An alleged ingredient of geranium oil is now one of the latest performance-enhancing supplements, and has already been linked to two fatalities. In the 1940s, Eli Lilly developed and patented a nasal decongestant known as Forthane. The active ingredient was methylhexaneamine (MHA), also known as 2-amino-4-methylhexane, 1,3-dimethylpentylamine (1,3 DMAA) or “geranamine”. Some companies are now pitching this as “geranium oil extract”, citing various aromatherapy authors (including myself) to show that geranium oil is safe and harmless. But is MHA even a constituent of geranium oil?
The Environmental Working Group, who have given birth to this legislation, is an incompetent organization that does not understand the science of toxicology, does not understand natural products, and that takes a biased, negative view of safety, often seeing dangers that do not exist.
- SCA 2011 requires that all ingredients of ingredients must be declared on product labels or company websites (where labels are not large enough). This unfairly targets companies that make natural products. A product containing several herb extracts and/or essential oils will have an ingredient list with thousands of ingredients. […]
Safety legislation does not always accord with current knowledge on safety, for the simple reason that new scientific data are always being published. Guidelines are periodically made more stringent, but they are almost never loosened, even when new information suggests it. Regulators don’t like to admit that they were wrong, and this is especially true of the European Union. In the United States, although the FDA has few regulations that directly restrict cosmetic ingredients, most manufacturers, especially the larger ones, follow both IFRA guidelines and EU regulations. Taken together, these result in some extremely stringent measures for essential oils.
The reason […]
The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (SCA 2010), now before the House of Representatives, is an inappropriate and seriously flawed attempt to make cosmetics safer. You can read the full text here. The thinking behind it is identical to a bill that was proposed (and defeated on March 1st this year) in Colorado (see Tunnel vision). Both are the brainchild of a group including the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (SFSC) and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which are in turn linked to the Skin Deep database. SCA 2010 is being opposed by groups representing small businesses […]
One of the reasons given for supporting the Colorado bill was that the targeted ingredients are more stringently restricted in Europe than in the USA. It’s true that the FDA has prohibited only 9 substances as cosmetic ingredients, compared to 1,233 currently prohibited in Europe. Well, clearly “no contest” in the legal stringency stakes. But, the great majority of the 1,233 are petroleum derivatives, and many are pharmaceutical drugs, industrial solvents, or poisons such as curare, strychnine and arsenic – you can read the full list here. Very few of them would ever be […]
The Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act failed today at approximately 8:44 pm EST on a 7-to-4 vote.
Among the ingredients that would be forbidden in personal care products in the event the Colorado bill passes are di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and 5-methoxypsoralen. DEHP is listed by the National Toxicology Program as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. Well, who wants phthalates in their products anyway?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but cold-pressed citrus oils like bergamot contain about 1 ppm of DEHP, because it leaches out of plastic tubing used in the extraction process. One part per million in a citrus oil isn’t much, and once that oil is incorporated into […]
People should expect reasonable and sensible protection from harm by those who regulate consumer products, and vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women may need special consideration. Therefore, cosmetics that are totally free of all carcinogens and teratogens may sound like a good idea. But is it realistic? And is more legislation needed?
One problem is in that word “totally”. If you want to avoid encountering one molecule of a toxic substance, then you need to either live in a bubble, or stop eating, drinking, and breathing. Traces of cyanide, for instance, are found in foods and beverages, both natural […]