Toxins in Your "Organic" Health & Beauty Products

#208, January 15, 2010

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins


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Special Alert: Haiti

How US Agriculture Policies Impoverished Haiti - How You Can Help Provide Relief in the Wake of the Earthquake

Haiti, hit January 12 by a devastating earthquake, is the poorest country in the hemisphere.

The first priority is to get aid to Haiti. Please donate. The Organic Consumers Association recommends the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, which is focusing its resources on helping Haiti's grassroots organizers - including those involved in sustainable agriculture projects - survive the crisis and rebuild. (Facebook users: donate through Causes and spread the word).

But, it is also important to understand why Haiti is so poor, and that Haiti did not become poor by accident, but as the result of actions of the US government - including support for violent coups - and US complicity in trade and lending policies that have destroyed civil society, crushed democracy, crashed the economy and turned a food exporting country into a food importing country, one where few have money to eat. Democracy Now has covered the effect of US action on Haiti for over a decade.

Go here to learn more about the disaster, the United States' history of "involvement" with Haiti, and to donate to help the victims.



Toxins in Your So-Called "Organic" Health & Beauty Products

Do you use Jason Pure, Natural & Organic, Avalon Organics, Kiss My Face ObsessivelyOrganic, Nature's Gate Organics, Stella McCartney 100% Organic, Giovanni Organic, Head Organics, Physicians Formula Organic Wear, Good Stuff Organics, Desert Essence Organics, or any "organic cosmetic" certified by Ecocert?

Hate to break it to you, but these so-called "organic" personal care products aren't really organic and actually contain hazardous ingredients that would never be allowed in products certified to USDA organic standards.

Yesterday, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), along with certified organic personal care brands Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, Intelligent Nutrients, and Organic Essence, filed a complaint with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), requesting an investigation into the widespread and blatantly deceptive labeling practices of leading so-called "Organic" personal care brands, in violation of USDA NOP regulations.

The complaint, filed on behalf of the estimated 50 million regular consumers of organic products, argues that products such as liquid soaps, body washes, facial cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizing lotions, lip balms, make-up and other cosmetic products produced by 12 different corporations have been advertised, labeled and marketed as "Organic" or "Organics" when, in fact, the products are not "Organic" as understood by the average health and environmental-minded organic consumer.

Read the complaint

In addition to the complaint, Organic Consumers Association's Coming Clean campaign has launched a boycott of cosmetics that claim to be organic, but aren't certified to organic standards as required by law.

Read more

We're encouraging our members to switch to USDA certified organic body care and cosmetics products, as part of a New Year's Resolution to "be more organic" in 2010.

Switching to organic health and beauty products is easy and affordable. The simplest personal care regime involves shaving with an organic shikakai shaving gel, washing your body and hair with organic soap, following that with an organic hair rinse, and then using a baking-soda-based organic deodorant and finally moisturizing with an organic lotion or balm make of vegetable oils.

On our body care page, we've listed 26 different health and beauty brands where every single item under the brand name is certified to USDA organic standards.

Learn more

We need your help to get the USDA to take enforcement action based upon our legal complaint. Please write to the USDA today.

We're also collecting the stories of consumers who have been defrauded by fake organic health and beauty care companies. Do you feel shammed? Please share your story with us.

Read more and take action



Organic Empowerment 2010: Taking Action Locally

Strategic Local Campaign of the Week: #4 - Organic, Fair Trade & Union Made Procurement

We need to shift government purchasing power away from sweatshops to organic, fair trade and union made procurement. Local governments can lead the way by making sure that their contracts for good and services prioritize organic, fair trade and union made products.

10 Local Causes to Work for in 2010



Preview: Next Week's Special Monsanto Issue

Senator Puts a Hold on Obama's Pro-Pesticide Nominee Siddiqui: Islam Siddiqui, nominated by President Obama to be the US Trade Representative's Chief Agriculture Negotiator, is currently Vice President of CropLife America, the notorious lobbying group that represents pesticide and genetic engineering companies, including the six multinational corporations that control 75% of the global agrichemical market: Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow and DuPont.

Nearly 9,000 OCA Members Tell DOJ to Break Monsanto's Monopoly: After years of complaints from the Organic Consumers Association and our allies, the Department of Justice is investigating how big biotech and food corporations, including Monsanto, are monopolizing and controlling our seeds, food and farming.

Pro-Monsanto Rajiv Shah Confirmed as USAID Director: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed overwhelming praise and relief before swearing in Shah."



Donate to OCA & Receive Access to Yoga, Fitness and Meditation Videos Online

The Organic Consumers Association is partnering with My Yoga Online to provide OCA donors with a month's worth of instructional web fitness videos at no cost with any size donation. Your donations help us continue to do the important work that you read about each week in Organic Bytes and each day on our website. Just put "yoga offer" in the comments of your donation!



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Message from our Sponsors

USDA Certified Organic Household Cleaners are Finally Here! Greenology Products Has Made History

The word “natural” continues to remain undefined and is often confusing to consumers. Many manufacturers push the boundaries of what is truly considered natural. Because of this, Greenology Products spent 18 months developing a line of organic All-Purpose, Bathroom, Glass & Kitchen Cleaners that met NOP (National Organic Program) requirements and are certified by the USDA. We have recently won approval for the worlds first and only certified organic Laundry Detergent as well. It wasn’t easy, but we were on a mission to change the way cleaning products are produced and used by families and businesses. Wanting to significantly raise the standards bar in cleaning was easy motivation for us because so much evidence points to chemical related health symptoms and poor indoor air quality at home, school and work.

As for performance, our Glass cleaner was given a “BEST” rating by the NY Times in a May 14th, 2009 review against 19 other national brand Glass cleaners. Not only are we certified organic, but the product works extremely well and is competitively priced against the national brands. It’s a win for consumers and families.