Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!!

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Thanksgiving: A More Natural Approach!

Thanksgiving is a big day of food, family, friends–and did I mention food?  This Thanksgiving I encourage you to be mindful of the ingredients you use to make your favorite dishes.  Your food will taste just as good (if not better) with a few minor adjustments!

 

Turkey:  The turkey is the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals.  Consider purchasing a local, free range, and/or organic turkey!

Why?:  Most turkey are mass produced similar to other livestock and are likely feed vegetarian GMO diets.  The impacts of GMO feed on livestock and subsequently humans is not well known.

Stuffing:   Opt for organic milk and organic eggs in your cornbread.  Use organic chicken (or vegetable) broth in place of your usual.

Why?: Milk often contains artificial growth hormones (rBST) that currently have unknown impacts on humans.  Chickens tend to be mass produced in farms that feed the chickens a vegetarian GMO diet that often live in small cramped spaces.  Conventional eggs are produced by these chickens.

Macaroni & Cheese:  Opt for organic milk or heavy cream and organic butter.

Why?:  Milk used to make conventional butter typically contains rBST and other artificial growth hormones.  Cheese tends to be very crucial to macaroni and cheese so feel free to use your favorite brand!

Candied Yams/Sweet Potato Souffle:  Opt for organic or non GMO sugar!

Why?:  Sugar can be produced from genetically modified sugar beets.  Many bulk food retailers sell comparably priced organic, fair trade, and/or non-GMO sugars.  I highly suggest making a small batch to test the flavor and adjust quantities as necessary as these sugars can be coarser and contain molasses.

Mashed Potatoes:  Opt for organic butter & organic milk/cream.

Gravy:  Opt for organic chicken broth and butter.

Apple Pie:  Opt for non-GMO, fair trade, and/or organic sugar and organic butter.  Opt for non-GMO/organic apples if it suits your budget!

Pumpkin/Sweet Potato/Pecan Pie:  Opt for non-GMO, fair trade, and/or organic sugar and organic cream.  Opt for non-GMO/organic pumpkins or sweet potatoes if it suits your budget

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Seafood:  Many like to incorporate seafood into their Thanksgiving meals in a variety of ways.  Opt for wild caught fish and certified sustainably produced shellfish.

Why?:  Most shellfish imported into the US comes from southeast Asia where farming sanitary conditions are very poor and antibiotic use is high.

 

These are all minor fixes that won’t break the bank.  Of course, you could buy all ingredients for your feast non-GMO or organic, and purchase local when accessible if you’d like!

 

How do you make your Thanksgiving more natural?

Thank you for reading!

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXXVI

You decided to finally try a product from a brand a friend has been raving about for months. The products are marketed as being 95+% natural, are available at your local pharmacy, and are at a good price point, all of which appeals to you. Is this product really as natural as it claims? Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

LabelPoise36

The Ingredients

Water (Aqua):  Safe!   Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Cetearyl Alcohol:  Safe! Typically naturally derived from Coconut and Palm Oils (though it can be derived synthetically), it is a mixture of Cetyl and Stearyl fatty alcohols.  This ingredient acts as a thickener and moisturizer in personal care products.  In pure form,  this ingredient can be a slight skin irritant and permeator, and is toxic to mucous membranes.  The is no data available on human toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, and teratogenicity.  (MSDS)

Behentrimonium Chloride:  Beware! Also known as Docosyltrimethylammonium chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride Is a “quaternary ammonium compound” made from corn (likely GMO) or canola oil. It is used as an antistatic, detangling aid, conditioning agent, and disinfectant. This product is toxic to aquatic animals, however, the concentrations in the product are likely less than 3% and should not be harmful. This product can cause skin irritation upon prolonged or repeated exposure (via MSDS), though concentrations and exposure length is not likely enough to be harmful. In pure form Behentrimonium Chloride is also an eye irritant that can cause severe and permanent damage with prolonged exposure. In the U.S. it is used in concentrations of 0.2 – 7% by weight of the formula, depending on the product. It is banned by the European Union in concentrations over 0.1% in “ready to use” products. There is no data available regarding mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. (Author’s Note: Avoid if you are averse to GMOs, I don’t recall using this ingredient in a product so err on the side of caution.) (MSDS)

Cetyl Esters:  Beware!  This ingredient is derived from vegetable sources, such as coconuts, and is typically used as a thickener in cosmetics.  It is comprised of various fatty alcohols and fatty acids.  It is typically 1 to 3% of the weight of the formula.  There is no data regarding toxicity, carcinogenicity, or mutagenicity.  (MSDS)

Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract:  Beware! This ingredient is used as a skin protecting and soothing agent. Blueberry Fruit Extract is typically used in concentrations of 5-10% by weight of a formulation. It can be an eye irritant in pure form. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Stearyl Dihydroxypropyldimonium Oligosaccharides:  Avoid!  This ingredient is used as a hair conditioning agent.  No Additional information available.  No MSDS.

Lupine Amino Acids:  Beware!  Lupine amino acids are used as skin and hair conditioning agents and humectants. This ingredient may be the same as Lupine Protein, which is a hydrolyzed protein from the seeds of the lupine plant. Lupine protein is not known to be toxic, though there is limited information available. (MSDS)

Fragrance (Parfum)**:  Safe!/Beware!  This is a generic listing of fragrance similar to other labels, however, they clearly indicate that the fragrance is ‘natural.’ This is just as ambiguous as other fragrance listings so Beware! if you are prone to allergic reactions from fragrances.

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract:  Beware!  This ingredient may be an extract of the seeds or petals of the sunflower. Both extracts are used as skin conditioning agents to promote soothing and softening effects. Sunflower extract has a high vitamin F content. It can be an irritant to skin, lungs, and eyes, though it is not known to be carcinogenic. Very limited toxicological information available. (MSDS)

Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract:  Beware!  This ingredient is an extract of Red Clover flower, which is native to Europe, west Asia, and northern Africa. It is believe to prevent hair loss and improve the elasticity and strength of hair. It is also used as an astringent and masking agent. Red Clover is a phytoestrogen and is believed to have estrogen-like effects and has been used as a treatment for menopause symptoms.  (MSDS; NIH Research)

Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil*:  Safe!  Carrot seed oil is used as an emollient and skin conditioning agent.  It is high in omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and nutrients such as Beta Carotene, vitamin A and Stigmasterol.  It is not known to be toxic, an irritant, or sensitizer.  (MSDS ; MSDS)

Ipomoea Batatas Root Lees Extract:  Avoid!  This ingredient is made from white or purple sweet potatoes grown in Japan.  Sweet potatoes are very high in beta carotene, it is believed the nutrient quantity will translate to skin benefits. Very limited information available; no MSDS.

Glycerin:  Safe!  Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture in the skin. Glycerine can be derived from fats and oils, or synthetically–which is not indicated here.  (MSDS)

Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride:  Safe!  Also known as cationic guar gum, this ingredient is a quarternary ammonium (positively charged polyatomic ions) derivative of guar gum (a natural substance). It is added to shampoos for its conditioning and anti-static properties. In pure form, the dusts of this ingredient may be an irritant, however, it is not toxic to the skin and is not known to be carcinogenic. Information on mutagenicity is not available. (MSDS; MSDS)

Trimethylolpropane Tricaprylate/Tricaprate:  Avoid! This ingredient is used as a skin conditioning agent and emollient. No additional information available. No MSDS.

Phenoxyethanol:  Beware!/Avoid!  This is a preservative.  You will notice it is very high on the list of ingredients.    It is used because it is safer than formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, though the FDA released a warning about how it can impact the central nervous system and induce vomiting in infants.  It is also suspected to be a xenoestrogen (mimics estrogen), a cause of contact dermatitis and skin irritant.  In pure form phenoxyethanol is toxic to kidneys, the nervous system, and liver; it is an extremely hazardous eye irritant and a very hazardous eye irritant, though information on carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, teratogenicity, and developmental toxicity are not available.  It is banned in the EU and Japan in concentrations over 1%.  Therefore, one would assume it is either greater than the EU concentration restraint or it is in accordance, and the remaining ingredients in this product are at very low concentrations.  This ingredient is made from 2 carcinogens (benzene and ethylene oxide), though it itself is not known to be carcinogenic.  People around small children should ‘Avoid!‘ this ingredient, others should ‘Beware!‘.  (MSDS)

Caprylyl Glycol:  Beware!  Caprylyl Glycol is used as a humectant, emollient, and wetting agent that also has anti-microbial properties. This ingredient can be synthetic or naturally derived though that information is not indicated on the bottle. It is not believed to be a skin or eye irritant, nor is it considered a mutagen. (MSDS)

Sorbic Acid:  Safe! This ingredient is a natural organic compound (C6H8O2) that is used as a preservative. It is typically produced via condensation of malonic acid and transbutenal. It is most active as an antimicrobial agent in acidic environments. It is a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form. It is not known to be carcinogenic. Other toxicological information is not available, though it is listed as “Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS)” by the FDA and is considered safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review.  (MSDS)

 

 

Nature’s Pulchritude Verdict: Though this ingredient is marketed as being natural, there are quite a few “natural” ingredients in this product that have not been tested toxicologically. Some of the other non-natural looking ingredients also lack toxicological information. This product may be worth a try, but it is not as natural as it claims to be.

Rise in Cocoa Product Prices Looming

A surge in chocolate prices has been discussed for a few months, with the reality becoming more certain.  Considering that production of the source of cocoa, cacao beans, is what is being effected, one must wonder if this will also impact consumer products that use cocoa butter in their formulations.

(Marine Cole, November 18th, 2014–Be prepared to pay more for your chocolate this season.

Candy and chocolate manufacturers, including Mars and Hershey, have been raising prices as the global consumption of cocoa has outpaced production.  Chocoholics shouldn’t double book their therapists yet, however.  There’s not likely going to be a shortage any time soon.

The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) said in June it sees a deficit of 30,000 tons in the current 2013-2014 time frame – about 100,000 tons lower than its forecast at the start of the season.  It predicted that the deficit for next season (2014-2015) should also hover around 100,000 tons.

“Production will decline and demand will continue to increase,” said Laurent Pipitone, director of economics and statistics at the ICCO during the second World Cocoa Conference, held in Amsterdam.

Demand for cocoa has been on the rise, especially as North American consumers opt for the healthier dark chocolate, which has a higher cocoa content. Yet supply has been shrinking for several reasons:

  • A growing taste for chocolate and therefore higher demand from China.
  • Dry weather in West Africa, the main cocoa production region.
  • A deadly fungus called frosty pod.
  • And to a lesser extent, Ebola, as harvesting and shipping of cocoa in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been seriously curtailed because of the disease’s impact on the population there.

As a result, the price of cocoa has been risen this year, although it fell last month. In October, the ICCO daily price averaged $3,101 per ton, down by $120 compared to the average price in the previous month.

Cocoa Beans

The rising price of cocoa has in turn prompted major chocolate manufacturers to increase their prices. Mars Inc., which makes M&M’s and Snickers, announced in July it would raise prices by an average of 7 percent to offset rising costs, for its first increase in three years. The move followed Hershey’s by a few days.

However, there’s hope that the deficit could shrink in the next few years.

The surplus and deficit of cocoa has historically heavily fluctuated.  In the 10 years between 2002 and 2012, cocoa prices fell as low as $1,534 per ton in the 2003-2004 season, when the world cocoa economy experienced a surplus of 287,000 tons, and as high as $3,246 per ton in the 2009-2010 season, when a deficit of 132,000 occurred, according to ICCO.

The cocoa economy even returned to having a surplus the following season (2010-2011), despite political unrest in Ivory Coast, the world’s top producer.

If weather conditions in West Africa continue to improve as they did in October, the situation could get better still. In addition, the frosty pod fungus that has supposedly devastated cocoa crops is actually found only in South America, where just 13 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced.

As to the impact of Ebola, ICCO noted in October that combined production in the three West African countries impacted by Ebola represents only 0.7 percent of global output and is likely to have a minor bearing on the global cocoa market.

At the same time, while demand for cocoa in North America has increased in the third quarter of 2014, it fell both in Europe and Asia compared with the previous year.

Additionally, ICCO noted at the June conference that a structural supply deficit in the cocoa market can be reversed if farmers diversify their farms.

“If we want to increase the incomes of cocoa farmers, we have to think in terms of associating cocoa with other crops, and we have to make sure these crops are grown in an intensive way, using inputs, pesticides and fertilizers,” said ICCO executive director Jean-Marc Anga at the second World Cocoa Conference.

Ghana, the world’s second largest exporter behind Ivory Coast, will soon begin to distribute free fertilizer to cocoa farmers to boost crop yields.

via CNBC (via The Fiscal Times)

 

Pulchritude: Goji

No Copyright Infringement Intended

The Goji plant is best known for its antioxidant containing berries. Also known as the wolfberry, this plant is native to southeastern Europe and Asia. The plant grows between 1-3 meters in height, with leaves that are 7 centimeters in length and 3.5 centimeters in width. Its flowers grow in groups of 1-3, with petals that are 9-14 millimeters in length and lavender to light purple in color. The fruit of the flowers is elliptical in shape a vibrant bright red-orange and grows 1-2 centimeters in length. Goji is used to refer to two species, Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense, of similar plants. Both have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine and are believed to be a treatment for nightsweats, inflammation, cough, and pneumonia, though these claims have not been supported by current medicine. The term wolfberry stems from a Chinese legend that the alpha wolf eats the berries, vines, and leaves of the plant to maintain its dominance.

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXXV

You have noticed some blemishes on your face and have decided to try a new face mask. You pick up a product that catches your eye and it claims to purify the skin with its 8 antioxidant blend–exactly what you are looking for. You figure it is a mask and don’t bother looking at the ingredients until you have the product on your face. Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

LabelPoise35

The Ingredients

Water/Aqua/Eau: Safe!   Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Bentonite: Safe! Bentonite is a clay that is primarily composed of aluminum phyllosilicates. There are multiple type of Bentonite, which correspond to the abundant element in the clay, which are typically potassium (K), sodium (Na), Calcium (Ca), or Aluminum (Al). Many commercial forms of bentonite are calcium bentonite. Bentonite is a powerful detoxifier of the skin and is believed to remove impurities. It is not known to be toxic when applied topically. (MSDS)

Kaolin:  Safe! Also known as Kaolinite and China Clay, this ingredient a clay mineral with the chemical composition Al2Si2O5(OH)4. Kaolin is believed to cleanse and purify the skin. It is not known to be toxic when applied topically. (MSDS)

Propylene Glycol:  Beware!  Propylene Glycol aka PPG is used as a penetration enhancer, humectant, and stabilizes the product despite temperature changes. This ingredient is not believed to be carcinogenic or a developmental toxin, though it may be contaminated with impurities such as Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-dioxane which are carcinogens. It is a suspected mutagen and teratogen. It is believed to be a skin irritant. In pure form it can be toxic to the central nervous system and may cause target organ damage (lungs and kidneys) with prolonged or repeated exposure. This ingredient is low on this list and should only be a low-moderate concern.  (MSDS)

Titanium Dioxide:  Safe!  This is a white pigment used for various applications.  In pure form Titanium Dioxide is a potential human carcinogen when inhaled.  Its health impacts are dependent on size based on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).  It should be fine to use in this topical product.  (MSDS)

Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract:  Beware! This ingredient is used as a skin protecting and soothing agent. Blueberry Fruit Extract is typically used in concentrations of 5-10% by weight of a formulation. It can be an eye irritant in pure form. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract:  Beware! Also known as Noni Fruit extract, this ingredient is used as a skin conditioning agent. It is a mild skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract:  Beware! Cranberry Fruit Extract is used for its astringent properties. It is also believed to have antioxidant and purifying properties. This ingredient is typically used in concentrations of 5-10% by weight of a formulation. Cranberry Fruit Extract is an eye, and lung irritant in pure form. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Garcinia Mangostana Peel/Fruit Extract:  Avoid!  This ingredient is an extract of Mangosteen and is used as a skin conditioning agent. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. No MSDS.

Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract:  Beware!  Mango Fruit Extract is used as a skin conditioning agent. This ingredient is a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Punica Granatum Extract:  Beware!  Also known as Pomegranate Extract, this ingredient is used as a fragrance agent, astringent, tonic, and antioxidant. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract:  Beware!/Avoid!  Also known as Acai extract this ingredient is used as a hair conditioning agent. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. No MSDS.

Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract:  Beware!/Avoid!  Also known as Goji Fruit Extract, this ingredient is used for its astringent, and skin and hair conditioning properties. Goji Fruit Extract is believed to have antioxidant properties. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. No MSDS.

Panthenol:  Safe!  This ingredient is a provitamin of B5.  Panthenol is an alcohol analog of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).  It is used as an anti-static and conditioning agent.  It can be derived from plants or animals therefore it may not be vegan friendly. There is debate about what benefits panthenol can actually provide to hair as a vitamin being that hair is not living.  Panthenol is a mild skin and eye irritant in pure form, though there is no information on carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, mutagenicity, or developmental toxicity.  It is low on the list of ingredients and should not be a concern.  (MSDS; MSDS)

Glycerin:  Safe!  Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture in the skin. Glycerine can be derived from fats and oils, or synthetically–which is not indicated here.  (MSDS)

Tocopherol:  Safe!  Also known as Vitamin E, Tocopherol is a is a fat soluble alcohol with antioxidant properties.  This ingredient is not known to have carcinogenic or toxic effects.  It can also be used as a preservative for oils. (MSDS)

Magnesium Aluminum Silicate:  Safe!   Magnesium Aluminum Silicate is a naturally occurring mineral clay. This ingredient is used as an absorbent, anticaking agent, and aqueous viscosity increasing agent. It can be a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form, though it is not believed to be carcinogenic. (MSDS)

Disodium EDTA:  Beware!  Also known as Edetate EDTA. EDTA is short for “Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid” and is used in cosmetics as a preservative, chelator (prevents metal ions in hard water from depositing on hair, skin, and scalp), stabilizer, and penetration enhancer. Therefore if there are toxic or harmful chemicals in this product, this ingredient can allow for them to penetrate the skin and possibly be absorbed into the bloodstream. This ingredient is used in a myriad of cosmetics and personal care products, and food (FDA Approved). The ingredient itself is not considered toxic at the low concentrations in cosmetics, but its ability to act as a penetration enhancer for other chemicals is a concern. This ingredient can also cause environmental problems as it is slow to degrade (lingers in the environment) abiotically (typically from sunlight) though it can be biotically degraded up to 80% by microorganisms in water treatment plants. (MSDS)

Sodium Polyacrylate:  Beware!  Sodium Polyacrylate is a sodium salt of polyacrylic acid. It is primarily used as a thickening agent, emulsion stabilizer, and absorbent. It is a synthetic polymer. There are concerns Sodium Polyacrylate is contaminated with known toxins acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, or 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, which occur during the synthesizing process. This ingredient is believed to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form. It is not known to be a carcinogen. (MSDS)

Methylchloroisothiazolinone:  Beware!  This ingredient is a preservative that is a known skin irritant, sensitize and allergen, as well as lung and eye irritant.  It has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties.  It is not known to be a carcinogen, though it is a skin sensitizer that can cause rashes and eczema in certain individuals.  Limited to no greater than 0.0015% in rinse of products in EU and US (in conjuction with Methylisothiazolinone 3:1). No individual MSDS found.

Methylisotiazolinone:  Beware!  This preservative is a known skin irritant, sensitizer, and allergen; lung and eye irritant. Methylisothiazolinone has been linked to allergic contact dermatitis was named Contact Allergen of the Year in 2013. It is also believed to cause burns in pure form. This ingredient is also believed to be cytotoxic (toxic to living cells) and neurotoxic (toxic tot he nervous system) based on various studies, though information has been refuted due to the low exposure based on quantity in cosmetic formulas. It is not known to be carcinogenic. This ingredient is one of many that have been used to replace parabens. Methylisothiazolinone is also very toxic to aquatic organisms in pure form. Limited to no greater than 0.0015% in rinse of products in EU and US (in conjuction with Methylisothiazolinone 3:1). (MSDS)

Fragrance (Parfum):  Beware!   Fragrances are often synthetic. Though they are low in concentration in the product, there is still a small chance of having an allergic reaction.

Butylphenyl Methyl Propional: Avoid!  Also known as Lilial and p-tert-butyl-alpha-methylhydrocinnamic aldehyde, this ingredient is used as a fragrance agent. This ingredient must be labeled when used in concentrations greater than 0.01% (by formula weight) in rinse of products and 0.001% (by formula weight) in leave on products. This ingredient is a potential sensitizer. No MSDS.

Linalool:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is used as a fragrance and is banned in rinse off products above a concentration of 0.01% (or 0.001% in leave-on products).  It is naturally occurring in various plants and spices, though it may also be made synthetically.  It is considered a skin irritant (causing eczema) and allergen, though pure linalool can have anti-cancer properties.  Given that the concentration is likely quite low it should be fine unless you are allergic to it.

Amyl Cinnamic Aldehyde:  Avoid!  Also known as Amyl Cinnamal and alpha-Amyl Cinnamic Aldehyde is a synthetic fragrance agent with a jasmine like scent. This ingredient is a potential allergen and cause of contact dermatitis. There is no toxicological information available for this ingredient. (MSDS)

Blue 1 (CI 42090): Beware!  Also known as Brilliant FCF Blue, this ingredient is used as a colorant. ( MSDS)

Yellow 5 (CI 19140): Beware!  This is a synthetic yellow dye (food coloring) also known as Tartrazine and FD&C Yellow 5.  Tartrazine is a known allergen and has various impacts on the immune system from dermal contact or ingestion.  It can be an eye irritant.  There is no data on mutagenicity, teratogenicity, developmental toxicity, or carcinogenicity.  It is not known to be toxic. (MSDS)

 

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  This product is a simple, inexpensive face mask.  The biggest concerns with this product is the propylene glycol within the first five ingredients and the synthetic fragrances.  The extracts do not have much information available, however, it is likely they are not toxic.  This is fine if you want something quick and inexpensive.  If you want a mask with all natural ingredients, buy the clay and mix it yourself!

 

 

Thank you for reading!

California Pesticide Plan Threatens Organic Farmers

Showdown looms as California eyes pesticides

 

ELLEN KNICKMEYER, SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — With organic food growers reporting double-digit growth in U.S. sales each year, producers are challenging a proposed California pest-management program they say enshrines a pesticide-heavy approach for decades to come, including compulsory spraying of organic crops at the state’s discretion.

Copyright AP

Chief among the complaints of organic growers: The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s pest-management plan says compulsory state pesticide spraying of organic crops would do no economic harm to organic producers, on the grounds that the growers could sell sprayed crops as non-organic instead.

“I would rather stop farming than have to be a conventional farmer. I think I am not alone in that,” said Zea Sonnabend, a Watsonville organic apple-grower with California Certified Organic Farmers, one of more than 30 agriculture groups, environmental organizations and regional water agencies to file concerns about the agriculture department’s pesticide provisions by an Oct. 31 state deadline.

At issue is a California organic agriculture industry that grew by 54 percent between 2009 and 2012.  California leads the nation in organic sales, according to statistics tracked by University of California-Davis agriculture economist Karen Klonsky, who says the state is responsible for roughly one-third of a national organic industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture puts the overall value of the U.S. organic sector at $35 billion.

The U.S. organic industry has seen a similar growth spurt nationally in the same time frame, and three out of four grocery stores in the country now carry at least some organic goods, according to the USDA.  California’s $43 billion agriculture industry is the largest in the country by revenue, so what happens here matters to consumers and to the agriculture industry nationwide.

The state’s more than 500-page document lays out its planned responses to the next wave of fruit flies, weevils, beetles, fungus or blight that threatens crops. Many groups challenging the plan complained that it seems to authorize state agriculture officials to launch pesticide treatments without first carrying out the currently standard separate environmental-impact review.

But Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the agriculture department, said the outline doesn’t give state crop-pest programs any power they don’t already have by law.

The state’s program is designed “to protect California’s food system through the principles of integrated pest management, while also protecting public health and the environment,” Lyle said in an email.

For some conventional growers as well as some organic ones, the fate of the pest-management plan outlined by the state isn’t a theoretical concern.

It’s an immediate issue of their economic survival due, in part, to a disease-carrying pest that’s a little bigger than a pencil point.

The disease spread by the Asian citrus psyllid kills citrus trees outright and has caused billions of dollars in damage to crops in Florida and Texas.  California’s $2.4 billion citrus industry has found incursions by the bug, but not yet significant outbreaks of the disease it carries.

The standard treatment for the citrus pest is conventional pesticides, including neocotinoids linked to the decline of crop-pollinating bees. The citrus industry and federal government also have spent $25 million to try to find, without major breakthroughs so far, less toxic controls for the citrus pest, said Joel Nelsen, head of the California Citrus Mutual industry trade-group.

Organic farmers complain about the state’s frequent reliance on pesticides, but “if we don’t eradicate the pest, their organic production is non-existent,” Nelsen said. “A pest or a disease doesn’t know if it’s eating an organic or a non-organic orange.”

Organic farmers are asking the state to give more consideration to non-toxic controls, including long-term methods to strengthen crops and habitats in advance against marauding tropical species, said Kelly Damewood, policy director for California Certified Organic Farmers.

The growing alarm over the citrus bug is part of the problem — California agriculture reels from pest emergency to pest emergency, treating most with the same pesticide programs and crop quarantines, argued James R. Carey, an entomologist at the University of California-Davis. He’s been watching California respond to invading tropical pests since at least the 1980s’ Mediterranean fruit-fly spray program.  Some programs were successful; others struck even many conventional growers as unnecessary.

“They treat this in a crisis mode in the same way they would an earthquake or a fire,” Carey said. “Most times there’s not that kind of urgency at all.

“Every pest that comes in they request federal money for, run out of money for, and it just kinds of fades away.”

(via Associated Press)

China Glaze Rodeo Fanatic (Swatches & Review)

Brand: China Glaze
Color: Rodeo Fanatic
Collection: Rodeo Diva Fall 2008

NPChinaGlazeRodeoFan1

This shade has been in my collection for years, though it has been seldom used. Rodeo Diva is a quintessential fall collection filled with dark, vampy colors–and tons of shimmer! China Glaze has long been one of my favorite polish brands because of the versatility of their color offerings. China Glaze is now big 3 free, though Rodeo Fanatic is not due to age. Rodeo Fanatic is a blue-teal color with gorgeous microglitter shimmer.

Product/Formula

The formula of this polish was good. The formula can be slightly runny causing the polish to pool a bit around the cuticle and outer nail bed. The shimmer is even throughout.

.8 Globe

China Glaze Rodeo Fanatic
China Glaze Rodeo Fanatic

Application

This polish applied well. The polish was opaque in 2 coats. The application was not streaky at all and evened out beautifully.

1 Globe

ChinaGlazeRodeoFan3

Color

This color is simply gorgeous in direct sunlight as it really showcases the shimmer and depth of the color. The color can fall a bit flat in the shade. It is a great color for fall and the shimmer gives it a different flare than a creme of a similar shade. It is cool toned would complement most skin tones.

.8 Globe

Wear

This polish wore pretty well. I did have some minor chipping after a few days of wear, but nothing very noticeable.

.9 Globe

ChinaGlazeRodeoFan2

EnviroFactor

Ingredients: Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Propyl Acetate, Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin, Isopropyl Alcohol, Tripheryl Phosphate, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Ethyl Tosylamide, Stearalkomium Bentonite, Camphor, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Benzophenone-1, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Phthalic Anhydride/Trimelic Anhydride/Glyrols Copolymer, Diethylhexyl Adenate, Acrylates Copolymer, Sucrose Benzoate, Citric Acid, Dimethicone, Kaolin (China Clay), Silica, [Pigments]

This product is big 3 free, as it contains formaldehyde resin and camphor. The other ingredients are typical of what you would find in a nail polish and some are likely toxic to the lungs and nervous system, which is not at all surprising considering it is nail polish. It is best to polish nails in a well ventilated area and do not inhale over an open bottle.

.6 Globe

Shimmers are not my ‘thing.’ It has taken me some time to truly appreciate this color. I bought this color not too long after it was released and have maybe worn it 3 times. I am pretty critical of shimmers but this one is a nice shade. It is a really pretty shade and quality product and is big 3 free.

4.1/5 Globes 

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXXIV

It is nearing flu season and you have been washing your hands more frequently. You are looking for a moisturizing hand lotion to combat the dryness of drying soaps. You came across a new brand in a health food store and wonder if this ‘natural’ product is worth a try. Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

LabelPoise34

The Ingredients

Purified Water: Safe!   Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Aloe Vera Gel (Aloe Barbadensis)*:  Safe! This ingredient is used for its nutrient content and moisturizing properties.  (MSDS;MSDS)

Vegetable Emulsifying Wax:  Beware!  This ingredient is a combination of 4 ingredients, which may vary by manufacturer: Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, PEG-150 Stearate, Steareth-20. Despite its name it is not all natural.  Of its four components Cetearyl Alcohol is of minimal concern, nor is Polysorbate 60 at low doses.  However there is significant concern about  PEG-150 Stearate, which is a polyethlyene glycol derivative, may be contaminated with ethlyene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, and is linked to carcinogenicity, endocrine disruption, developmental toxicity, and skin irritation.   Steareth-20 is believed to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane if not properly purified.  It is not listed as a skin irritant, though it may be an eye irritant.  There is no information on carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, teratogenicity, or developmental toxicity.  It is typically used as 5-10% of the formulation.  (MSDS)

Glyceryl Stearate: Safe!  Also known as Glyceryl Monostearate, this ingredient is typically derived from vegetable sources such as palm kernel and soy oil, and is the glycerol ester of stearic acid.  It is used as an emulsifier, stabilizer, lubricant, and decreases the ‘greasiness’ of oils.  It is believed to form a barrier on the skin to decrease moisture loss.  In pure form is is a slight skin irritant.  The is no data available on human toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, and teratogenicity. This ingredient is considered “generally regarded as safe” by the FDA.  (MSDSMSDS )

Apricot (Prunus Armeniaca) Kernel Oil: Safe! Apricot Kernel Oil is high in linoleic and oleic acids, and also contains antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E. It can be used as an emollient and is easily absorbed into skin.

Avocado (Persea Gratissima) Oil: Safe! This oil contains Vitamin E and contains antioxidants.

Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Seed Oil: Safe!  Safflower oil is made from safflower seeds and is high in monounsaturated fatty acids. Safflower oil helps the skin retain moisture and promote elasticity. It may be a slight skin and eye irritant, though it is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or a developmental toxin.  (MSDS)

Wheat Germ (Triticum Vulgare) Oil: Safe!   This oil is obtained from the germ of the wheat kernel and has the highest vitamin E content of any other vegetable oil. Wheat germ oil is also high in linoleic acid. It is used as a skin conditioning agent and moisturizer. (MSDS)

Glycerin: Safe!  Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture in the skin. Glycerine can be derived from fats and oils, or synthetically–which is not indicated here.  (MSDS)

Borage Seed Oil (Borago Officinalis): Safe! Borage seed oil is extracted from the seed of the borage (starflower) herb. Borage seed oil has the highest lineolic acid content of any seed oil. It is commonly used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. It is used as a moisturizer and skin conditioning agent. (MSDS)

Shea Butter (Butryrospermum Parkii):  Safe!  This ingredient is derived from the nut of the Shea Tree and is used for its moisturizing properties.  (MSDS)

Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacaoseed): Safe!  Cocoa butter is used for its skin conditioning properties.  It is high in antioxidants and are high in saturated fats. It is also used as an emollient.

Dimethicone: Beware! Dimethicone is a synthetic chemical polymer siloxanes derived from silica. They are used as a skin conditioning agent and it forms a protective barrier on the skin the prevents moisture from leaving or entering, which can be harmful to skin. (MSDS)

Cetyl Alcohol:  Safe!  This is a fatty alcohol that is often used as an emollient and emulsifier in conditioners. It is typically derived naturally from coconut or palm oil.  (MSDS)

Vitamin E Acetate: Safe!/Beware!  Also known as tocpheryl Acetate, this ingredient has antioxidant properties and can penetrate skin cells. It is generally regarded as safe, however, there is limited information (not on a MSDS) linking it to cancer so use your best discretion. (MSDS)

Ethylhexyl Glycerin: Beware! This ingredient is a glyceryl ether and is the condensation product of 2-ethylhexanol and glycerin. This ingredient is typically derived from vegetable oil, but goes through various chemical transformations before becoming the final product. It is used as a skin conditioning agent, deodorizer, and very mild preservative. It is typically used in concentrations of 0.0003 – 2% by weight of a formula. Though it is used in the treatment of eczema, it is believed to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant. It is not known to be carcinogenic, a reproductive, developmental toxin, or genotoxin. No Individual MSDS. (CIR Report; MSDS: Caprylyl Glycol & Ethylhexylglycerin).

Natural Fragrance: Safe!/Beware!  This is a generic listing of fragrance similar to other labels, however, they clearly indicate that the fragrance is ‘natural.’ This is just as ambiguous as other fragrance listings so Beware! if you are prone to allergic reactions from fragrances.

Phenoxyethanol:  Beware!/Avoid!   Phenoxyethanol is used because it is safer than formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, though the FDA released a warning about how it can impact the central nervous system and induce vomiting in infants.  It is also suspected to be a xenoestrogen (mimics estrogen), a cause of contact dermatitis and skin irritant.  In pure form phenoxyethanol is toxic to kidneys, the nervous system, and liver; it is an extremely hazardous eye irritant and a very hazardous eye irritant, though information on carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, teratogenicity, and developmental toxicity are not available.  It is banned in the EU and Japan in concentrations over 1%.  Therefore, one would assume it is either greater than the EU concentration restraint or it is in accordance, and the remaining ingredients in this product are at very low concentrations.  This ingredient is made from 2 carcinogens (benzene and ethylene oxide), though it itself is not known to be carcinogenic.  People around small children should ‘Avoid!‘ this ingredient, others should ‘Beware!‘.  (MSDS)

 

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  Though this ingredient is marketed as being natural, it has several questionable ingredients (Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, etc.).  There are lotions with better ingredients on the market, but this product should be just fine for a hand moisturizer.

Major Consumer Products Brand to Disclose Product Specific Fragrance Ingredients

Fragrances are arguably the biggest grey area when it comes to consumer products.  The chemical composition of fragrances are not disclosed on current consumer product labels because of trade secret laws.  However, it is widely believed that many fragrances contain allergens, irritants, possible* reproductive toxins, and possible* carcinogens.  Various reputable scientific studies have confirmed these beliefs.

SC Johnson Announces Plans to Disclose Product-Specific Fragrance Ingredients

First Major Company to Disclose Fragrance Ingredients; Builds on SC Johnson Ingredient Disclosure Leadership

Oct. 9, 2014  — SC Johnson announced today that it will expand its ingredient disclosure efforts by providing product-specific fragrance ingredient information. The announcement marks a transformational initiative by a major U.S. consumer packaged goods company to provide fragrance ingredient information at the product level.

Beginning in the spring of 2015, consumers will have access to the main ingredients used to create the fragrances in SC Johnson products. SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson announced the initiative during his remarks at the American Oil Chemists’ Society World Conference in Montreux, Switzerland, on Thursday.

Expanding on its voluntary ingredient disclosure program, SC Johnson will begin disclosing air care fragrance ingredients present at the highest concentrations down to .09 percent of the product formula. The number of fragrance ingredients disclosed will vary by product but, on average, consumers should expect to find a range of 10 to 50 fragrance ingredients. Consumers will be able to access this information on WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com or by calling the SC Johnson consumer product helpline.

SC Johnson will first begin to disclose product-specific fragrance ingredients in its air care products – including sprays, candles, oils and gels – initially in the U.S. and Canada, followed by Europe. The program will then expand into other SC Johnson product categories, including home cleaning. For those product categories outside of air care, where fewer fragrance ingredients are used, SC Johnson will list fragrance ingredients present at a concentration of more than .09 percent in the final product or the top 10 fragrance ingredients, whichever provides the most information for consumers. Additional fragrance ingredients found in SC Johnson products that are not disclosed are present at extremely low concentrations and will continue to be available via the company’s online palette of fragrance ingredients.

SC Johnson has consistently been an industry leader in ingredient disclosure. In 2009, SC Johnson launched the site WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com to voluntarily disclose ingredients for the company’s lineup of air care and home cleaning products, each with a consumer-friendly list of ingredients. In 2012, SC Johnson announced the release of its Exclusive Fragrance Palette to provide consumers with a comprehensive list of the fragrance ingredients found in the company’s products. In 2013, the company began adding pest control and other registered products to the site.

(Press Release via Yahoo Finance Canada)