How to weigh up the quality of your essential oils and other health, wellness and beauty ingredients.
Just this week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced two deaths related to an essential oil spray bought from Walmart stores.1 The Aromatherapy spray had "Burkholderia pseudomallei" bacteria, which can cause "Melioidosis" or Whitmore's disease and a bacterial infection in the body.
This is just one of many unfortunate cases that show how important ingredient safety is, and demonstrates a point we make often to those just shopping on price. Some cheap oils may offer savings up front, but if you aren't sure about the quality, they can potentially result in costly recalls or worse.
How do you know what's safe?
The first giveaway is typically price.
Take Tea Tree Essential Oil for example: As worldwide demand has increased and industry standards have changed, some companies now mix Australian Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) with cheap oil grown outside of Australia to lower costs and increase profit margins. But by doing so, the quality of the oil is compromised. The final product may not have the same benefits for the end user. It may have a different odor profile that throws off your formulation, and potentially could cause more harm than good.
Our ecoV™ Certified Organic Tea Tree Oil is 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Essential Oil, grown in a completely organic environment in the Bungawalbyn Valley Basin surrounded by pristine National Forest. Our Tea Tree Oil is Australian-grown, harvested and distilled in New South Wales. It is put through a rigorous long-term distillation to ensure that all components are extracted to their maximum level of purity.
We call this process our ecoV™ standard. The ecoV™ standard offers three grades of oil to choose from:
1. Certified Organic Wild Crafted Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
2. Certified Organic Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
3. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
The second sign to look out for is "Heathwashing" Claims
Because there isn't a therapeutic standard or for essential oils, any unsubstantiated claims made about purity, are purely marketing claims. Marketing labels like "Therapeutic Grade" or "Highest Rated" are a que to question the manufacturer or supplier about their rating system, since industry-regulation or ranking has not been established.2
Finally, there are the Three P's
Across the supply chain, your ingredient suppliers should provide the "Plant, Processing and Packaging" details up front.3
PLANT | Good quality oils start with how the plant is grown (eg. organic/no synthetic fertilizers or insecticides), the raw material origin or harvest location, the plant parts used (leaf, stem, flower, etc), and most importantly, the botanical scientific name of the species to ensure the natural origin, opposed to synthetic chemicals.
PROCESSING | In distillation or cold pressing, clean equipment, proper storage, quality control practices and third party testing are key. You should receive certification documentation, such as the SDS and CofA. Manufacturers who are backed by quality control certifications like International Organization for Standardization (ISO) can ensure your confidence as well.
PACKAGING | And finally, your oils should be tightly sealed in dark glass bottles.
We know that brand owners, formulators and manufacturers are short on time, that's why we give all of this information upfront. You shouldn't have to go digging to find the proof that backs your ingredients' purity.
Contact us for more information on our range of traceable, natural ingredients at . . .