August 29, 2012

Book review: The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple

By Robert Tisserand

At almost 850 pages, there’s plenty of reading here. Unfortunately, this book is replete with errors. There are innumerable mis-spellings of the names of chemicals. Terpinen-4-ol is an alcohol, not a phenol, and bergamotene is a terpene, not a furanocoumarin. On page 374 we read that “Coumarins are thought to be antispasmodic, as are many other esters.” Coumarin is not an ester. Stewart mentions that myrrh oil is rich in ‘furanoid compounds’ – well yes, it is indeed rich in FURANS, and he goes on to say that“furanoid compounds can amplify ultraviolet light and can make an oil phototoxic.” (p23/24). Well, I don’t know why he wants myrrh oil to be phototoxic, but it isn’t, because it contains no FURANOCOUMARINS. Using the term ‘furanoid compounds’ fails to make a vital distinction – between (phototoxic) furanocoumarins, and (non-phototoxic) furans.

In some cases Stewart seems to have copied mistakes from other sources, without realizing they were mistakes. l-Limonene is quite often given instead of d-limonene, and methyleugenol has curiously disappeared as an essential oil constituent altogether – Stewart does not list it a constituent of any of the oils it is actually found in! Furanocoumarins are frequently cited that may indeed be present in the plant but are not found in the essential oil.

He has made a valiant effort to list the components of 113 essential oils, but the method he used – combining data from various books – is risky. The end result is said to represent a ‘typical’ essential oil, but is rather hit-and-miss, and in many cases does not represent any existing essential oil at all. Some of the total percentages add up to more than 100%. Reporting constituent chemistry from different sources is a challenge I am often confronted with myself, but there are more elegant solutions.

Stewart is highly critical of what he calls the ‘British School’ of aromatherapy, because it espouses the idea that some essential oils can be dangerous, and because, according to Stewart, it “relies on scientific research on animals”. However, he does take on board the idea that some furanocoumarins are phototoxic. Stewart perhaps does not realize that phototoxicity in essential oils is almost entirely based on RIFM research using pigs, and much of the ‘French’ information about essential oil constituents that Stewart cites is based on animal research. If the book was properly referenced, this would be obvious. He also criticizes the British for “usually applying only certain compounds isolated from essential oils rather than the whole oil.” (p4) It is difficult to fathom from where he plucked this outrageous notion!

There is a massive amount of information here, but there is not a single scientific reference to back up any of it. The result is an uncomfortable mix of fact and fiction. The book perpetuates the myth that any dangers of essential oils (apart from phototoxicity) only apply to what he calls ‘perfume grade’ oils, which, according to Stewart, British aromatherapists like to use! I’m not sure then, who buys all the independently certified organic essential oils sold in Britain. There is no ‘perfume grade’ of essential oil (on either side of the Atlantic), nor is there a ‘therapeutic grade‘. [The grades that do exist are various organic certifications, ISO standards, BP (British Pharmacopeia) standards, and FCC (Food Chemicals Codex) standards.]

Stewart does humanity and science a disservice by alleging that it is impossible for an essential oil to cause an allergic reaction: “Occasionally, a person receiving essential oils claims to have had allergic reaction to them….such a reaction is never allergenic…they are usually therapeutic and indicate the initiation of a cleansing, healing process.” (p451) Stewart goes on to explain his hypothesis that essential oil constituents cannot be allergenic, because they are not composed of amino acids. No, they are not composed of amino acids, but yes, they can in fact cause allergic reactions, because an essential oil constituent such as cinnamaldehyde (known as a ‘hapten‘) can combine with proteins in the skin and can then be recognized by the immune system as an allergen. This is not new science, and Stewart’s bending of the facts to suit his world view is shameful and potentially dangerous.

There is a lot of information in this book and it is by no means all wrong, but the fact-to-error ratio is too rich for me, and the way he plays with words to make ‘his truth’ look like fact is disturbing. On page 462 he states: “There has never been a documented instance of antigen-antibody response (i.e. sensitization) to an essential oil. Essential oil antibodies have never been found or detected in anyone. Never.” The last part is true, but only because (a) you can’t have an antibody to an essential oil, only an essential oil constituent (is this genuine ignorance of basic biology, or just more fact-bending?), and (b) no scientist has ever found antibodies to essential oil constituents, because no scientist has ever looked for them. Perhaps the clinical reality of an allergic reaction needs no proof. Here are two documented cases of allergic reaction to cinnamon bark oil:

Ackermann L, Aalto-Korte K, Jolanki R et al 2009 Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from cinnamon including one case from airborne exposure. Contact Dermatitis 60:96-99

Sánchez-Pérez J, García-Díez A 1999 Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from eugenol, oil of cinnamon and oil of cloves in a physiotherapist. Contact Dermatitis 41:346-347

The IFRA safety standards require that cinnamon bark oil should not be used on the skin at more than 0.6%, to avoid allergic reactions.
Essential Oil Safety – a rebuttal
Stewart is critical of my book, Essential Oil Safety. Here are some of his comments:
Much of the research cited is on the toxic effects of single components of an oil, which is an invalid application of science. This is an incredible statement, considering that most of Stewart’s book is devoted to explaining essential oil chemistry, and the relationships between constituents and therapeutic properties. On page 468, for instance, Stewart says: “essential oils rich in phenols should be used with caution when applying to the skin.” If extrapolating single component data to whole essential oils is not OK when I do it, why is it OK when Stewart does it?

Furthermore, as the authors point out, in all of the studies they cite, the data are for animals (not people) and/or the tests were not for the whole oil but for isolated compounds of an oil. These types of studies are not valid indicators of the behavior of oils in actual practice. (p21/22) This is simply not true, and is not stated anywhere in the Essential Oil Safety text. There are many studies cited in Essential Oil Safetywhere whole essential oils were patch-tested on individuals (such as the two reports for cinnamon above), and there are many cited cases of poisoning from whole essential oils. And, see my previous comment.

There are two places where I have been mis-quoted:

1) In the preface the authors state “this text was largely an extrapolation of toxicological reports from the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM).” In other words, this book is based on data that apply only to perfume grade oils which are customarily refined, denatured, and laced with synthetics. (p787)

This is what the preface actually says:
“This book [i.e. Essential Oil Safety] replaces The Essential Oil Safety Data Manual by Robert Tisserand, first published in 1985. This text was largely an extrapolation of toxicological reports from the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM).” So , I was not referring to Essential Oil Safety at all, I was referring to a previous, and very much smaller book.

2) These authors state on p ix, “the majority of essential oils we recommend should not be available to the general public”. In their opinion, the majority of essential oils should be restricted only to what they would regard as “qualified aromatherapists.” (p788)

This is what is actually said:
“In the UK and USA at least, it is currently possible to purchase, by mail order, the majority of the essential oils which we recommend should not be available to the general public.” Stewart is trying to make it sound as if I don’t believe essential oils should be available to the general public. Of the 450 odd essential oils produced today, I do believe that a dozen or so should not be publicly sold, because they are so toxic. To suggest that I am not in favor of ordinary people having access to essential oils is just incredible. David Stewart, what do you think I have been doing for the past 40 years? Why is there a brand of essential oils called Tisserand Aromatherapy? Why are these essential oils available to anyone? Why did I write The Art of Aromatherapy in 1977? And what was I thinking when I wrote a book called Aromatherapy for Everyonein 1988?

In both cases, by omitting the first part of the sentence, the meaning has been completely changed. And in the second quote, two words were omitted to further change the meaning. It’s sad that someone should invest so much energy in writing a comprehensive text, and then sabotage it by trying to bend the truth to suit a commercial agenda. (And if there is no commercial agenda, why are Young Living products mentioned throughout the book?)

Robert Tisserand is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in many aspects of aromatherapy since 1969 and frequent contributor to the aromaconnection blog.

Posted by Blogmistress on August 29, 2012 in Aromatherapy, Education, Research, Safety/Toxicity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2011

Negative Bias

by Robert Tisserand

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 that US manufacturers follow EU guidelines is because, if they sell internationally, they use one formulation that works in all regions – multiple formulations are uneconomic. And, although IFRA guidelines are technically a voluntary code, they are very widely adhered to for two reasons. One, almost all

Coriandrum sativum

large cosmetics manufacturers are full members of IFRA, and as such they formally agree to follow the IFRA code. Two, even non-members want to be sure they are manufacturing safe products, plus they don’t want to risk the possible legal ramifications of not adhering to industry best-practice guidelines. IFRA recently put out a video called Making Scents, which you can find here.

In spite of all this, some North American consumer groups are concerned that many personal care products contain ingredients that are highly toxic, and that are banned in Europe. There are particular concerns about fragrances, which are said to contain chemicals that are hormone disrupting, neurotoxic, teratogenic or

Coriandrum sativum

carcinogenic. The fact that fragrance ingredients are not declared on labels feeds the perception of hidden toxins lurking. However, these concerns are often misplaced. For example, fears of neurotoxicity may be inappropriately based on the results of toxicity testing, in which the signs and symptoms of a fatal dose are noted. And, concerns about skin allergy are sometimes based on results that, when closely examined, do not represent a significant risk for consumer products.

There is a growing hysteria about “chemicals” in consumer products, as if the fact of a substance being a chemical made it inherently toxic. It is understandable that consumers do not know the difference between a synthetic chemical and a naturally-occurring one. (Synthetic chemicals, while not necessarily more toxic, are less environmentally friendly.) However, even the Environmental Working Group appears not to know which essential oils contain which chemical constituents.

The European Union “allergens”
In 2003, the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products (SCCNFP) published a directive listing 26 fragrance materials as skin allergens (SCCNFP 1999). One of the criteria listed was that “Positive patch test data from more than one patient in more than one independent centre should be present.” In other words, a substance could be listed as an allergen if there were two or more reports of skin allergy. Even if these two reports occurred over, say, 20 years. Several papers have since been published strongly suggesting that many of the 26 fragrance materials should not be listed as allergens at all. The EU has done nothing but dig its heels in.

Linalool is one of the EU “allergens”. If present in a cosmetic product at over 100 ppm (0.01%) in a wash-off product or 10 ppm (0.001%) in a leave-on product, linalool must be declared on the ingredient list if sold in an EU member state. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? The problem is, neither manufacturers nor retailers want to get sued, or branded as selling unsafe products, and most retailers will only carry cosmetics that have passed an independent safety assessment, which is almost entirely based on looking at the levels of “allergens”. So the de facto result is that very few manufacturers take the risk of having a “known allergen” in a product at over the declarable amount.

Linalool is a major constituent of some commonly-used essential oils and is found in approximately 200 other essential oils. But linalool is not a high-risk allergen. In fact, it’s superlatively safe on the skin. Between 1969 and 2007 (38 years), a total of thirteen dermatitis patients out of the 25,164 tested, (0.05%) were allergic to linalool when patch tested, and less than this actually had allergic reactions to products containing linalool (De Groot 1987, De Groot et al 2000, Fregert and Hjorth 1969, Frosch et al 1995, Itoh et al 1986, Santucci et al 1987, Schnuch et al 2007). Yes, 0.05% is more than zero, but it’s pretty close to the 0.03% reaction rate for petrolatum, the least dermally allergenic substance known to mankind. One way of looking at this is that adding linalool to a product increases risk by about 0.02%. That’s probably less than almost any other known cosmetic ingredient.

Linalool table

But, this assumes that patch testing reflects real-world risk, which it does not, in fact it is designed to exaggerate risk. It does this in two ways. One, patches are non-permeable, and are left adhered to the skin for 48 hours. Two, the concentrations used in testing are higher than those encountered in personal care products. Linalool is tested at a 5%, 10% or 20% dilution. Since skin allergies are dilution-dependent, lower dilution will carry less risk. There is no dermatological or other scientific rationale that suggests extrapolating data from a 10% dilution to a safety threshold of 0.001% – 10,000 times less! Quite the opposite – the clinical data suggest that a 10% concentration of linalool in cosmetics is virtually non-allergenic. When tested at 5% on a total of 1,399 dermatology patients, linalool produced not one single allergic reaction (Frosch et al 1995, Itoh et al 1986, Santucci et al 1987).

The EU listed linalool as an allergen because – according to their own report – five dermatitis patients had allergic reactions to it over a five-year period on patch testing. Considering that linalool is (or at least used to be) one of the most commonly-used fragrance materials, an average of one reported adverse reaction per year, on planet earth, is about a negligible as it is possible to get. But, this still does not represent actual risk to consumers, which is likely much lower.

Data from Schnuch et al 2007

Data from Schnuch et al 2007

Of the 26 EU “allergens”, 16 are essential oil constituents and two are absolutes. In 2007, these were each tested on groups of 2,000 or more dermatology patients. Of the 16, six produced so few adverse reactions that the report concluded that they should not be classed as allergens at all. Benzyl benzoate, for example, produced not a single adverse reaction in 2,003 patients (Schnuch et al 2007). The other non-allergenic constituents are linalool, limonene, benzyl alcohol, benzyl salicylate and anisyl alcohol, and other dermatologists have questioned the classification of linalool and anisyl alcohol as allergens (Gilpin and Maibach 2010, Hostýnek and Maibach 2003a). Other research has shown that adverse reactions to coumarin are due to impurities present in the synthetic coumarin used for testing, and that 99% pure coumarin is not allergenic (Vocanson et al 2006, 2007). And, Hostýnek and Maibach (2003b) argue that the evidence for farnesol being an allergen is highly debatable. If we add farnesol and coumarin to the list of spurious allergens, then 50% of the EU 16 are a mistake.

These voices of dissent are not insignificant, and include some of the most distinguished dermatologists in the world. They question whether the patch test information is “clinically relevant”, and whether it can be extrapolated to estimate risk in the general population. Certainly, the percentages in the Table above under “% of patients reacting” do not represent real-world risk, and for many of these substances there is not a single case of skin reaction that has been proven to be caused by the substance in question. What these numbers do suggest is the relative potency between the different substances. Or at least, it would if they had all been tested at the same % concentration. And just to be clear, the division into three groups by Schnuch et al is theirs, not mine.

The David Suzuki Foundation
Paradoxically, EU cosmetics legislation is frequently cited in North America as an example of what cosmetics legislation should look like. In Canada for example, the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF), an environmental activist group, has this message for their supporters: “Consumers have the right to know about all ingredients contained in cosmetics – including fragrance chemicals. European regulations are stronger. They require 26 sensitizers used as cosmetic fragrances to be identified on the label. That’s a start, and it’s better than what we have in Canada.”

The DSF says that their mission is “to protect the diversity of nature” but the European legislation unfairly targets the farmers that grow the plants that produce the essential oils that contain the chemicals that David Suzuki wants to see identified on labels, a move which will inevitably lead to further restriction. I am not opposed to the principal of ingredient declaration for fragrances, and I applaud those manufacturers that have already made this move. However, I believe that if a product contains lavender oil, this should be declared as “lavender oil”, and the 70 or so constituents of lavender oil should not have to be listed. I have already argued here against the idea that constituents of ingredients should be declared on cosmetic labels.

The Environmental Working Group
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a US-based organization that calls even more stridently for increased legislation of fragrance ingredients. Fragrances, we are told, contain chemicals that are neurotoxic, teratogenic, carcinogenic and hormone disrupting.

Lemon 500x332On its Skin Deep database, the EWG bases hazard ratings of essential oil constituents largely on the flawed EU legislation. The EWG makes no reference to the dissenting voices in the scientific community, either because it is unaware of such dissent, or because it chooses to ignore it. The EWG is not a regulatory body, nor does it publish safety guidelines, it simply labels a cosmetic ingredient with a number from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most hazardous. It does give some explanation for how this number is arrived at, but no specific recommendations are made. Skin Deep gives linalool a hazard rating of 4. However, Aniba rosaeodora (Rosewood) oil, which contains 82-90% linalool, has a hazard rating of 0-1. Coriander seed oil, which contains 59-88% linalool, has a hazard rating of 1. These hazard ratings seem to be inconsistent.

Skin Deep, at least, is consistent in its inconsistency. Limonene has a hazard rating of 6, and yet lemon oil (57-76% limonene) has a hazard rating of 0, and sweet orange oil (84-96% limonene) a hazard rating of 1. Safrole (a rodent carcinogen) is given a hazard rating of 7, while sassafras oil (83-90% safrole) is given a hazard rating of 0. Sassafras oil contains more safrole than any other essential oil. Some other carcinogens found in essential oils, asarone and estragole for instance, are not even mentioned on the Skin Deep database. Pulegone is a hepatotoxic compound found in pennyroyal oil. In spite of this, both the compound and the essential oil are rated as 0. Go figure.

If you look at “Fragrance” on the EWG’s Skin Deep database, you will see that it has a rating of 8. This applies to any fragrance at all, and 11,376 products are listed. This seems more like a declaration of war on the personal care products industry than a genuine safety guideline! And note that “fragrance” is rated as far more hazardous than either sassafras oil (a known carcinogen) or pennyroyal oil (a known hepatotoxin). The principal reasons given for the high rating for fragrance are:

Allergies & immunotoxicity
Data gaps

It’s worth taking a closer look at the Skin Deep rationale:

Allergies & immunotoxicity
This is further defined as “linked to immunotoxicity, or harm to the immune system, a class of health problems that manifest as allergic reactions or an impaired capacity to fight disease and repair damaged tissues in the body.” Perfume is then cited as a “known human immune system toxicant”, and a single reference is given: SCCNFP 1999. This is the opinion paper that eventually became a legal directive in 2003.

Since this is a 63 page document, there is insufficient space here to dissect it in detail. To pick one simple fact, the document concerns 24 fragrance ingredients that, it is recommended, should be restricted in consumer products because they are potential contact allergens (oakmoss absolute and treemoss absolute were added later). This is to say, 24 of the estimated 3,000 existing fragrance ingredients, or 0.8%. To conclude from this that all fragrances present a high, or even a moderate risk of skin allergy is negative bias, because it is not based on real-world risk.

Returning to the Skin Deep wording, something is amiss. A single reference is given for skin allergy, but no supporting evidence is cited for immunotoxicity, which is a much more serious hazard. This could be viewed as a deliberate manipulation of words and/or facts in order to mislead and suggest negative information that does not exist. Skin allergy is indeed a sub-category of immunotoxicity, but the principal meaning of the word – causing damage to the immune system – does not apply. But, because Skin Deep couches these terms together “Allergy/Immunotoxicity”, and because it has – quite correctly – defined immunotoxicity as damage to the immune system, any substance that can cause skin allergy is also flagged by implication, as reducing your capacity to fight disease, which is something totally different. Since there is no evidence of immunotoxicity, apart from skin allergy, this looks like negative bias again.

This is defined as “ingredient not fully labeled – identity unknown”. Indeed, fragrance is not a single ingredient, and the great majority of fragranced products do not fully declare their fragrant ingredients. This has been a subject of debate for some time, and is a reasonable criticism in terms of transparency. However, it is not, per se, any kind of risk assessment or toxicity rating, it is simply a fact, an observation.

This is defined as “Linked to neurotoxicity, or harm to the brain and nervous system, a class of health problems that can range from subtle developmental delays to chronic nerve degeneration diseases.” One reference is given, which is said to provide “moderate evidence” of neurotoxicity. The reference is: USHR (U.S. House of Representatives), 1986. Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace. Report by the Committee on Science & Technology, Report 99-827. Sept 16 1986. In this report it is claimed that over 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum, including benzene derivatives, aldehydes and other toxins and sensitizers capable of causing cancer, birth defects central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.

The report is not a scientific study, and so what we have is nothing but hearsay. Somebody said/wrote something, so the “has been linked to” is satisfied! All fragrances have now “been linked to” neurotoxicity. This is a very serious charge. Note that the EWG claim is that they “provide additional information on personal care product ingredients from the published scientific literature.” Not always it seems. And note that ALL FRAGRANCE is flagged as being “linked to” neurotoxicity. “Benzene derivatives, aldehydes and other toxins and sensitizers” is, by the way, an interesting choice of words in itself, since it implies that all the benzene derivatives and/or aldehydes used in fragrances are toxic and/or skin sensitizing. This is simply not true.

Data gaps
This is explained as “not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel.” This cryptic statement is odd to say the least. The implication is that no fragrance-related organization has assessed “fragrance” for safety in cosmetics. It seems that Skin Deep are unfamiliar with an organization called IFRA – the International Fragrance Association – that has been assessing fragrance for safety in consumer products for some 40 years. IFRA has many fragrance-related safety standards. That’s pretty much all they do. In my opinion, IFRA standards are often over-reaching and too stringent.  So, what exactly is meant by “Data gaps” for fragrance is, well, anyone’s guess.

At the end of the Skin Deep page on Fragrance is some useful information: “1,452 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemical” And then there is a link to PubMed. These are the search criteria: (”FRAGRANCE”[TW] OR “FRAGRANCE”[TW] OR “PARFUM”[TW] ) AND (*toxic* OR cosmet* OR derm* OR irritation OR sensiti* OR “personal care products” OR skin OR gavage OR mutagen* OR carcinogen* OR “biological activity”). Fine, great, useful, practical. What I really don’t get though, is why these 1,452 research papers are listed under the heading “Data gaps”. Isn’t this actually quite a lot of information?

Perhaps the Skin Deep approach is: “if you won’t tell us what’s in your fragrances, then we’re going to assume the worst”. But, since there’s very little evidence that fragrance causes any real harm anyway, assuming the worst involves some academic acrobatics that are shameful and not worthy of scientific credibility. Insinuation, implication and “has been linked to” is not evidence of anything, and the liberal use of this tactic shows negative bias.

Linalool: a narcotic?
A Google search for “Linalool: a narcotic” comes up with 19,200 hits. This is because the following piece of advice about a well-known fabric softener and dryer sheet fragrance is repeated that many times:

* Ethanol: On the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders.
* Limonene: Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Immunotoxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, and Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant.
* A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage.
* Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list.
* Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders.
* Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic.
* Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders.

I’m not going to go into the validity of every single claim made here, but I will tell you that most of it is either incorrect or highly misleading. Ethanol for example, known to most of us simply as alcohol, can of course cause CNS disorders if you drink enough of it. But in a dryer sheet? Are you kidding? Some of the sites that include the above information go into more detail on linalool:

LINALOOL Narcotic. Causes CNS disorders. …”respiratory disturbances” …”Attracts bees.” “In animal tests: ataxic gait, reduced spontaneous\motor activity and depression …depressed heart activity …development of respiratory disturbances leading to death.”

Abdominal injectionMediumThis information is entirely derived from LD50 testing of linalool (Jenner et al 1964, Letizia et al 2003). This is the classic test to find the single lethal dose for any substance. Rats and mice are most commonly used, and the dose cited is the one that is lethal to 50% of the animals. When you give a mammal a fatal dose of a substance it is not unusual to see some adverse effects on the nervous system, such as staggering, difficulty breathing etc., nor is it surprising if there are “respiratory disturbances leading to death.” Ataxic (unsteady) gait is probably mentioned in a majority of all LD50 test results. The oral LD50 values for linalool range from 2.2 to 3.9 g/kg, which is equivalent to an average adult human drinking 154 – 270 g (5.4 – 9.5 oz). In one of the studies, a non-fatal dose of linalool had a sedative effect on mice when injected into the abdomen at 178 mg/kg, and impaired muscle co-ordination (Atanassova-Shopova et al 1973). This is equivalent to a human dose of 12.5 mL, or 0.44 oz.

None of this means that your dryer sheets are going to kill you or your family. Nor will they cause you to faint, sway, fall over, lose control of your muscles, or otherwise behave as if drunk or dying. If you have multiple chemical sensitivity you may react adversely to any fragrance material, but not necessarily because that substance is itself inherently toxic. Unless you are in the habit of either drinking linalool by the cupful or injecting half an ounce of it into your abdomen, you may safely ignore these dire warnings, which have absolutely no relevance to the use of linalool in cosmetic or household products.

At least as far as essential oils are concerned, the EWG database reveals a shocking degree of ineptitude. They seem to have no idea which essential oils contain which constituents, and they only know about legal restrictions, which they automatically support 100%. If the EU says that linalool is a skin allergen, then it must be right. The EWG staff don’t seem to have read most of the toxicological literature, which they simply give a PubMed link to, and throw this in under “Data gaps”! They are just tossing out information hoping that some of it will stick. There is no science-based risk assessment, and the hazard ratings don’t tell you how much (or how little) of a substance is safe.

The EWG has helped stir up considerable hysteria about cosmetic safety. Increasingly, we see articles, blog posts and videos put out by people who are repeating misinformation and who often have no idea what they are talking about. That this should lead to the targeting of essential oil constituents is highly ironic, considering the very real healing benefits that they have to offer – from skin cancer prevention, to the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections. And it is happening because of ignorance. We seem to entering a new Dark Age, where truth is measured by Google hit numbers, and scientific fact no longer counts for anything. In some cases safety legislation, instead of reflecting the science, is usurping and replacing it. Another irony is how EU cosmetics legislation is regarded in North America with something approaching reverence while in Europe it is regarded as, at worst, a Nazi-based tyranny (I’m not making this up – there’s quite a conspiracy theory…) and at best, a major hassle.

Atanassova-Shopova S, Roussinov KS, Boycheva I 1973 On certain central neurotropic effects of lavender essential oil. II communication: studies on the effects of linalool and of terpineol. Bulletin of the Institute of Physiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences 15:149-156

De Groot, AC 1987 Contact allergy to cosmetics: causative ingredients. Contact Dermatitis 17:26-34

De Groot AC, Coenraads PJ, Bruynzeel DP et al 2000 Routine patch testing with fragrance chemicals in the Netherlands. Contact Dermatitis 42:184-185.

Fregert S, Hjorth N 1969 Results of standard patch tests with substances abandoned. Contact Dermatitis Newsletter 5:85

Frosch PJ, Pilz B, Andersen KE et al 1995 Patch testing with fragrances: results of a multicenter study of the European Environmental & Contact Dermatitis Research Group with 48 frequently used constituents of perfumes. Contact Dermatitis 33:333-342

Gilpin S, Maibach H 2010 Allergic contact dermatitis from farnesol: clinical relevance. Cutaneous & Ocular Toxicology 29:278-287

Hostýnek JJ, Maibach HI 2003a Is there evidence that anisyl alcohol causes allergic contact dermatitis? Exogenous Dermatology 2:230-233

Hostýnek JJ, Maibach HI 2003b Is there evidence that linalool causes allergic contact dermatitis? Exogenous Dermatology 2:223-229

Itoh M, Ishihara M, Hosono K et al 1986 Results of patch tests conducted between 1978 and 1985 using cosmetic ingredients. Skin Research 28(Suppl.2):110-119

Jenner PM, Hagan EC, Taylor JM et al 1964 Food flavorings and compounds of related structure I. Acute oral toxicity. Food & Cosmetics Toxicology 2:327-343

Letizia CS, Cocchiara J, Lalko J et al 2003 Fragrance material review on linalool. Food & Chemical Toxicology 41:943-964

Santucci B, Cristaudo A, Cannistraci C et al 1987 Contact dermatitis to fragrances. Contact Dermatitis 16:93-95

SCCNFP 1999 Opinion concerning fragrance allergy in consumers: a review of the problem. SCCNFP/0017/98 Final

Schnuch A, Uter W, Geier J et al 2007 Sensitization to 26 fragrances to be labelled according to current European regulation. Results of the IVDK and review of the literature. Contact Dermatitis 57:1-10

Vocanson M, Goujon C, Chabeau G et al 2006 The skin allergenic properties of chemicals may depend on contaminants – evidence from studies on coumarin. International Archives of Allergy & Immunology 140:231-238

Vocanson M, Valeyrie M, Rozières A et al 2007 Lack of evidence for allergenic properties of coumarin in a fragrance allergy mouse model. Contact Dermatitis 57:361-364

Robert Tisserand is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in many aspects of aromatherapy since 1969 and frequent contributor to the aromaconnection blog.

Posted by Blogmistress on June 22, 2011 in Aromatherapy, Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Organizations, Regulatory Issues, Research, Safety/Toxicity, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 05, 2009

Notes & News

A new lemongrass variety “suwarna” has been developed by the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants to address drought conditions with a limited amount of planting material released in Uttar Pradesh.  This new variety will produce about 200 kg of oil per hectare as compared to normal varieties that produce about 100-124 kg per hectare. This is an attempt to diversify the income of farmers, particularly those in drought-affected areas.

The International Aloe Science Council presents a scientific primer on aloe. IASC has assembled a comprehensive document exploring the different varieties of aloe, their health properties, cultivation techniques and more. Download this e-book to learn about:

  • commonly traded aloe species primarily used in the nutrition industry, and key components;
  • cultivation considerations;
  • aloe vera as a market commodity, including pricing information;
  • a detailed appendix on aloe species; and
  • details on requirements for organic certification.

The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) has appointed Aurore Boudet scientific and regulatory affairs manager. She will focus on the management and implementation of the IFRA code of practice, IFRA standards, and the compliance program.

The Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) has formed an environmental adjunct group to support the expert panel’s efforts in environmental assessment of fragrance materials and development of IFRA Environmental Standard.  The group includes Michael McLachlan, professor of analytical environmental chemistry, Stockholm University, Sweden, and Beate Escher, deputy director of the national research centre for environmental toxicology, University of Queensland, Australia.  These appointments bring expertise in advising RIFM, especially  in the areas of environmental fate and bioaccumulation.

We at aromaconnection want to remind our community to support an outstanding nonprofit effort: United Aromatherapy Effort (UAE), headed up by Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, was founded in 2001 to support emergency and disaster relief workers by providing rejuvenating aromatherapy and massage services during long and arduous rescue efforts after 9-11.  The group continues to solicit aromatherapy supplies and monetary donations to provide support to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  We urge you to visit the UAE website to learn how you can contribute.

Posted by Blogmistress on November 5, 2009 in Ecological/Cultural Sustainability, Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Oil Crops, Organizations, Regulatory Issues, Research, Science, Trade Issues | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 21, 2009

Frankincense Oil may be a treatment for bladder cancer

According to a study published this week in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2009, 9:6, “Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity” scientists at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center have found in vitro evidence that frankincense oil (probably its constituent boswellic acid) can kill bladder cancer cells without affecting non-cancerous cells. In order to determine that frankincense was the effective oil, they compared it to sandalwood, fir, palo santo and hemlock oils which did not differentiate between the types of cells. The study used a commercial frankincense oil that was not specifically controlled for origin and constituency, and the authors suggest that future studies should be more rigorous in determining these details. [See our previous post on frankincense.]

The study references numerous other studies that have found that frankincense has potential in treating cancerous cells.

The abstract can be accessed at and a PDF of the full article is at

Posted by Rob on March 21, 2009 in Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Research | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 04, 2008

Aromatics in Print

This is a new series that will review aromatics information found in the print media. When possible a web link will be provided. Items that have broader information available may stimulate a full blog post as a followup.

  • Plants and People: Society for Economic Botany Newsletter, Volume 22, Fall 2008 announced a meeting held in Vietnam November 1-4, 2008: Cultivated Agarwood in Vietnam: A Guided Field Tour of Successful Agarwood Production in the Mekong Delta.  The seminar was organized by Seven Mountain Co. and presenters were Robert Blanchette, University of Minnesota, and Henry Heuveling van Beek.  For more information about Cultivated Agarwood (Aquilaria crassna) see this link. Plants and People is posted online in PDF format. We've blogged about agarwood in Vietnam earlier.
  • This issue also included (p 15) a list of "Recent Publications on Medicinal Plants from India."
  • The Herb Companion (January 2009) reviews the book: The Unlikely Lavender Queen by Jeannie Ralston, which is available at
  • Herb Companion also has a short piece on home distillation of "Herbal Waters" and suggests that the distillation process destroys the antioxidant properties of the herbs distilled. They cite an article from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 55:8436-8443, "Antioxidant Activity and Phenolic Composition of Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia Emeric ex Loiseleur) Waste (Abstract available but they still charge for the article).
  • Herb Companion discusses and links to the new International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP) which, in my understanding, is still a work in progress. They also link to a newly formed Fairwild Foundation which will have responsibility for final implementation and the quality of the standard.
  • The December issue of perfumer&flavorist leads off with and editorial: "Everyone's a Critic: Are Fragrance Bloggers and Critics Good for the Industry?" Jeb Gleason-Allured, the Editor concludes that "yes, fragrance criticism and bloggers are ultimately good for the industry. A lively and devoted discourse is the lifeblood of any art form, and fragrance has for too long been ignored. . ."
  • In the same issue of p&f, there are a number of articles addressing the subject of naturals in the Fragrance industry: "(Not) Lost in Translation", p. 41; a sidebar on p. 42 on "the Challenge of Organics and Natural Material Sourcing"; "Defining 'Natural'" [a discussion of the Natural Products Association's Seal] on pp 44-46; "Natural Stories: Ylang-ylang" pp 47-51. There is also a review of a recent talk by New York Times scent critic Chandler Burr on "The Future of Naturals in Perfumery", p. 20. The editorial direction of P&F seems to be moving in the direction of accepting and using Natural products, probably under the Editorship of the (relatively) young Jeb Gleason-Allured, and Natural Products Editor Brian Lawrence.
  • The November 2008 issue of the AARP Bulletin has a piece in its Health Section (p. 26) entitled "The Scent of Roses for Rosy Dreams." It references a study done in Germany in which researchers administered the scent of roses, rotten eggs, or an unscented control to 15 women after they entered REM sleep. When awakened one minute later, they reported their dreams. The rose resulted in dreams with a positive emotional tone, while the rotten eggs produced the opposite. A more detailed report on the study is online in Health News.

Posted by Rob on December 4, 2008 in Aromatics in Print, Book/Movie Reviews, Oil Crops, Perfumery, Research, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2008

Pine Oil Tick and Mosquito Repellent

In one of those strange serendipitous moments that can happen with Google Alerts, I visited an article entitled "Tick and Mosquito Repellent Can Be Made Commercially from Pine Oil" which describes "a naturally-occurring compound prepared from pine oil" that deters mosquito biting and repels ticks.

After I read the press release, which contains the curious statement

Some segments of the public perceive efficient synthetic active ingredients as somehow more dangerous than botanical compounds, giving additional importance to the discovery of plant-based isolongifolenone.

my interest was piqued , so I read the patent which has been issued covering the preparation of the compound and "its use in repelling arthropods". Would this product meet the requirements of the NPA Natural Products standard? Would it meet the requirements of the NIRC definition of "Natural"? It's been over 40 years since I had my last chemistry course, but I think I can figure this out.

Reading through the patent, some interesting facts are revealed. Deet has long been considered the standard for mosquito repellency,

However, Deet is a plasticizer and clinical literature reports the association of Deet with neurotoxicity in humans (Robbins, P. J., and M. G. Cherniack. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, 18: 503-525 (1986)). Thus, there is a great need for effective alternatives to Deet.

Essentially the process of producing takes isolongifolene, which is a naturally occurring component of Pinus longifolia, and converts it to isolongifolenone, which is also naturally occurring in smaller quantities. This is done via oxidation with tert-butyl hydroperoxide in the presence of a catalyst chromium hexacarbonyl. The process has a high yield but may not meet the natural standard because benzene is used to recover the catalyst (which itself is a considered toxic).

According to Wikipedia

In common with many of the other homoleptic metal carbonyls (e.g. nickel carbonyl and iron carbonyl), chromium hexacarbonyl is toxic and thought to be carcinogenic.

Tert-butyl hydroperoxide doesn't have its own entry in Wikipedia, but a search of the ToxSeek database reveals 143 entries.  Without detailed analysis, one can only conclude that it is a toxic hazard.

The NPA Natural Standard

To see what this means, let's look at the definition of natural in the NPA Standard:

Ingredients that come or are made from a renewable resource found in nature (Flora, Fauna, Mineral), with absolutely no petroleum compounds.

OK, that may work, except for the Tert-butyl hydroperoxide, benzene and the chromium hexacarbonyl.  A check of the NPA Standard's list of prohibited ingredients doesn't have any of those on it, except for the prohibition on petroleum.  We can only conclude from this standard that the isolongifolenone would only be natural if all the traces of either the catalyst or the chemical used to remove it are completely removed.

A look at the processes allowed or disallowed in the NPA Standard reveals that this process is not on either list.  Not surprising, considering that it wasn't known when the standard was written.

NIRC Definition of Natural

The NIRC definition of Natural requires a natural material to be "present in or produced by nature, produced using minimal physical processing, and directly extracted using simple methods, simple chemical reactions or resulting from naturally occurring biological processes."  Based on this part of the definition, our product would seem to pass.  However, the NIRC definition goes on to require that "Natural Ingredients are . . . not produced synthetically, free of all petrochemicals, not extracted or processed using petrochemicals, [and] not extracted or processed using anything other than natural ingredients as solvents."

So it looks like it won't meet this requirement either, even worse than the NPA definition, because of the petrochemical ban and the non-natural catalyst and solvent situation. Even if you could get all traces of the chemicals removed from the isolongifolenone, the processing is not natural.


Based on this analysis, the repellent isolongifolenone cannot be considered a "natural" product under the definitions of either the NPA or the NIRC.

Related Information

While researching this subject, I came across a 2005 Indian study on the effectiveness of Pine Oil as an insect repellent. The pine oils used in the study was analyzed, but didn't reveal the presence of either of the two compounds involved in the patent (they were probably included in the 13% unidentified ingredients. The paper states that pine oil is used traditionally as a repellent in India.

Posted by Rob on June 29, 2008 in Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Research, Safety/Toxicity, Standards | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2008

New Study Confirms psychoactive effect of [Frank]incense

A new study published in the The FASEB Journal, a journal of experimental biology

"found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior.” 

The press release goes on to cite this study as an explanation of how burning incense may have had a spiritual effect--a fact that is obvious to holistic aromatherapists. The significance of this study is that the study the mechanism that causes the effect was discovered.

There is an earlier study (2) on the anti-inflammatory effects of  Boswellia by the same authors that isolated the compound from Boswellia carterii, the common frankincense. The study authors suggest that the exact mechanism of the effect may be by activating TRPV3 that is found in neurons throughout the brain. TRPV3 is an ion channel implicated in the perception of warmth in the skin, as well as in the brain.

For this study, the incensole acetate was injected intraperitoneally into the mice, and then the mice were subjected to behavioral tests. A control group of mice that were known to be insensitive to TRPV3 stimulation was also used.

The psychoactive effects of frankincense are well known to aromatherapists, who are also aware that the the burnt resin has entirely different chemical composition than the essential oil components(3). Since the administration in this case was by injection and because incensole acetate is a (relatively minor - 2.3%) constituent of the essential oil there may be a different effect through inhalation of the essential oil; in any case this study did not address that. Reference (4) studied the Pyrolysates (burnt products) and found that insensole rises to 22% and incensyl acetate to 15.5%, so the effect may be greater when incense is used.

The study has been widely reported on in the scientific media, but as usual the press release was used as the major source and no one appears to have asked any interesting questions, which are answered in the full paper.

It would be interesting to see this study repeated using the essential oil.


(1) Arieh Moussaieff et al. Incensole acetate, an incense component, elicits psychoactivity by activating TRPV3 channels in the brain, Published online before print May 20, 2008 as doi: 10.1096/fj.07-101865. Abstract at

(2) Arieh Moussaieff et al. Incensole acetate: a novel neuroprotective agent isolated from Boswellia carterii, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication 16 April 2008; doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2008.28. Abstract at

(3) Lis-Balchin, Maria.  Aromatherapy Science: A guide for healthcare professionals. Pharmaceutical Press: 2006. p. 193.

(4)  Basar, Simla. Phytochemical Investigations on Boswellia Species. Dr. dissertation. University of Hamberg 2005. Online at

Posted by Rob on June 4, 2008 in Aromatherapy, Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Incense, Research | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 01, 2008

Is This The End of The Indie Beauty Products Boom as We Know It?

handmade_toiletries The past decade has seen an explosion of small, independent aromatics products companies emerge from the kitchens and basements of America.  From aromatherapy wellness products creators, indie natural perfumers,  sultry incense  formulators,  handmade soap makers and makers of bath products galore - creative entrepreneurs have conjured up myriad offerings from bath fizzies to sugar scrubs to pampering spa products. 

Then, along came the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008, announced last month, proposing to give the FDA authority to affect new regulations that could stop the growth of this creative movement dead in its tracks.  For some, it could be the end.  Under the new rules proposed, The FDA could mandate an annual registration fee of no less than $2,000 (possibly more) per manufacturing facility.  This could put some out of business.    

The Personal Care Products Council (formerly the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association), has already testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, outlining the self-regulatory efforts of the major cosmetic industry over the past several decades.  From the written testimony of Pamela G. Bailey, CFO and President of the PCPC,   "The result of manufacturer safety practices and voluntary initiatives under a existing framework of Federal law has been an outstanding safety record that has been commended by previous FDA Commissioners.  Cosmetics and personal care products are the safest category of products regulated by the FDA."  Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, also submitted testimony which included the following:  "We believe the proposed legislation should be more closely targeted and prioritized according to risk. Several of the legislative sections appear not to be sufficiently focused on high-risk products. Some of these requirements would divert resources, which could detract from important product safety and security priorities."   While these larger entities are not arguing for or against the proposed legislation, these seem to be cautionary statements that would lead us to believe the larger industry has faith in existing industry efforts to self-regulate cosmetic safety via the CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) established by CFTA in 1976 and funded entirely by the industry, evaluating more than 1,300 ingredients and publishing peer-reviewed scientific literature, available to the public. 

We are fortunate to have Donnamaria Coles Johnson who because of her passion for cosmetics and beauty products has tirelessly championed for small beauty products companies.  If you are a small cosmetic manufacturer and are not a member of the Indie Beauty Network, you are missing a plethora of ideas, education and networking to assist your business development.  Donnamaria has put up a public page to address this latest FDA issue, open to the public for comments and suggestions.   She will be preparing a position paper, using members' comments that will carry our voice to be heard by the Committees in charge of vetting public comments.  You can find Donnamaria's message and governmental links here: 

We urge all small natural cosmetic manufacturers to keep abreast of this issue and join efforts as needed to make sure that indie business doesn't get left behind.     

Posted by Marcia on June 1, 2008 in Certification, Organizations, Politics, Regulatory Issues, Research, Safety/Toxicity, Trade Issues | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 30, 2008

Cropwatch at the Cross-Roads

Cropwatch Statement

After 4 or 5 years of continuous activity, Cropwatch has some choices to make. Do we go on the way that we have been, snapping at the ankles of those who run & regulate the aroma industry so badly, or should we 'old dogs' learn some new tricks? Cropwatch supporters, and organisations sympathetic to our aims, regularly offer us donations and advise us of potential sources of grants, to which we have always said 'no thanks, we're non-financed'. Our current thinking is that this might be a mistake, since we are limiting our potential effectiveness. .

We are certainly not asking everyone for money, but we are asking you to help us with some feedback on how a financial input could potentially help the aroma world to become a better & fairer place, so please mail us if you have any thoughts or ideas.

Our initial list of ideas to use donated funding would be:

1. To finance risk/benefit studies on natural aromatic products. This research is needed because the existing major players such as IFRA/RIFM, are set up only to investigate the risks/hazards of fragrance ingredients (but not the benefits), & EFFA can only present the safety risks of essential oils, absolutes, resinoids etc in terms of the imagined hazards of the individual contained chemicals, rather than adopting a holistic approach for the aromatic ingredient as a whole. Therefore both organisations are badly positioned to defend natural aromatic ingredients against the current avalanche of restrictive legislation. The EU Commissioners have previously declined to accept safety-data based on risk/benefit considerations, although we believe this policy to be untenable in the long-term - it is the norm in virtually every other regulatory area (biocides, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals etc).

[Neither is this just a European problem. The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce have just announced draft legislation (Global Harmonisation Act 2008) intended to stimulate discussion on how to provide adequate funding and authority for the FDA to ensure the safety of the nation's food, drug, medical device and cosmetic supply in an increasingly globalised marketplace. The draft legislation already highlights several areas which will affect the fragrance industry]. 

2. To develop statistical data on the adverse effects of restricted & prohibited aromatic materials. This data would be a potential bombshell to blow apart the over-precautionary approaches of the cosmetic regulators and career toxicologists, who are in such a powerful position in global regulatory circles. Where this data exists (e.g. the Schnuch data on alleged allergens) it is already causing red faces. The EU Commissioner has previously indicated to Cropwatch (Brussels 2007) that this type of adverse reaction data is inadmissible as safety evidence. But if you are familiar with English history, you might recall that King Canute failed to hold back the waves and so his followers realised he was not all-powerful. So too, the regulators will not be able to ignore the fact that many restrictions on natural products are based on corporate toxicological constructs which don't manifest in the great numbers of negative health effects predicted.

3. To assist with the growing & production of useful commodities from threatened aromatic plants, for cosmetic, aromatherapeutic, flavour & medicinal outlets, in a way that benefits the poor.

4. To set up or help set up a natural aromatics products professional body, with the help of other interested parties. Already we can identify several sub-divided areas which badly need assistance: natural perfumery, the use of naturals within conventional perfumery, natural biocides, herbal drugs & medicines, aromatherapy, natural cosmetics etc. 

5. The lobbying of officials & regulators. As we have seen, the more the establishment closes ranks (and its mind) to contrary & dissenting views, the more popular support we have been able to attract. In terms of numbers we are potentially a powerful force. However we have to ask ourselves whether there is any point in continuing the lobbying game. Many of the points we make go unanswered because the officials involved are not sufficiently technically adept or experienced to even understand the arguments put forward. So is it better to plough ahead with a voluntary regulatory system of our own making - at least we might have the experience, familiarity & resources to do a better job. The enormity of the task is detracting, but this is put more into perspective if sufficient funding were to be available.  

6. To keep the flame of our traditional perfumery heritage alight. When we read that several major aroma corporations are training fledgling perfumers in pure synthetic perfumery, it makes us wonder if the world has gone quite mad. Once perfumers used to be creative artists with forthright temperaments, views and opinions, passionate about their art. Now, are we all to be reduced to company drones? I was related a story recently concerning a certain essential oils salesman who offered unmarked samples of  real good quality Bulgarian lavender oil, and a synthetic lavender construct to a group of young perfumers at a certain megacorporation. The group preferred the artificial lavender construct because "it smelled like linalyl acetate, like its supposed to."  Heaven help us! But maybe some of us 'old-timers' should organise courses & lectures to pass on the 'ancient knowledge of the art of perfumery' before it is lost forever.   

OK, after 5 or so years of trying, we pretty much know what the problems facing us are - what we don't have is a consensus on the best way to solve them. Maybe you can help?

Cropwatch Team

Posted by Tony Burfield on April 30, 2008 in Organizations, Perfumery, Politics, Regulatory Issues, Research, Safety/Toxicity | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

"The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy and sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people. We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. the rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family. The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The waters murmur is the voice of my fathers' father. The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother. If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So, if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers. Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth. This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, his is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself. One thing we know: our god is also your god. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator. Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone? Where will the Eagle be? Gone! And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival. When the last red man has vanished with his wilderness and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left? We love this earth as a newborn loves its mothers heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all. As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you. One thing we know: there is only one God. No man, be he red man or white man, can be apart. We ARE all brothers after all."

      -Chief Seattle

The nature Conservancy Earth Day Ideas
Take action for climate crisis solutions at we
Recycle old computers, cell phones and other electronics
Earth Day official events and activities
Professional advice for business sustainability initiative
Earth Day Facts from Rochester, NY plus more links
Make every day Earth Day from Madison, Wisconsin
Adverse effects of palm oil by Dove from Greenpeace
We can do it! from Sierra Club
The Rainforest Initiative
Whitefeather Forest Initiative
The African Conservation Foundaton
Long list of intragovernmental, governmental and private (NGO) environmental orgs

That ought to keep us busy.

Happy Earth Day! from all of us at the aromaconnection group blog.  

Posted by Marcia on April 22, 2008 in Conservation, Ecological/Cultural Sustainability, Events, Human Rights, Organizations, Politics, Regulatory Issues, Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack