Organic Certification in Personal Care Products

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We’ve had the discussion on the Facebook page before, does certified organic matter to you, or is the use of organic ingredients enough? For me, the certification does matter, and this awesome interview with the owner of Poofy Organics helps shed light on the process. Many have commented that the certification is nothing more than a hefty payment to the USDA… It is SO much more than that, and I’ll gladly pay a bit extra for companies that are willing to jump through the hoops. Poofy Organics is not a large company by any means, they have 4 employees, Kristina the owner, and her mother being 2 (both pictured). I’m currently working on a review for several Poofy products, and I can tell you now that I LOVE every, single thing I’ve tried, and the ingredient labels are TRULY fabulous!
What does the certification process entail?
What is the process for getting certified? Please be detailed as possible (paperwork, inspections, etc.)? First,  a company needs to fill out what seems like an eternity of  surveys/questionnaires.  The questions are extremely detailed down to  the most minute piece of information.  We were asked about our water  supply, how we clean & sanitize work stations, how we clean &  sanitize our equipment.  Meticulous records need to be maintained from  start to finish of ANY product being manufactured.  If a facility has  pests, only certain pesticides may be used.  Luckily, we have not had  that issue.  Back to keeping records, for instance, a record of each  ingredient we use is kept.  When we order an ingredient, it goes in our  record.  We need to list who the supplier is (and of course they must  already be certified as acceptable to use by the USDA certifying  company.  In our case, it is Baystate Certifying Company).  We need to  track what date the product was ordered and when it was received, who  received it, the lot # and where the ingredient was stored.  Another  record we keep is our manufacturing record.  On it, we list what product  we are making, the date it is being made, who is making it, ALL the  ingredients AND units of measurements for those ingredients, all lot  numbers associated with the ingredients and how many products were  yielded.  Then our products are assigned lot numbers.  It is quite a  process for every time a product is made, especially because Poofy  Organics has over 100 organic products.  it can become quite hectic!   Another record that is kept is the cleaning/sanitizing record.  Every  time a product is manufactured, we must document how we cleaned &  prepared the equipment and how it was purged. Lastly, we have a  cleaning/sanitizing record for our facility.  This includes when and how  we clean our floors, etc.

Anytime  a new product is created, we have to send an OPP- Organic Product  Profile to our certifying company.  On it, we need to list all the  ingredients, the supplier and the concentration of those ingredients.   Any non-organic ingredient that is allowed in the organic product (and  those are very few and minute percentages), needs to go through another  process which maintains that the ingredient has not been manufactured  using sewage sludge or ionizing radiation and has not been created using  GMOs (genetically modified organisms). An example of such an ingredient  would be baking soda.  Because baking soda cannot be found organically,  a company like Bob’s Red Mill is a staple for organic companies.  It  upholds the highest standards in the industry.

A  new product considered for certification also needs to go through a  rigorous “label” certification.  Even the labels have standards and  rules.  Each label is sent to the certificating agency to make sure it  is in compliance.

We  are inspected annually.  Each year a new application for certification  needs to be completed- some of the information is stored so it makes  things a bit easier.  During inspections, records are sifted through to  make sure all ingredients, products, manufacturing, labels and  cleaning/sanitizing is in compliance.  Batches are randomly picked to  make sure the ingredients and numbers add up to the number of units  sold.  It is quite a heavy-duty process.   It is often misunderstood  that once a company is certified, the job is over.  It is a CONSTANT  process- always keeping records, always turning in new documents.”

Here’s a link to the full interview, definitely worth a read: http://www.healthybeautyproject.com/beauty-space/understanding-organic-certification-poofy-organics/
Link to FB discussion on the topic, with some of my thoughts: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=653931904622453&id=397517646930548
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Hidden Dangers in Garden Hoses

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Raising Natural Kids just posted this excellent article which I highly encourage anyone who uses a garden hose to water plants, animals, fill a kiddie pool, etc. to read. Some of the concerning facts:

  • Water sampled from one hose contained 0.280 mg/l (ppm) lead. This is 18-times higher than the federal drinking water standard of 0.015 mg/l.
  • BPA levels of 2.3 ppm was found in the hose water. This level is 20-times higher than the 0.100 ppm safe drinking water level used by NSF to verify that consumers are not being exposed to levels of a chemical that exceed regulated levels.
  • The phthalate DEHP was found at 0.025 ppm in the hose water. This level is 4-times higher than federal drinking water standards. EPA and FDA regulate DEHP in water at 0.006 mg/l (ppm)
  • 100% of the garden hoses sampled for phthalates contained four phthalate plasticizers which are currently banned in children’s products.
  • Two water hoses contained the flame retardant 2,3,4,5-tetrabromo-bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (TBPH).

Here’s a link to the entire article: http://raisingnaturalkids.com/2013/04/26/garden-hoses-a-potential-health-risk/

Some made in the USA, safe options:

From Amazon: 6/16/2105: I FINALLY purchased a made in USA, drinking water safe hose–it has been on my list for a few summers now, after reading this info from Raising Natural Kids, one of my favorite pages: http://amzn.to/1SgtRSR

We have nine 6 week old chickens that we are watering from the hose, and we do have a kiddie pool my in-laws brought home from a garage sale for $1 that my kiddos have been loving splashing around in, so I want to make sure we have lead-free water!! This one was a good deal with free shipping & in the length I wanted so I’m so happy to have just ordered it!

Other options that have been shared with me: http://www.strongmarketinginc.com/Garden_Hoses.html

http://www.barnyardproducts.com/premium/garden/water/hose

Products that contain Triclosan, and why you should avoid them!

If you are not yet aware of the potential dangers of triclosan, you should know that this antibacterial agent has been strongly linked to the following effects on human health:

* Abnormalities with the endocrine system, particularly with thyroid hormone signaling     * Weakening of the immune system     * Birth defects     * Uncontrolled cell growth     * Unhealthy weight loss

Although triclosan is best known for its presence in many brands of antibacterial soap, it is also found in a wide variety of personal care and household products. According to BeyondPesticides.org, triclosan is found in the following products:

HERE’S THE LINK to the entire list: http://drbenkim.com/articles/triclosan-products.htm

AND, here’s why EWG rates this a 7: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/search.php?query=triclosan&h=Search

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some Frequently Asked Question threads that I didn’t save in our FAQ album, but wished I had. Lots of great info below. If you have insight/feedback/comments to add, please do- the more the better:

Here’s our FB album with several additional threads: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.599365280079116.149826.397517646930548&type=3

Blentec vs. Vitamix: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=590844037597907&id=397517646930548&comment_id=7664075

Car seats: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=590725577609753&set=a.599365280079116.149826.397517646930548&type=3&theater

Ceramic cookware: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=637247772957533&id=397517646930548&comment_id=8011776&offset=0&total_comments=14&notif_t=feed_comment

Countertops: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=596095223739455&id=397517646930548&comment_id=7722997&notif_t=feed_comment

Diaper Rash Remedies: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=603568729658771&id=397517646930548&comment_id=7772728&notif_t=feed_comment

Dish soap recipes: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=630386893643621&id=397517646930548&reply_comment_id=7986018&comment_id=7985993

Disposable diapers: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=616137825068528&id=397517646930548&comment_id=7842453

Dr. Bronner’s as dish soap: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=597069223642055&id=397517646930548

Finger Paint Reviews & Recipes: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eco-friendly-babyfamily-products-MADE-in-the-USA/397517646930548?sk=messages_inbox&action=read&tid=id.513359968676335#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=614483015234009&id=397517646930548&notif_t=like

Healthy eating/what to avoid: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=645209102161400&id=397517646930548&comment_id=8073285&offset=0&total_comments=33

Independent OG stores/brands, mainly WI, but some national: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=596052130410431&id=397517646930548&ref=notif&notif_t=like

Make-up: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=592348804114097&id=397517646930548&comment_id=7680315&ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment

Play mats: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=635381313144179&id=397517646930548&comment_id=7994696

Potty training/cloth diapers: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eco-friendly-babyfamily-products-MADE-in-the-USA/397517646930548?ref=hl#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=622797624402548&id=397517646930548

Shower curtains: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=644570602225250&id=397517646930548&comment_id=8068918&offset=0&total_comments=21

Soap Nuts: https://www.facebook.com/#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=612075308808113&id=397517646930548&comment_id=7820947

Even more about Soap Nuts: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=616421038373540&set=a.430947503587562.117422.397517646930548&type=1&theater

Sunscreen Homemade Recipe: https://www.facebook.com/notes/zippy-hippie-mama/homemade-sunblock/577611205611894

Toothpaste: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=599365476745763&set=a.599365280079116.149826.397517646930548&type=3&theater

Water filters: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=599044033444574&set=a.599365280079116.149826.397517646930548&type=3&theater

Vitacost is an amazing resource

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Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Earthpaste? Or Vitacost? I paid $4.99 shipping for this box full, you’ll never pay more unless you want your package delivered in a day or 2. $4.59/tube of Earthpaste is an AMAZING deal! Vitacost coconut oil is USDA organic, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined, all the qualities that matter in coconut oil- I was paying $13/13 oz of Nutiva at my food co-op, th…is 54 oz tub cost $21! While I love shopping locally, I don’t mind getting a package in the mail occasionally, I make sure I wait until I have a good-sized order to place so I’m not shipping just one tube of toothpaste, etc.
If you’ve never placed an order with Vitacost I, or any existing customer, can refer you for a $10 off coupon for your 1st order! They have 40,000+ items, everything from groceries, to personal care items, to supplements, and tons of items in-between, including many specialty items (arrowroot powder for homemade deodorant), gluten-free foods, and an entire non-GMO section. Name brands such as Dr. Bronners, Earth Mama Angel Baby, you’d be hard-pressed to find things they don’t carry… All you need to do is FOLLOW THIS LINK: http://goo.gl/uw3XKu
You set up an account just like Amazon, with no commitment whatsoever to shop now, or ever again after the 1st order…
FB thread with comments/questions: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=634900439858933&set=a.430947503587562.117422.397517646930548&type=3&theater

Knowledge is Power!!

There have been several discouraged mama messages on the page after the posts of the last couple of days, especially in regards to all the pesticides found in jarred baby food. Mamas expressing guilt over not knowing what they know now. I just want to share one of my favorite quotes in response: When we know better, we do better” (Maya Angelou). One thing I’ve learned from connecting with so many …parents, is we all want what’s best for our families, and I truly believe we do the best we can with the info we have. It’s unfortunate that we can’t trust our gov’t., corporations, etc. to provide safe products for our families, but we can’t, a fact many a surprised to find out (BPA in baby bottles, pacifiers, etc is a prime example). So, please don’t feel guilty, and that’s certainly not my intent in the posts I share. I’m trying to do my part to raise awareness, so you do know better, and can therefore take action. You can help me by sharing posts, info, my website on your page, and with your friends. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER MAMAS & DADAS!!!!
Fb thread with comments: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=651675348181442&id=397517646930548

2013 Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 list is out!

The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™ to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.  The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and choosing the least contaminated produce.

For the second year, we have expanded the Dirty Dozen™ with a Plus category to highlight two crops – domestically-grown  summer squash and leafy greens, specifically kale and collards. These crops did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.

Though the Environmental Protection Agency has been restricting the uses of the most toxic pesticides, they are still detected on some foods. For example, green beans were on last year’s Plus list because they were often contaminated with two highly toxic organophosphates. Those pesticides are being withdrawn from agriculture. But leafy greens still show residues of organophosphates and other risky pesticides. That’s why they are on the Plus list for 2013.

Tests in 2008 found that some domestically-grown summer squash – zucchini and yellow crookneck squash — contained residues of harmful organochlorine pesticides that were phased out of agriculture in the 1970s and 1980s but that linger on some farm fields.

Genetically modified plants, or GMOs, are not often found in the produce section of grocery stores. Field corn, nearly all of which is produced with genetically modified seeds, is used to make tortillas, chips, corn syrup, animal feed and biofuels. Because it is not sold as a fresh vegetable, it is not included in EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.  Nor is soy, another heavily GMO crop that makes its way into processed food.

The genetically modified crops likely to be found in produce aisles of American supermarkets are zucchini, Hawaiian papaya and some varieties of sweet corn. Most Hawaiian papaya is a GMO. Only a small fraction of zucchini and sweet corn are GMO. Since U.S. law does not require labeling of GMO produce, EWG advises people who want to avoid it to purchase the organically-grown versions of these items.

FB thread with comments/questions: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=650783334937310&id=397517646930548

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