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Reputations Count!

If you have been buying essential oils since the 1980’s or so, you probably used many tools to help choose which brands to purchase. Personally? I bought a lot of books, and looked in the back of the books for Resource Guides. Most books about aromatherapy had lists of companies the author would recommended. I also spoke to teachers of aromatherapy, and asked what companies they recommended. I honestly don’t know of a single consumer, aromatherapist or essential oil educator from the *early days* who relied on getting a GC/MS test result BEFORE they decided to buy an oil! That kind of testing was certainly used people in the wholesale supply chain – both to determine purity and quality. But not on the retail consumer level!

Things changed a bit thanks to self-proclaimed “experts” coordinating crowd-funded “3rd Party Testing” of a series of essential oils starting in 2013. The result? All hell broke loose! Yes, a few companies were found to be selling (knowingly or unknowingly) adulterated products. But some legitimate companies were defamed and damaged. How? One popular brand was selling a boutique oil from a small distiller. It was analyzed and compared to the library sample of a “pure oil” which was from a completely different country of origin! This so called “expert” declared the oil to be “adulterated” when in fact, it was 100% pure.

In another incident, a well known MLM brand of peppermint oil tested as adulturated with ethyl vanillin. Well known expert and affiliate of the same MLM (he was *their* contract chemist) disagreed with the analysis of the test results.

[ref. https://www.facebook.com/notes/10152519141798083/]

I use this as an example of how experts can test the same sample, or even evaluate the same test results, and reach different conclusions. These tests are scientific, but they are still quite dependent on the individual doing the analysis, not just the skill or expertise of the lab running the actual test.

So why have we become so dependent on these tests, as consumers? In my opinion, the reason is fear.

Fear and folks preying upon that fear to make consumers increasingly reliant on “lab tests” to make decisions on which products to purchase. They set up crowd funding schemes or “non profit” companies (more about that later**) and convince their fans and followers to send them money to pay for testing, and convince them there is no other way to determine if the oil is pure or good quality (rarely if ever with a criteria *for* good quality I must add).

I recently read that there is even a school which teaches “if a brand does not include a GC/MS test result with your bottle, don’t trust them.” I’m sure this school has loads of new students who think they can’t buy a bottle of lavender oil unless they complete a course on understanding these test results! FOLLOW THE MONEY!

Lets say you regularly stock Lemon EO from ten different batches, and sell retail sized bottles all across North America and Eastern Europe. You have test results from each batch on file, of course.  But to also produce flyers to insert in boxes, and match up those flyers to each specific batch number as the product goes through the assembly line, is both unrealistic and would dramatically increase the price of these retail bottles.  And for what?  A consumer pacifier, because while the retail customer may have no idea what the report says, some blogger or teacher claims they should not trust the brand unless this information is available to them?  It’s both unrealistic and actually increases the incentive to provide fraudulent reports.

Example – you buy a bottle of lavender and get this report with it {used for editorial purposes only}. If you are not trained to evaluate the report – for all you know – it’s not even lavender! [It is].

It is also naive to believe that just because one bottle of EO tested pure, or with specific constituents in certain percentages, that the next batch will be the same. If a company wants to cheat, they are going to cheat!

Dr. Pappas of Essential Oil University writes in his article “The Proper Protocol for Utilizing EO Analysis Reports“:

“Lastly, its very important for anyone selling essential oils to know that if you have an analysis done on a pre-ship sample for the purposes of making buying decisions, then you CANNOT use that report on the pre-ship sample to represent the actual bulk lot that is purchased and received in, even if your supplier says it’s the same lot. If you want to forgo having your actual received lot analyzed because you trust your supplier to send the same thing they sampled you then that is fine, but you CANNOT use that pre-ship sample report to represent the oil that you sell to your customers because you did not have the actual bulk lot analyzed once it came in your door. This is very important because it frequently happens that a supplier sends one lot as a pre-ship sample but the actual oil that is shipped in bulk to fill the order does not match the pre-ship sample. I know it sounds crazy but this happens all the time.”

So what percentage of EOs that come with reports, are unsuspecting essential oil consumers purchasing based on the “school of thought” that as long as the bottle comes with a GC/MS or they can download it from the suppliers website, it’s some guarantee of purity or quality. These customers may be fooling themselves!

So how do you choose a good, reliable, high quality brand?  Go back to basics!

  • History – has the brand been around for many years?  That’s a positive.
  • Affiliations – does the company & staff belong to professional associations*
  • Education – who are the owners of the company, and where did they study aromatherapy?
  • Marketing & Labeling – truthful, legal, industry standards:
    • Common name for the Plant
    • Latin name
    • Plant part
    • The extraction process
    • “Keep out of reach of children”
    • “External Use Only”or “Not for Internal Use” or “Not for Ingestion”
    • An expiration date or date of manufacture or Batch Number
  • Reputation – A good reputation among professionals in the aromatherapy field is critical.
    • A bad reputation is rarely without cause in this industry.
      • Look for honesty and transparency if there was an issue with a product in the past
      • Watch out for prices which seem too good to be true – that is a big red flag!
      • Watch out for salespeople who claim their product is organic, without Certification
      • BEWARE of companies that claim their essential oils are “Therapeutic Grade” or “Clinical Grade” or “Pharma Grade” or “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” – there are no such grades! THESE CLAIMS ARE LIES.

*American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), The Aromatherapy Trade Council (ATC) and owners or employees who belong to the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA), Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA), or National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).


In conclusion, during every step of the supply chain, proper testing using standard methods for essential oil analysis should be mandatory. If someone is a formulator making perfume, or cosmetics, or soap, or OTC Drugs, naturally they need to know the exact chemistry in the essential oils they are using to formulate their products and obtaining a GC/MS that is batch specific can be critical. But those people are not buying small retail sized (and priced) bottles of EOs. They buy wholesale. Professionally trained aromatherapists or massage therapists who use essential oils on a regular basis, probably also usually buy in larger sized bottles and retail off-the-shelf sizes, and they also might need to have access to test results.  But the average retail customer, using the recommendations above, can almost always avoid brands which are likely to be adulterated.


**Following the money includes businesses that claim they are charities but which are not!  We are a country of laws and the IRS does not allow a business to accept money and claim they are “donations” and pretend they are a charity unless the IRS has reviewed the application for non-profit status as a 501[c][3] tax-exempt organization and approved the application.

In this case, being affiliated with well-respected members of the aromatherapy community does not give this organization credibility, by contrast, it seriously damages anyone affiliated with them!

BOOK FOR SALE Essential Oil Safety

Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals 2nd Edition by Robert Tisserand (Author),? Rodney Young (Author)

“The only comprehensive text on the safety of essential oils. The first review of essential oil/drug interactions. Detailed essential oil constituent data not found in any other text. Essential oil safety guidelines. 400 essential oil profiles.” — Elsevier

 

FOR SALE AUCTION ON EBAY – Starting Bid $65

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Essential-Oil-Safety-A-Guide-for-Health-Care-Professionals-by-Tony-Balacs/222844934272

Closer to Free


As many of my Facebook friends and followers read over the past couple weeks, my Ocular Melanoma recently spread to my liver (as happens in 50% of patients). I received immunotherapy treatment at Smilow Cancer Hospital the day after Christmas.

Three weeks later I was admitted to the hospital with life threatening side effects; my immune system was attacking my muscles and my heart. I was in the hospital for 8 days. I was left with an autoimmune disease, Myasthenia Gravis. So while my interest, research and articles on aromatherapy and herbs were less a job and more of a hobby, I am officially retired from this part of my life. My Facebook group and page are retired. I will be selling some of my books on EBAY once I am able to get that coordinated. When this website is up for renewal, I will allow it to expire so if there are any articles or blog posts or links of interest – I release any and all copyright protections – copy at will!

I am optimistic that in addition to attacking my body, my immune system also attacked my cancer! I look forward to doing some fundraising for the Closer to Free organization in the fall! http://www.closertofree.com/

doTerra is drugging YOUR children!

Back in 2015 when I was the webmaster for Aromatherapy United, I wrote a follow up post on the doTerra company essential oil Drug Claims: doterra-drug-claims

About a month ago, I reported a doTerra salesperson to the FDA for making drug claims. I decided to see whether the doTerra corporate claims that they are “policing their own” is true, and copied them, too.

They replied. They missed the point – focusing on making sure their salespeople are competing with each other fairly, but my point was made. doTerra cannot continue to claim they have no idea these claims are being made, because my email reply proves otherwise.

Things are not getting better – in fact they are getting worse.

Now thousands and thousands of doTerra salespeople are not just putting their individual customers in danger, they are putting entire classrooms of children in harms way by pushing EOs as drugs to be introduced into childrens bodies without parents knowledge.

Complete and total disregard for the fact that salespeople and other parents drugging other peoples children is illegal, they continue to promote EOs to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent medical conditions and now YOUR childs’ brain may be chemically altered, your child with asthma may be at risk of dying, and your child’s immune system may be impacted by diffusing essential oils in the classroom!

Inhalation is the most effective method for treating systemic medical conditions, using essential oils. When inhaled, they directly impact the brain by triggering the olfactory bulb.

In addition, they reach the bloodstream via the lungs and are one of the class of chemicals which can pass the blood/brain barrier.

Salespeople for this company are promoting the practice of putting chemicals so strong they are used off-label as drugs, into your little childs’ body, and no one is doing a thing to stop it…including the management of doTerra who know their Diamond Level Salespeople are promoting this practice!

I looked at the profile for Administrator for this Facebook Group – she is promoting essential oils as drugs on her personal Facebook profile.

I googled her – here is a graphic from the website for one of the people she is credited for recruiting into the doTerra company – yup – doTerra DRUG CLAIMS including Alzheimer’s diseasecancerpneumonia and more.


The FDA needs the public to report these illegal drug claims for essential oils by salespeople. The aromatherapy industry is self-regulated, and in order to maintain the freedom we currently have to purchase and use essential oils safely, we need to all work together to enforce the laws against those individuals who jeopardize our rights with their false and illegal claims for essential oils and aromatherapy products.

NOTE: you do not need to be injured or experience an adverse effect, to report dangerous products.

“If you find a website you think is illegally selling human drugs*, animal drugs, medical devices, biological products, foods, dietary supplements* or cosmetics* over the Web, please select one of the three options below to report to FDA.”

 

*An essential oil sold in any way that implies it can treat, cure, prevent, mitigate or cure a medical condition, is being sold as a misbranded human drug. Medical conditions include issues which are often treated using over-the-counter drugs including help acne, ease pain, relax muscles, aid sleep, etc.

 

New Aromatherapy Company Launch – Ology Essentials

From the new website for Ology Essentials

There is a great depth of knowledge, training, and commitment behind Ology Essentials. You can trust Ology Essentials for accurate, scientific, and honest no-hype information about essential oils, business, and natural cosmetics. The founder of Ology Essentials is certified aromatherapist and cosmetic formulator Kayla Fioravanti. She has been a trusted disseminator of knowledge and provider of high quality products since she and her husband first co-founded Essential Wholesale in 1998.

I have known and admired owner Kayla Fioravanti since I first started in the soap and aromatherapy industry myself many years ago and her articles, posts on social networking and knowledge she so freely shared through Essential Wholesale are very much a foundation of my own knowledge base.  I am thrilled she is back in this industry again and highly recommend her company as a source of products and her school as a great place to learn about safe essential oil use an aromatherapy.  She represents what ethics in aromatherapy looks like on every level!


NOTE: I did not receive any products at a discount or free in exchange for my review, nor have I been compensated in any way. I am just a fan! I have no material affiliation with the websites in this blog post.

55 Years of Organic Skin Care

It feels so good to get back to “my roots”, even if it is just with something simple like my choice of skincare.  I am Hungarian on my mothers side.  My Grandmother came to America at age 17!

So, I’m really excited to recommend my favorite skincare line ÉMINENCE ORGANIC SKINCARE

Readers can learn about the Éminence Certified Organic Farm

Make sure to click the FREE GIFT link! Enter your email and they will plant a tree in your name! eminenceorganicfarm.com/free-gift/

To learn more about the products and take a Quiz to help select the right skincare for your skin type, go to the main website for Éminence Organic Skincare

You can also Shop Local in many areas, and purchase Éminence Organic Skin Care at your salon or spa. They have a “Find A Spa” link at the top of the page.

I shop both locally and online, and my favorite Authorized Éminence Online Store is buynaturalskincare.com

They have a really cool Loyalty Rewards program where you Earn Reward Points and get extra free samples!

If you are not sure which product line you should buy, the sample sizes are fantastic!  I bought this travel sized collection to try out the various products in the Stone Crop Collection and I love it!  My skin has never looked or felt better!


NOTE: I did not receive any products at a discount or free in exchange for my review, nor have I been compensated in any way. I am just a very satisfied customer! I have no material affiliation with any of the products or websites in this blog post.

RECOVERED – My FDA complaint – Ava Anderson NonToxic

Originally Posted in 2012 – here is a link to the Blog Post I wrote about my FDA Complaint against Ava Anderson NonToxic:

https://web.archive.org/web/20131129211933/http://gogreenct.wordpress.com:80/2012/06/05/my-fda-complaint-against-ava-anderson-nontoxic/

The comments to this Blog Post are a big part of this article so instead of republishing it, I am posting a link.

I even had a comment Posted by Anonymous on August 13, 2013 at 12:04 am who claimed to be an “Executive” with Ava Anderson NonToxic!


UPDATE: The USDA investigation confirmed allegations “that AA (Ava Anderson) marketed its Essential Oil product as organic, in violation of the USDA organic regulations“.

I was also quoted in that article:

 

http://www.golocalprov.com/business/ava-anderson-hit-by-usda-for-false-claims-of-organic-is-new-company-selling

RECOVERED – “CHAMPION” hides perfume allergens!

Originally Published on: Mar 14, 2012 as Campaign for Safe Cosmetics “CHAMPION” hides perfume allergens!

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ report “Market Shift” highlights the 322 cosmetics companies called “Champions” that meet their GOLD STANDARD goals of their Compact.

These goals include “Comply with the European Union’s Cosmetics Directive” and “Disclose all ingredients, including ingredients in “fragrance,”…”

The 7th Amendment to the Cosmetic Directive of the European Union (EU) stipulates that there are 26 contact allergens found in fragrances (natural and synthetic) that are mandated be listed on the ingredient declaration if they exceed 0.001% in leave-on products and 0.01% in rinse-off products.

The European Union List of 26 Fragrance Allergens Requiring Labeling on Cosmetic and Detergent Products, listed by INCI are as follows:

Alpha-isomethylionone Anise Alcohol Amyl Cinnamal Amylcinnamyl Alcohol Benzyl Alcohol Benzyl Benzoate Benzyl Cinnamate Benzyl Salicylate Butylphenyl Methylpropiona Cinnamyl Alcohol Citral Isoeugenol Citronellol Coumarin Eugenol Evernia Prunastri Extract Evernia Furfuracea Extract Farnesol Geraniol Hexyl Cinnamal Hydroxycitronellal Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyd Linalool Limonene Methyl 2-Octynoate

It is a common request to prove that your product does not contain any of the 26 allergens identified by the European cosmetics directive. I looked at favored Market Watch “Champion”, Ava Anderson Non Toxic, who just launched a product they call “essential oil” perfume.

First, this cosmetic does not list any of the ingredients according to INCI naming convention, which is a red flag that the ingredients are likely to be at least in part, Synthetic Fragrance.

After all, if they were actually essential oils, why would a company not list them as such?

We know there is no such thing as Amber musk essential oil.

We know there is no such thing as coconut essential oil.

[Edited to add examples…I could go on and on and on.]

So I looked some of the items listed as “ingredients” that “might” actually be essential oils.

EVERY ONE requires a “Fragrance Allergens” ingredient listing…yet this product does not list a SINGLE one.

Bergamot oil INCI name: Citrus aurantium bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil Cosmetics Directive 7th Amendment: Restrictions may apply. A source of Citral, Limonene and Linalool, listed as sensitisers.

Grapefruit Oil INCI name: Citrus grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil Cosmetics Directive 7th Amendment: Restrictions may apply. A source of Citral, Limonene and Linalool, listed as sensitisers.

Lavender Oil INCI name: Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil Cosmetics Directive 7th Amendment: Restrictions may apply. A source of Geraniol, Limonene and Linalool, listed as sensitisers.

Tangerine Oil INCI name: Citrus reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil Cosmetics Directive 7th Amendment: Restrictions may apply. A source of Limonene and Linalool, listed as sensitisers.

Jasmine Absolute INCI name: Jasminum officinale (Jasmine) Flower Leaf Extract Cosmetics Directive 7th Amendment: Restrictions may apply. A source of Benzyl alcohol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Farnesol, Linalool listed as sensitisers.

Mandarin Oil INCI name: Citrus nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil Cosmetics Directive 7th Amendment: Restrictions may apply. A source of Limonene and Linalool, listed as sensitisers.

Rose Absolute INCI name: Rosa centifolia Flower Extract Cosmetics Directive 7th Amendment: Restrictions may apply. A source of Citral, Eugenol, Geraniol, Citronellol, Farnesol, Limonene and Linalool, listed as sensitisers.

Is it really possible that the cumulative amount of essential oils and extracts in this perfume contain less than 0.001%? I guess it is possible. But considering the company is not legally providing consumers with the mandatory ingredient INCI names…it’s natural to assume they are hiding something – because labeling a product with ingredient names like “Amber Musk” and “White Cranberry” might as well just be labeled as “FRAGRANCE”…because the real chemicals in this product are just as secret.

RECOVERED – Why now?

I am in the process of recovering old articles I wrote about Ava Anderson Nontoxic [later rebranded as Pure Haven Essentials]. Why now? The answer is, freedom of speech.

I used to have a Greenwashing Blog where I would share articles about the companies I reported to the FDA or the USDA, articles exposing Greenwashing in cosmetic company claims (like labeling perfumes as 100% essential oils when they contained synthetic fragrances), marketing products as Organic when the products were in violation of the USDA National Organic Program laws, etc.

I’ve been asked why I deleted these articles and then removed the blog.

The answer is, I was threatened with a law suit by the management of Ava Anderson Nontoxic.

I received urgent contact by the Attorney for NYR Organic who said that my articles exposing the lies and fraud and misinformation being promoted by Ava Anderson Nontoxic, put me in violation of the rules for Members of the Direct Selling Association (DSA). As an Independent Consultant, I alone was responsible for the costs of fighting any law suit in court, the company would not defend me or support me because even though everything I was posting may have been completely true and my intent was to protect consumers from potential harm from believing these false claims, rules are rules. As a person who represented NYRO, I had the responsibility to follow the DSA rules. If I wanted to stay with NYR Organic, I had to remove my blog. I really believed I had a future with the company. I was only half joking when I told the Attorney “My Dream Job would be to move to Concord and work at the Home Office.” That was then, this is now.

Since that time, I have been very disappointed in the direction taken by the US Management. People I respected suddenly left the company. The one person who promised me that they would take my concerns seriously, including concerns about the misinformation about essential oils on our websites (the company still categorizes absolutes as essential oils and their aromatherapy training falls short in many key and basic areas), suddenly left the company prior to the last annual convention. No explanation. The emphasis in the past few months has been on multi-level-marketing and not on aromatherapy education, not on the “why” natural is better, and tips for how to hold a home party and recruiting seem to take center stage. Fellow NYR Organic consultants had been reaching out to me for answers to their questions about essential oil marketing, about safety issues, and about FDA regulations. MY efforts to engage with fellow consultants on the private, consultant-only Company managed Facebook group was disappointing to say the least. Questions I had about the company crossing the line from making cosmetic claims into medical claims were either deleted or never approved. Lively and informative discussions about issues related to the essential oil industry here in the USA were shut down – and the only topics encouraged were about sales figures, recruiting numbers, and consultant incentives for successfully multi-level-marketing.

I got one of those “perhaps we need to speak privately” messages from the new Vice President of Sales and Training. I looked her up on LinkedIN. I found a strong background in “home party” sales and marketing. Pampered Chef, handbags, and – OMG –  she is the former Vice President of Ava Anderson Nontoxic. I was shaking. When we talked, I was direct – “were you the one responsible for threatening me with a law suit, potentially financially ruining my family, when you were with Ava Anderson Nontoxic?” She admitted she was.

I have spent months trying to get past this fact, and I did give her the benefit of the doubt that she would actually care about essential oils and aromatherapy and learn what she did not seem to know about natural cosmetics. But the direction the company is taking is generic – they appear to me to only care about sales – not WHAT they are selling. The mission to me, seems to be the same as if they were selling purses or kitchen equipment or candles.  And that is not the foundation this company was built upon.  Neal’s Yard Remedies foundation was holistic health, natural skincare, herbal medicine, and in the UK they seem to still care about that – while in the USA they adopt pretend “standards” invented by fellow consultants with *connections*.

They jump on the October breast cancer bandwagon and donate a few pennies from the sale of certain products to a “charity” whose own mission is to WARN consumers about many of the very ingredients that are in Neal’s Yard Remedies products!  That lack of homework speaks volumes.

Our websites still list absolutes as essential oils, even though the new VP also promised this would be corrected.

The FDA warns about cosmetic companies making anti-aging claims, and my questions remain unanswered about how NYR Organic is legally able to make structure and function claims for a topical product (which the FDA considers to be medical claims) such as “it works to visibly lift, plump and recontour skin that’s starting to show the second signs of ageing.” (I suspect it is because they throw in words like *appears* and *feels* to attempt to make structural changes to the skin just cosmetic and not actually changing anything)

I have been told more times than I can count, “PERFECT IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD”.  I get it, I really do.  And if NYR Organic was “good enough”, I would still be a consultant.  But it simply isn’t.  Not any more.

So…now that I am not bound by the DSA rules for not disparaging member companies – I am recovering all my old Ava Anderson Nontoxic articles.  And THAT feels good.

 

MLMs – A Public Health Hazard

I wish everyone would listen to this exceptional short lecture by David Crow!

Learn more about David Crow here: http://www.floracopeia.com/David-Crow/


NOTE: I did not receive any products at a discount or free in exchange for my review, nor have I been compensated in any way. I am just a fan! I have no material affiliation with any of the websites in this blog post.