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August 09, 2010

Advice for Aromatherapists and Natural Perfumers re: H.R. 5786 Safe Cosmetics Act 2010

Samara Botane Products You may think if you are a natural perfumer,  aromatherapist, massage therapist, or other alternative practitioner using essential oils or other raw botanical extracts or materials in your practice, craft or art,  that this bill will not directly affect you. At least you don’t think so.  However, you could be dead wrong.  If you are not a licensed doctor (M.D. or D.O. have the broadest authority) who can legally write a prescription, then you may be at risk under H.R. 5786 if you make essential oil blends or synergies for your clients or natural perfumes sold to clients (the general public). Thus far, essential oils have not been legally designated as either prescription or over-the-counter drugs.  The definition most used is, “A volatile oil, usually having the characteristic odor or flavor of the plant from which it is obtained, used to make perfumes and flavorings.”  In other words, they are manufacturing ingredients.

In H.R. 5786 (subchapter B), the definition of ‘ingredient’ reads:

“The term ‘ingredient’ means a chemical in a cosmetic, including - -
(A)  chemicals that provide a technical or functional effect;
(B)  chemicals that have no technical or functional effect in the cosmetic but are present by reason of having been added to a cosmetic during the processing of such cosmetic;
(C)  processing aids that are present by reason of having been added to a cosmetic during the processing of such cosmetics;
(D)  substances that are present by reason of having been added to a cosmetic during processing for their technical or functional effect;
(E)  contaminants present at levels above technically feasible detection limits;
(F)  contaminants that may leach from container materials or form via reactions over the shelf life of a cosmetic and that may be present at levels above technically feasible detection limits;
(G)  the components of a fragrance, flavor, or preservative declared individually by their appropriate label names; and
(H)  any individual components of a botanical, petroleum-derived, animal-derived, or other ingredient that the Secretary determines to be considered an ingredient. 

It is probably worth your while to ponder these definitions and take in their full impact.

Here in Washington state, the definition of ‘manufacturing’ in the state revenue code (RCW) reads:

"Manufacturer" means every person who, either directly or by contracting with others for the necessary labor or mechanical services, manufactures for sale or for commercial or industrial use from his or her own materials or ingredients any articles, substances or commodities.” (RCW 82.04.110)

"To manufacture" embraces all activities of a commercial or industrial nature where labor or skill is applied, by hand or machinery, to materials so that as a result thereof a new, different or useful substance or article of tangible personal property is produced for sale or commercial or industrial use . . . “

As you can see, this definition applies to the individual ‘person’, whether they are registered or incorporated as a business or not.  We can find similar manufacturing legislation in every state of the Union.  There is no exemption for individual practitioners, as many would define themselves.

I urge all, whether large corporations, small businesses or individuals to become more aware of the growing legislative efforts across the world that may affect the use of essential oils.  Please join the other 3,593 (and growing) signers in the advocacy efforts to oppose H.R. 5786 and make a point to stay abreast of similar legislative issues.  

Posted by Blogmistress on August 9, 2010 in Aromatherapy, Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Massage, Perfumery, Regulatory Issues | Permalink

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Comments

Thank you for writing this. I don't think the other occupations realize how far reaching this legislation will be, if passed.

Posted by: Sonsa Rae | Aug 14, 2010 4:55:52 PM

Thanks for the post and hyper link to the petition. I did sign and will continue to follow and investigate this. If this will indeed do what I have been reading to the small business', than I feel this is a wrong way to do a right thing. Yes we are all for safer cosmetics and ingredients on all our products, but I do agree,creating laws and regulations will not solve the issue and will ultimately put the very companies that care about this the most out of business.

Posted by: Rob | Aug 31, 2010 4:11:18 PM

so selling cigarettes (even to minors) is perfectly legal and supposed to be harmless but mixing some essential oils for a client/patient (after more than 20 years of education and experience) turns me into a criminal. what is happening to our world????

Posted by: Eliane | Sep 15, 2010 4:40:06 AM

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