The Difference Between Natural and Organic

Recent investigation into so-called natural companies has led people to ask, “Are these natural brands that I have come to trust truly safe?”

There is a great misconception around the word “natural”, but the veil of deceit easily falls when the ingredients are scrutinized. The fact is, any company can add “natural” to their packaging; there are no regulations for the word “natural”. This is why it is so important for consumers to investigate further and see more than the pretty packaging. Reading the ingredients list and checking for harsh chemicals, preservatives, etc. is the only way to know if the product is safe for you and your family.

A prime example of this “natural” confusion would be with the company Tom’s of Maine. Tom’s has done a great job at marketing themselves in a way where consumers believe they are using a more natural product when buying their toothpaste or deodorant. One of the ingredients in Tom’s toothpaste is Sodium lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which is also a common ingredient in conventional toothpaste such as Colgate and Sensodyne. SLS is a known skin irritant; it is the chemical that companies use to cause an irritation to see if their lotion or medication is effective. It has also been shown to promote hormonal imbalances, and even early asthma and allergies in children. The reason this chemical is so popular in cleaning products is because it is a foaming agent, and many people think the amount of suds and bubbles equals a products effectiveness at cleaning. If you look at ANY type of cleaner in your home (laundry detergent, shampoo, dish soap, hand soap, etc.) you will find SLS somewhere near the top of the ingredients list. This Wall St Journal Article sites some companies that have been using the “greenwashing” tactic to trick consumers into believing they are safe (and paying a premium for them), when they actually use some of the same ingredients (such as SLS) that conventional cleaners use:

When a product is ‘Certified Organic”, or uses certified organic ingredients, there are regulations applied. These products have been through a certain level of testing and passed the criteria to be labeled as such. The Clean Living Collection uses Certified Organic ingredients because we can trust that these materials are nontoxic and have not been sprayed with pesticides or genetically altered. In the future, we plan to get the Clean Living Collection itself Certified Organic; we believe the certification is important because it says right away, “I do not have harmful ingredients, I am safe.”