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Soil Association highlights greenwash labelling on high street beauty products

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Speaking at the Organic Natural Beauty Show this month, Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, highlights the number of harmful chemicals found in beauty products labelled as ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ or ‘nature inspired’. Ingredients often found in antifreeze, floor cleaner, oven cleaner or car oil and ingredients banned in children’s food and toys are making their way into non-certified beauty products labelled as organic or natural due to a lack of industry regulation, the Soil Association reports. The association believes consumers are being misled and is calling on the health and beauty industry to use terms like ‘organic and ‘natural’ accurately or not at all.

Strict EU laws ensure any food product labeled organic meets legal standards and is independently certified by a recognised body. Unfortunately, there are no EU regulations concerning the labelling of organic or natural beauty products. The only way consumers can be sure they are buying a genuine organic beauty product is to look for an official certification label. Under Soil Association standards for example, to use the word organic in the product name, the product must contain over 95% organic ingredients, excluding water.

In 2012 Boots was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over the marketing of ‘Little Me Organics Oh So Gentle Hair and Body Wash’. The ASA ruled Boots’ advertising was misleading as the product contains less than 5% organic ingredients, acccording to the Soil Association. The ASA found that a product should be defined as organic only if it contains a high proportion of organic ingredients. Unfortunately, Boots and others have not taken on board the implications of this ruling. Soil Association informal research also found a Nivea ‘Pure and Natural’ handcream carrying an unofficial leaf stamp that claims the product is 95% natural. However this product contains Methylisothiazolinone, a preservative which some claim could be carcinogenic and is suspected of causing nerve damage. The research also found a range of hair and body products made by the USA cosmetics company Organix. Their coconut shampoo contains no organic ingredients, is not certified and contains potential carcinogens.

Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director said; "It is wrong that people are putting chemicals found in antifreeze, paint, oven cleaner and floor cleaner on their skin, when they thought they were buying a product made from only natural or organic ingredients. This must stop.” More details are available here:


Cosmetics & Bodycare


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