their work has three goals: to care for patients, to alleviate the root causes of disease in their communities, and to share lessons learned around the world. Partners in Health has been in Haiti for over 20 years and its hospitals are untouched by the recent earthquake. They have been the first medical response to the disaster and their doctors and medical personnel are primarily Haitian citizens. Based in Boston, PIH employs more than 11,000 people worldwide, including doctors, nurses and community health workers. The vast majority of PIH staff are local nationals based in the communities we serve.

Valentine Gift Suggestions

Amoretto™ Parfum Mist, 7.5 ml in brushed silver atomizer

Soft florals of Rose Otto and Ylang Ylang with hints of zesty Citrus, grounded with Vetiver & Sandalwood and a mere whisper of Black Pepper, Clary Sage and Juniper make this a lovely fragrant poem of innocent love. This fine perfume is a 30% perfume composition in certified organic perfumers alcohol, with moderate silage and a uniquely soft, sweet scent for young and old alike. Festively packaged in chic acetate pillow with sizzle fill.

Relax in the tub and treat your skin to nourishment and renewal

Renew Milk & Honey Bath Ensemble

The additive dissolves in your bath to create a beautiful skin softening therapy – a few drops of the essential oil blend make it aromatically restful while adding additional skin healing, and the aromatherapy body lotion completes the experience of skin rejuvenation and renewal. Packaged in a charming little reuseable suitcase. Delightful luxury for the love of your life. There are many of sites to guide on it.

Please explore our website for lovely naturally fragrant gifts and indulgences for your loved ones. If you have difficulty finding what you are looking for, or need some ideas or explanations, or want to put together a custom gift, you can always email or call me.

Free shipping to you or your recipient on orders placed before February 8th, with an additional bonus gift for the purchaser of one of our recipe booklets for refreshing skin, hair and body treatments and aromatherapy ideas for health and beauty. dont forget to add that meaningful romance quotes for him.

Sending fragrant thoughts your way for this beautiful Valentine’s Day! Share your love abundantly with all you touch.

Marcia and the Samara Botane crew

 Posted by at 6:56 pm
Dec 022009
 

We operate on a calendar year, so the month of December is filled with inventory, reorganization and analysis to assess what changes should be made in the upcoming year that allow us to serve you better.   This in-depth scrutiny includes taking what I refer to as our ‘heart and soul’ imagetemperature.  It is a time to review whether or not we are effective in our tithing to pay it forward. It is a time to make sure that our gratitude for so many wonderful clients and customers is being adequately and honestly shared with those who need it.  A favorite project is our involvement with Trees for the Future, a worthy endeavor started by Dave and Grace Deppner and incorporated as a 501(c) 3 public charity in 1989.  Here’s how it works.  We pledge 50 cents to TREES for every order we ship which insures that one new tree will be planted somewhere it is needed.  This effort has now assisted thousands of communities across the globe in planting millions of trees, which, in turn, has restored life to land previously degraded by fires and floods or abandoned.  The trees provide food, fodder, fuel, fertilizer and medicine for farmers as well as biodiversity for the landscape. Well solarkraft can guide you more about renewable energy.  It is an awesome endeavor, magnificent in its simplicity.  It insures that our (and your) 50 cents take root and grow to exponentially serve as only Nature can.  Read the Trees for the Future 2010 Plan to learn more.

We are also long-time supporters and contributors to United Aromatherapy Effort, spearheaded by Sylla Sheppard-Hanger and assisted by Geraldine Zelinsky.  We provide aromatherapy supplies and products that UAE then distributes to our troops in Afghanistan and first responders to emergencies around the globe. For the latter, they partner with volunteer body workers who provide on-the-spot aromatherapy massage for the brave first responders during sometimes endless hours assisting in disasters.  UAE has recently been approved as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, retro to 2006. As the war in Afghanistan continues to escalate, our troops need all the support we can provide them to help combat colds and flu naturally, lighten their moods with environmental fragrance and generally ease stress and tension with aromatherapy.  The holidays are especially tough.  Any monetary contributions you can make are more than welcome.  UAE could use help updating their website and is looking for someone to help out.

Another of our longtime favorite nonprofit efforts is Midwives on MOMSchris-dressed-in-elder-clothers_215 Missions of Service.  This wonderful humanitarian organization teaches maternity care and safe birthing skills to women in Africa (primarily Sierra Leone where their services are very much needed).  Valid statistics and clinical evidence show that there is an impressive improvement in maternal and infant health as a result.  Samara Botane provides essential oils and aromatherapy products to support their efforts.  You will see when exploring their website that there is a great need for more volunteers (and of course money) to keep this awesome effort thriving.

We would enjoy learning about what you do during this season of giving.   What are some of your favorite organizations or charitable activities?

ONE MORE THING
The Samara Botane Treasure Hunt has now concluded.  It has been a huge success and we have some very happy winners.  Those who agreed to be publicly acknowledged are listed on the store landing page (through the store door).   We’ve extended 15% off on discountable items through Friday, December 18 which is still in time for delivery before Christmas.  We’ve decided it’s a good idea to have an annual treasure hunt . . . what are your thoughts?

 Posted by at 8:03 pm
Uk meds