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

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

Importance of making/buying organic baby food

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In case you have a shred of doubt on the importance of making your own baby food from organic produce, or at least buying organic jars, read what EWG found when they tested numerous jars of baby food!!
Pesticides in Baby Food
The USDA’s monitoring program tested about 585 samples each of green beans, pears and sweet potatoes processed as baby food, all purchased in American stores in 2011. These three types of baby food were tested in 2010 with generally similar findings.
Green beans canned for baby food tested positive for five pesticides, among them, the toxic organophosphates methamidophos and acephate. Methamidophos was found on 14.4 percent of samples and acephate on 12.6 percent. We are encouraged by EPA’s success in ending the use of these two chemicals for use on green beans. We urge EPA to continue to restrict these and other highly toxic chemicals from produce, particularly the foods most consumed by children. We urge USDA to continue to monitor green beans canned for baby food to ensure that any insecticides adopted as replacement do not pose similar health risks.
Pears processed for baby food showed 11 pesticides. Fully 94 percent of the pear samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue, and 18 percent of the samples were tainted with 5 or more pesticides. The pesticide iprodione, which EPA has categorized as a probable human carcinogen, was detected on 16 baby food pear samples, or 2.7 percent of the samples in the latest round of testing. Iprodione is not registered with EPA for use on pears. Its presence on this popular baby food constitutes an apparent violation of FDA regulations and the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The one bright spot was sweet potatoes processed as baby food. These showed virtually no detectable pesticide residues.
The extent of pesticide contamination of baby food documented by USDA highlights the need to accelerate testing of baby foods and for EPA to minimize the organophosphate pesticides exposures allowed for Americans, especially infants and children.
http://www.ewg.org/foodscores/products?category_group=Baby+Food
FB thread with comments/questions: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=650785464937097&id=397517646930548

Jess’s homemade deodorant & body scrub are now for sale!!

559437_371625826284197_856960097_nINSPIRED BY THIS POST!! All it took was 1 person to ask if I’d sell mine, and the rest is history 🙂

For those new to my homemade deodorant, here’s a pretty extensive thread with my recipe, Q & A, FAQ’s, and testimonials. I’ll always gladly share this recipe with anyone interested (it resides in my “Stuff We Make” photo album), but know that not everyone has the time, energy or desire to procure all the ingredients and make their own, so this offer is for that crowd!: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=537190792963232&set=a.494009763948002.128085.397517646930548&type=3&theater

**For those new to my homemade deodorant, here’s a pretty extensive thread with my recipe, Q & A, FAQ’s, and testimonials. I’ll always gladly share this recipe with anyone interested (it resides in my “Stuff We Make” photo album), but know that not everyone has the time, energy or desire to procure all the ingredients and make their own, so this offer is for that crowd! Recipe: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=537190792963232&set=a.494009763948002.128085.397517646930548&type=3&theater

**So, what’s the cost? I want to put this 1st so you don’t get all excited and then realize it’s out of your budget- I hate it when that happens! I’m asking $8  per 4 oz glass jar or 2/$15 (Kerr Mason jar, made in USA!), there are no frills, no fluff, just a plain Mason jar, a label with ingredients, and the Frequently Asked Questions. Flat rate shipping for 1 jar comes to $5, anywhere in the continental US, BUT I can also ship up to 4 in that same flat rate envelope-so buy multiples, it’s a good deal 🙂 SO, the total comes to $13 for 1 jar, $20 for 2 jars… Of course, if you have a friend or 2 in your area who is also interested, want to stock up & be set for a year, or give some as gifts, ordering more than 1 jar is a great idea and shipping won’t be a whole lot more for several jars vs. one, as I can put up to 12 jars in a medium flat rate box which will only cost $12 to ship anywhere in the country! Several of you have told me you’re fine sending me a check, and then me sending this out to you immediately. Otherwise, I recently set up a PayPal account so if that interests you let me know & I’ll give you the details to pay that way. So, what I’m asking is you send a message to my inbox with your address and I’ll send you mine, let me know which scent/combo of scents you’d like, and I’ll have it ready to go to drop in the mail as soon as your check arrives.  Sound good?!

**Even with shipping, I feel this is still a very reasonable purchase. I’ll compare it to three other safe options on the market, which I also recommend for anyone wanting a more “traditional” stick deodorant made with great ingredients: Poofy Organics & Bubble and Bee both offer a 2.65oz plastic tube for $10 + shipping. They use mainly the same ingredients as I do, but also include beeswax, shea butter and cocoa butter in their formulas, which obviously adds to the price as well, and helps keep it more stable (doesn’t melt as easily)… Ebay & Etsy have very similar sized jars going for up to $12.

Some frequently asked questions:

*Won’t this stain my clothing? No. Men & women who don’t shave their armpits may have to spend a few extra seconds making sure it’s rubbed in well, but just like any deodorant, it quickly absorbs into your skin.

*How do I apply it? Just rub a little dab on with your fingers. Or if you prefer you could transfer it from this glass jar into an empty deodorant stick (but it has to stay in the fridge). I prefer glass over plastic, and don’t mind applying it with my fingers. The natural stick deodorants I’ve used contain beeswax & other stabilizers to keep them from melting when warming up. These leave my pits waxy & greasy feeling, and definitely can stain clothing.

*Do I need to refrigerate it? No. But be aware that coconut oils melting point is 75 degrees. Once it reaches this temp it will liquefy & ingredients can settle out. You can find somewhere cooler in your house to store it, refrigerate it, or shake it up & apply it with fingers or a small brush. It’s an absolutely perfect consistency around 72 degrees, but the quality of the product doesn’t change whether it’s a bit firmer, or runnier…

Purpose of the ingredients:

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal so it’s a perfect ingredient for deodorant. I use organic, unrefined, cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil which means more nutrients are left in it to benefit your skin.

Arrowroot powder & cornstarch: both help absorb moisture. I use Bob’s Redmill Arrowroot powder, it’s not organic, but non-GMO. I use organic (non-GMO) cornstarch which I purchase at my food co-op through Frontier.

Baking Soda: helps keep bacteria from growing. I purchase Bob’s Redmill.

Tea tree oil: has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic properties.

Scent options at this time: Lavender, orange (organic), rose geranium, peppermint, a combo of your choice, or unscented of course. Everyone knows what lavender & orange smell like. Here’s a description of the geranium, which has hints of rose, but is not a true rose scent:

Top Note: Fruity-minty, rich sweet-herbaceous

Middle Note: Rich, sweet-rosy, quite tenacious

Dry Note: Sweet-rosy, herbaceous

*I use the NOW brand of Essential oils, the orange is certified organic, the others 100% pure. I use the NOW brand primarily because it’s what my food co-op sells, and as I’m not ingesting it, I don’t feel the need to spend several times more/bottle for the top-end brands. We’ve been selling it for many years at our co-op, and from what I can tell it’s a quality product, but I’m not at all an expert in essential oils- I’m just looking to add a bit of scent. If you’re not OK with the NOW brand for whatever reason, I’d be happy to leave it unscented, and you could easily add any oils of your choice, I’ll even knock $.50 off for unscented ones.

**Also, tea tree oil is used, not for it’s scent, but for it’s beneficial antibacterial & antifungal properties. I’ve had one person who was sensitive to tea tree, so I made it without for her, let me know if you’d like this left out!

I’ve consulted with a professional whose opinion I trust on the use of these essential oils, and any concerns for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women- here’s what she had to say about the oils I’m using:

“If you are only using a little Lavender, I don’t think there would be any concern. It doesn’t change your blood pressure or anything like that…..Orange and Tea Tree are also fine and Rose Geranium is THE SAFEST essential oil I know”. If anyone has contradictory information, PLEASE share it! Some sources online cite that pregnant women should avoid lavender during their 1st trimester, but that it’s fine after that. My deodorant contains ~10 drops of whichever scent you choose per 4 oz of coconut oil. Of course, if you have any concern at all, I can leave all oils out.

**Some with sensitive skin can have issues with baking soda. My original recipe left it out, but I felt it wasn’t working as well as I’d like- I felt it worked MUCH better with baking soda in it. If you know that you have very sensitive skin, I can definitely leave out the baking soda, or cut the amount in 1/2 (there’s 1/5 TBSP per jar).

So, send me a message if interested, and we’ll take it from there!

  

 OATMEAL & SUGAR BODY SCRUB:

 Ingredients: organic coconut oil, organic oats, organic raw turbinado sugar, and your choice of scents: organic orange (my personal favorite), lavender, rose geranium, peppermint, unscented, or a combo of your choice! It’s a wonderful exfoliator & moisturizer, and you’ll have no need for any lotion when you get out of the tub. I LOVE the stuff. This is slightly cheaper to make, I’ll sell it for $6 per 4 oz jar, shipping will still be $5 total to any location in the continental US, although purchasing multiple jars will save a little money, as I can use a flat rate box 🙂

Here is the thread with all the info on the body scrub: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=627514937264150&set=a.494009763948002.128085.397517646930548&type=3&theater.

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