Monday, March 17, 2008

When ''organic'' doesn't mean organic

The Organic Consumers Association just released the results of a study where several well-known personal care products labelled ''organic'' or ''natural'' were found to contain concentrations of a substance called 1,4-dioxane, which is a by-product produced when foaming agents are processed with certain petrochemicals, with the intention of softening the harshness of the detergents in the products. It is an eye and respiratory tract irritant and is highly suspected of causing central nervous system damage, as well as liver and kidney damage. It has also been classified as a probable carcinogen.

It is commonly found in personal care products that aren't organic, and in the US, the FDA does not regulate it with any set standards. There are currently no standards in the US controlling the usage of the terms ''natural'' or ''organic'' with reference to personal care products. I plan to do some research on what the status quo is in Canada at this time concerning 1,4-dioxane.

Some of the products on their list include well-known brands such as Kiss My Face, Jason and Nature's Gate -- all products I've bought in the past, myself. The Whole Foods private label ''365'' is on the OCA'S list, as well.

The LA Times jumped on the story last Friday. I suspect we'll be hearing more about it over the next few days.

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