The Worst Fake “Organic” Cosmetic Brands Revealed (from OCA)

Organic Consumers Association sent out an email update, much of the time I don’t take the time to read them. But this one I looked at, and I thought it important to pass on to the ladies out there this cosmetic information. It has been a struggle for me to find cosmetics that are safe and also perform. I guess the hunt will continue.

At the end of their article is a link to an online spreadsheet where you can see the hazard rating of your favorite “organic” health and beauty products. So actually everyone who shops should look at this, since toothpaste, lotions, shampoos and all of the other products are included.

From the email update sent 1/26/10

The Worst Fake “Organic” Cosmetic Brands Revealed: OCA Spreadsheet Summarizes “Organic Cheater Brand” Personal Care Product Hazard

The OCA has prepared a spreadsheet summarizing “Organic Cheater brand” products and their Hazard Rankings according to the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” Cosmetic Safety Database. The tabs at the top of the spreadsheet list various brands horizontally: click each tab to view that brand’s product scores from the Skin Deep” database. By far the majority of fake organic products score in the “Moderate Hazard” category. Conversely, Dr. Bronner’s Skin Deep product scores show that the vast majority of true NOP certified organic personal care score in the safest “Low Hazard” category. A couple of brands, Jason “Pure, Natural & Organic” and Nature’s Gate “Organics”, even had some of their fake organic products score in the unsafest “High Hazard” category.

Perhaps even more disturbing, two of the “organic cheater” brands who are the subject of OCA’s Complaint to USDA NOP, have reneged on their signed promise to provide product and ingredient information to Skin Deep so that their products’ safety can be assessed. Those brands are Eminence “Organic” Skin Care and Head “Organics”. Another two brands, while they have not reneged on any promises, have also decided to not submit product and ingredient information to Skin Deep: Ilike “Organic” Skin Care and Surya Sapien “Organic”. As noted in the Complaint, all these brands utilize surfactants made in part or entirely from petrochemicals as primary cleansing ingredients, which contain no organic agricultural material whatsoever. Eminence in particular deceptively claims that Alpha Olefin Sulfonate, the primary cleanser in its “Organic Stone Crop Bodywash”, is from a “plant source,” when in fact this cleanser is commercially available only in pure petrochemical form.

Both Nature’s Gate and Eminence do produce a few true USDA NOP certified organic products under their respective brands. However, the vast majority of their product lines are not certified under the USDA’s National Organic Program, because their main cleansing and moisturizing ingredients are generally based on conventional or petrochemical, rather than organic agricultural, material. As a general rule when shopping for organic personal care, check for the USDA seal to be sure you’re buying true organic personal care rather than fake organic products.

See the spreadsheet

“Backyard Habitat” and “Butterflies and Bees” Workshops being taught by Woodland Park Zoo experts

Backyard Habitat Workshop
at Overlake School in Redmond, WA.

This is a four-part workshop:
Monday, March 1st from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Monday, March 8th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Monday, March 15th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Saturday, March 20th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Cost: $75 (or $140 for couples); Scholarships available for members of Sammamish Community Wildlife Habitat Project.

At this four-part workshop, you’ll learn from experts from Woodland Park Zoo, National Wildlife Federation, Seattle Audubon, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington Native Plant Society about how to attract birds and other wildlife to your backyard, select and care for native plants, recognize and remove invasive plants species, conserve water, manage your backyard without the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides, place feeders and bird houses, and get your yard certified as a Backyard Habitat.

To register, download the registration form from the zoo’s website

Butterflies and Bees
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm

Join Woodland Park Zoo entomologist Erin Sullivan and horticulturalist David Selk to discover how to attract and care for local butterflies and bees.
You’ll learn about the importance of these backyard pollinators as well as the threats they face and what you can do to help, including insect-friendly gardening practices.

To register, download the registration form from the zoo’s website

Want more Information on events and resources? Visit the Backyard Habitat blog for events and resources on creating habitat for wildlife!

Information for this blog post was provided by:
Jenny Mears
Community Engagement Coordinator
Woodland Park Zoo
Education Department
601 N. 59th Street
Seattle, WA 98103
phone: 206-548-2424 ext 1516

Join them online:

West Seattle Real Estate Roundup

In taking a look at real estate for sale in West Seattle (known as NWMLS Area 140, includes southern neighborhoods such as Shorewood), I was pleased to find so many homes offered for sale under $300,000: there are 122 affordable home options today. View West Seattle homes for sale under $300K

The move-up price bracket of $300,001 to $450,000 also has plenty of options, with 146 homes listed for sale. View West Seattle homes for sale priced $300+K to $450K.

And just a reminder that condominiums hold their value well and are always in demand. The lifestyle affored by living in a condo, and the “less responsibility” that often comes along with it (which I am enjoying now and can speak to the difference of the two types of home ownership from personal experience), there are 107 condominiums currently being marketed for sale priced under $500,000. View West Seattle condos for sale under $500K

As always, if you have any questions about West Seattle living JUST ASK and I will give you a biased answer. I moved here in 1997 and love it. Or if you are interested in looking at any of these homes for sale, drop me an email (button at right), DM me on Twitter, or write on my Wall on Facebook!

Eco Cheat Sheet at your service

Thanks to Redbook, here is a simple to use Eco Cheat Sheet to print out and put on the fridge. Try each of these 20 simple, green-friendly actions!

I have been taking green steps since 2001, and I always still read these little tip lists since I still pick up great ideas – or a reminder that I am not doing something I should be.

Recently there was a discussion on Facebook on one of the green fan pages about water usage and showers and baths. I now turn off the water unless I am getting wet or rinsing. Having a warm bathroom makes this easier to do – we installed a Honeywell programmable thermostat in our bathroom so the bathroom is warm in the morning and standing wet in the shower is not as unpleasant as it might sound.

You can also train your hair to produce less oils by gradually washing it less often – I at least during the winter I have been able to go four or five days between hair washings and my hair (and scalp!!) is actually happier than it ever has been. Not to mention the time it saves me – I have been growing my hair from a very short cut in summer of 2007 to now – it is now shoulder length and a lot more work than I have had to do with my hair in 15 years. I am not one who likes to waste time primping so a lower maintenance ‘do is perfect for me!

High Point West Seattle Real Estate Update (4Q 09-today)

As the self-titled “resident green agent” in High Point, I thought it was time for an update on what was available for sale here, and also take a look at what has sold in recent weeks.

Currently on the market are two condo suites (one 2-bedroom, one studio) and one large four bedroom home that is a short sale that came on the market last summer for $299,999 causing quite a stir among my neighbors. Looks like the deal flipped just before Christmas and the house is listed as Active for sale. (Sorry for being slow to notify you. If you are interested, you know how to reach me! I did several showings in July.)

See High Point West Seattle Real Estate For Sale

What has sold in recent months is pretty simple – townhomes (2), which happen to be more affordable than single family homes and often have the same square footage. They don’t appear to be short sales, although the 3 bedroom unit probably was since it was purchased in 2007 in the $425k range, and sold in November for $305,000. Man, if I could only had that home then for what I could pay now.

See High Point West Seattle Sold Homes (since 10/01/09)

I always find it interesting to see what also is pending – these are homes that have not closed yet, but obviously are a good indication of what people are interested in purchasing. There has been a small carriage house on 30th for sale since last spring, most recent asking price (as a short sale) was in the $149k ballpark. It just went to Pending on Sunday, so it looks like we may have a new neighbor soon!

See High Point West Seattle Current Pending Sales (as of 1/13/10)

And a new category that I am examining is Cancelled/Expired. These are homes that were on the market for months and never sold. The owners have given up on trying to sell them at this time.

See High Point West Seattle Homes Expired or Cancelled (since 10/01/09)

The listing links are only good for 30 days from the date of this post.

“CES 2010 – Just How Green Was It?”

Hot out of my Inbox! Wanted to pass along a great summary about this year’s Consumer Electronic Tradeshow. I’ve yet to intend one in person but one of these years I think my husband and I would really enjoy a conference like this as a mini-vacay.

From today’s TreeHugger email titled “CES Meets Cute Overload”

CES 2010 – Just How Green Was It?
5 Impressions and Suggestions

By Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California on 01.11.10 / Science & Technology

The Consumer Electronics Tradeshow wanted to be greener than ever this year. Was it? Here are our impressions of not only how CES did on green, but what position green seems to have in the electronics industry.

Let’s put aside the fact that CES is a massive tradeshow held in the middle of a desert, attracting a majority of people who could care less about the environment. We could go on about bottled water, plane flights, and organic food options all day long. Instead, we’re focusing on the bigger picture of the environmental mindset of CES, the exhibitors and the industry in general.

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