Talc? No Thank You!

This is just one example of why I place ZERO faith in the hazard scores produced by the EWG Skin Deep database:

Talc – Low Risk score of “3”.

ref. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706427/TALC/#

The Skin Deep database is a project of the Environmental Working Group, so it is a surprise that the people who score this ingredient might appear to be unaware of an article from their own parent company: “Federal Regulators Knew In 1976 That Asbestos Can Contaminate Talc

ref. http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2015/09/federal-regulators-knew-1976-asbestos-can-contaminate-talc

So the potential health risk for both inhalation and vaginal use is known to EWG.

FairWarning reported that a March 1976 Food and Drug Administration memo it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act “charged that cosmetics makers had been lax in monitoring the safety of talc supplies.” In light of the industry’s weak efforts, the memo said, FDA had “not much choice but to move ahead as speedily as possible with a proposal of a regulation on asbestos in talc.” FDA backed off, however, after a cosmetics industry trade group said it had developed a test companies would use to screen talc for asbestos.”

So why is this ingredient still being used in makeup? Do professional cosmetic formulators think the risk of brushing on and breathing in a cloud of talc is not something that women should be concerned with?  Do these companies only care about our vagina’s and ovarian cancer, and not our lungs and lung cancer?

Example; this information must be known to Mia Davis, Head of Health and Safety at the cosmetics company Beauty Counter, since her resume includes being the Organizing Director of the The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics from January 2007 – December 2011 (5 years).

  • The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) is a project of the Breast Cancer Fund.
  • Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a founding Member of the CSC.
  • Beauty Counter is listed on their websites as a supporter of EWG.

But how, you may ask, is EWG’s Skin Deep related to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics?

The Skin Deep database was conceived and created by, and is run by, our research team here at the Environmental Working Group in Washington DC. We are also cofounders of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. We’ve helped that coalition by using our Skin Deep database to monitor companies’ progress in meeting safe cosmetics standards. But Skin Deep is an independent EWG project.

ref. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/faq/

So my question, why do some Beauty Counter cosmetics contain talc as their first ingredient?

Their own Head of Health and Safety knows not only that this ingredient is linked to causing cancer but also *should* know there are safer and more eco-friendly alternatives. We might expect this ingredient in an inexpensive grocery store or drug store brand, but in a high end, expensive, product line marketed *as* being “safer products”? With or without asbestos contamination – TALC is a hazardous ingredient and one which has no place in a product line marketed as “safer”. Exactly how is TALC “safer” than an ingredient found in a competing brand?

While there may not be safer alternatives to all cosmetic ingredients – the most challenging being preservatives – there ARE safer alternatives to TALC!

DISCLOSURE: This is a personal opinion on the ingredient “talc” and not disparaging of the product line being used as an example in this article.

Buyer Beware ~ “Studies” & Generalizations

I am so excited to start the 2nd quarter of 2016 with new motivation and passion, directed 100% toward helping consumers make positive choices! So I am introducing a new Series – Buyer Beware.  I’m starting the series by reposting an article I originally published April 14, 2014. Enjoy!

Salespeople sometimes use studies as support for their medical claims for products like essential oils. These studies are taken out of context. The fact that a product or an ingredient is being studied as a cancer treatment for example, does not mean it should be used *as* a cancer treatment.

Salespeople (and some poorly educated practitioners) sometimes take the historic herbal use for a botanical, and generalize and apply those same properties to the essential oil.

The uses and safety concerns for a raw herb/flower/seed are often not the same as those for the essential oil. The uses and safety concerns for a water extract or an alcohol extract from a botanical are also often not the same as those for the essential oil.

Not convinced?

There is a seed which produces an oil we use for its many healing properties. It is used in food and skincare products. “Centuries ago, the plant was referred to as “Palma Christe” because the leaves were said to resemble the hand of Christ. 1.”


And how about this…a product from the waste material from processing the seeds (aka beans) “has been used experimentally in medicine to kill cancer cells. 2.

Sounds like a win win, doesn’t it! If some of these MLM salespeople had access to this – they’d tell you to take this product internally because “it has been shown to kill cancer cells!”

The seed is the castor bean. The oil is castor oil. The waste material being studied? Ricin. Not familar with Ricin?

“Just 1 milligram of ricin is fatal if inhaled or ingested, and much less than that if injected. Eating just 5 to 10 castor seeds would be fatal. Once poisoned, there’s no antidote, which is why ricin has been used as a chemical warfare agent.”

So something that kills cells in a petri dish…may also kill a person. And just because one product from a plant may have a safe and appropriate use in cosmetic or medical care, does not automatically mean that other products from the exact same plant are even safe, much less effective for the same purposes.

1. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/28/castor-oil-to-treat-health-conditions.aspx
2. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/ricin/facts.asp

MYTH – EOs in the Bible

Essential oils are defined as “a product made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase.

Vocabulary of Natural Materials (ISO/D1S9235.2), The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

There are books and companies who promote the use of essential oils in a way that reinvents historical fact. There were no essential oils used during Biblical times. The Wise Men did not bring Baby Jesus essential oils. Jesus’ feet were not anointed with essential oil, nor did he anoint others with essential oils.

Essential oils were not used in Ancient Egypt, nor are they found in the Pyramids.

“Since essential oils are produced by distillation, and distillation was invented in the 10th century by Persians, it could be said that aromatherapy began 1,000 years ago.” roberttisserand About Aromatherapy

The oils referred to in the Bible are infused oils, not essential oils. The Bible also refers to incense – which is also a completely different product than an essential oil.

To learn more: http://www.aromaweb.com/aromatherapyspirituality/biblicaloilsandincense.asp

Why is this important?

Because if someone is going to lie about historic fact, in order to sell you something – what other lies will they tell in order to sell you something?

And because the history of safe use of an infused oil does not demonstrate the same safety when applied to the essential oil.

And those four Thieves blend you also may have read about? They ALSO were not using essential oils! This is historical FICTION!

Royal 6.E.vi, f. 301 detail

The story goes something like this… four thieves in France protected themselves from the black plague with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing victims of the black plague, but who never got sick. “When captured, they were offered a lighter sentence in exchange for their secret recipe.”

This “Thieves oil blend” usually includes Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Lemon and Eucalyptus. There was no Eucalyptus available in France in the 15th Century! This story is historical fiction. The thieves were probably using a botanical vinegar and not essential oils.

But it makes a great story and plenty of companies sell their version – the legitimate companies refer to the story as legend or myth. The ones to watch out for are the ones who refer to the story as if it is historic fact, or who advise topical or internal use!