Scores of “natural” cosmetic companies was in Washington, DC September 5-7 for the Natural Products Expo East, the largest natural products trade show on the East Coast. While most companies that sell increasingly popular “natural” soaps, shampoos and skin creams in natural supermarkets such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes do not claim their products are “organic,” an increasing number of these brands, such as Avalon Natural Products, JASON, and Nature’s Gate, are misleading consumers into thinking up to 70% of such products are in fact “organic.” The body care companies in question claim that “organic floral waters” are somehow key functional components of their products. However, floral waters, that are also called “hydrosols,” did not exist as an ingredient in body care formulations until companies started to use them to make fraudulent, inflated “organic” claims. Not only is the presence of these hydrosols largely inconsequential, their actual organic content is minimal since they are mostly ordinary distilled water. Nonetheless, various so-called “natural” body care manufacturers are using these waters to green-wash their products and make organic label claims, even though their formulations are in fact largely composed of the same conventional synthetic cleansers, conditioners and preservatives found in mainstream products. These companies assert “70% organic ingredients” on their labels and advertising to mislead consumers into thinking that they are buying mostly organic products when they assuredly are not. Similar to an infusion or tea, which is made by boiling botanical material in water, floral waters are made by steaming plants, and then cooling the steam back to water. Products made with infusions or teas cannot count the water in such teas or infusions as organic in calculating organic content under NOP food standards. However, it has become distressingly common practice to use “Steam Tea” as the main “organic” ingredient in many personal care products by misleadingly counting the ordinary water in such “Steam Teas” as organic. . The fraudulent practice of counting such water as “organic” in some major companies’ body care products has been getting a lot of attention in mainstream press, from The New York Times and Los Angeles Times to Consumer Reports. The OCA has demanded that organic body care standards should mirror the standards for organic food products. This means that: o Certified organic agricultural feed-stocks are utilized exclusively, versus petroleum or conventional vegetable feed-stocks, in the manufacture of the key basic cleansing and conditioning ingredients.
o Manufacture of such ingredients is ecological.
o The toxicity of each ingredient is minimal.
o Non-agricultural water is not counted in any shape or form as contributing to organic content. The OCA is a grassroots nonprofit organization concerned with food safety, organic farming, sustainable agriculture, fair trade and genetic engineering. related links: http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/organic_standards_cosmetics.cfm