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Organic Cosmetics, Toiletries To Be Defined

We may find out just how safe or dangerous some cosmetics, soaps and other toiletries really are, thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) decision to apply its organic food standards to personal care products.

This sounds like good news, considering consumers spent $4 billion in 2004 for products labeled organic or natural, and have mostly relied on a manufacturer's largely unproven and often bogus claims.

But this may create another problem, and it could be big: Very few beauty products are expected to qualify for the USDA organic seal, meaning those made with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Far more will be labeled with a confusing, gray area-like "made with organic ingredients" claim.

The changeover started last summer when the Organic Consumers Association and a maker of natural soaps filed a lawsuit against the USDA to spur federal officials to include personal care products in their organic certification program.

Considering all the chemicals found in common products we use every day -- and all the harm they can do to you and your children -- these changing federal regs certainly make it easier for you to make better and safer decisions. And there's nothing wrong at all with that...

New York Times October 20, 2005 Registration Required

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