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How to Identify Organic Products

Today there is a huge selection of organic beauty, skin care and personal care product lines. This gives rise to the question of how you can be certain that an organic product claiming to be organic, truly is organic. The answer to this is a bit complicated. If you haven't already done so, you may first want to read our page on Organic Labeling Confusion.

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Organic Certification

There are many different organic certifying agencies around the world: QAI, Orgeon Tilth, CCOF, G.O.C.A, Organic Certifiers are just a few of the organizations in the United States.

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Organic Labeling Confusion

Beauty and other personal care products that are labeled "All Natural" or "Organic" can be very confusing and misleading to the consumer. There are loopholes in the Federal law which many companies are taking advantage of and labeling themselves.

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Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate (NaC6H5CO2) is used as a preservative worldwide. It is generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) throughout the world.

The active part of the salt is benzoic acid, an organic acid (C6H5COOH) which is the actual preservative. The salt itself does not show any preservative activity. Sodium Benzoate is transformed into the free benzoic acid by lowering the pH of the solution. This can be done by adding any acid such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or citric acid (found in citrus fruits mostly).

Fruits and vegetables contain Benzoic acid. Plums and prunes have a relatively high content of Benzoic Acid (around 0.1%).

In the body, Benzoic acid is the result of the _-oxidation of fatty acids with odd numbers of carbons. Small amounts may also be formed in the large intestine from phenylalanine or tyrosine. Benzoic Acid reacts with glycine (an amino acid) and is excreted as hippuric acid (a constituent of urine in horses) in the human body.

There is at this time only a suspicion that benzoic acid is transformed into benzene with the presence of ascorbic acid, mineral ions and in certain condition such as in the presence of light and heat. The experiments have been only conducted on soft drinks and are not yet conclusive.

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Why Organic?

Up to a hundred years ago, everything was organic.

There were no pesticide chemicals being used in farming or in our agriculture. There were no synthetic preservative chemicals to make our products last forever. Household products were made fresh from organic ingredients and were preserved with organic vinegar, salt, citrus and essential oils. This method created preservation that would last several months to one year. This sounds like a small amount of time compared to the several years of shelf-life that a lot of our household products have today, but since current organic preservatives can extend a shelf life to about a year, why do we even need our products to last any longer than that? Does it really take longer than a year to use a bottle of shampoo, facial cleanser or lotion?

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